Ever since my husband and I decided to have children, life has not been easy. A few months before I got pregnant with Trenton, I mourned the loss of my unborn child through a miscarriage. Nothing in my life had ever hurt so much than my miscarriage. I thought the pain would never go away. The pain is still there and I still mourn for the loss of the baby that I never got the chance to hold and snuggle. However, I felt that wound start to heal when I found out I was pregnant.

Thankfully, I gave birth to Trenton in 2010 and my life has never been the same since. In 2012 he was diagnosed with severe autism. My child whom I had dreamed about watching graduate from high school and college was given a life changing severe disability. The child whom I had high hopes of  watching get married and have a family of his own one day was diagnosed with severe autism! How could I ever get over this? To add to the pain of my oldest son’s diagnosis, the following year in 2013 my other son was diagnosed with mild autism. My only living children both diagnosed with a life changing disability.

What now? How can I ever overcome that pain?

There were days when I was living just solely on survival mode. If my boys were to stand a chance at a functional life, they were to be in as much therapy that I could afford for them. I indeed was the kind of mother who made sure my boys got the help that they needed. I would travel to all ends of the Earth for them if I had to.

Our lives changed dramatically and they changed forever. I soon went from a special education elementary school teacher to a special needs mother who managed nothing but therapy schedules and the trials that autism brought to our lives daily. There have been many of days that I felt like I was sinking and had no idea when I would find my way to the surface of the water.

Doctors and therapists can’t prepare the parents at all for what lies ahead of them with children with autism.

My parents taught me from the time I was born to know God and to love him no matter what. I am very grateful for being raised in such a church-going, faith led family. Not only has my faith and love for the Lord got me through many things in life but it has been the number one thing that has led me to finding my path while facing autism challenges.

At first I kept asking myself, “Why did this happen to my children? Why did this happen to my family?” Why? Why? Why?

To be honest, if I didn’t have faith and trust in the Lord, I would still be asking this and I would still be unsettled with how my life has turned out.

I am often asked how I can be so positive with the daily challenges that I face with my children’s special needs. The answer is my love and faith that I have for the Lord. He helped me find my path.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t be more grateful with the life that I have been given. Yes, my oldest son requires 24/7 care and probably always will. Yes, my youngest son will always have challenges in his life that he will face due to his autism. However, they have brought more blessings to my life that I could have ever imagined. Times are tough but loving them is so easy.

Would I have that attitude if I wasn’t a believer in the Lord? I’m not sure. What I am sure of, is the Lord helped me turn my “why” questions to “How did I get so lucky?” Through my faith in the God, I found my path in life through our daily challenges of autism.

Angela Conrad

Angela Conrad is a freelance writer, mom to two boys on the autism spectrum, determined autism advocate, and fun-loving person. When she is not doing her advocacy work for autism, she can be found managing her son’s therapy schedules and all the other crazy things that life brings. Angela loves being a mother and cherishes every moment of motherhood. She enjoys making the most of her life as a special needs mother and is blessed that God granted her the privilege of being a special needs mother.