I gripped the back of Jim's shirt and put my head in his neck and cried hard. I cried for my guilt. I cried out to Evan for letting him down. I told him I was sorry I didn't protect him. I cried for his physical pain. I cried for the seizure that caused him to go into cardiac arrest. I cried for being so alone in my pain. I cried for my fear. I cried for not feeling safe anymore. I cried for every mom in the world who was going through what I had gone through.

Two hours had gone by and I slowly lifted my head. I felt a sense of peace, but I also felt incredibly vulnerable and stupid for crying so hard. I always wanted to at least appear that I had all my shit together, that I was a strong woman who could handle anything that came my way, including autism. I wasn't sure Jim would admire this new girl who had just shown her bloody wounds. But when I told him how naked I felt, he told me, "I never loved you as much as I do in this moment. Right now." He told me to keep crying as things come up, and to my surprise, they kept coming up. The next morning I lay in bed and cried more, and this continued for at least four days. I felt stupid at times, but I couldn't keep it buried any longer. The well had opened and I had to release the emotion, any time and any place. I'd even cry my ass off on the side of the road.

I realized that when Evan was diagnosed I hadn't allowed myself to grieve. I cried but I didn't grieve the fear, guilt, anger, and resentment I had in me. I said to myself back then, "There is no time for me or my feelings. I need to focus on getting Evan better and that's that." Now that Evan was better, I realized I had never gone back to deal with my own pain over the diagnosis.

When the doctor first gave me Evan's diagnosis, I popped a Valium as soon as we got to the car. Drugs and alcohol take the pain away, but eventually the effect of the drugs wears off and the pain comes back. It's easy to become addicted to the drugs as the pain becomes more and more unbearable, but instead of turning to drugs I simply suppressed my pain. I was amazed that I had been completely unaware that this deep-rooted guilt existed in me. I believe that suppressed emotion causes disease, so the faster you start to FEEL, the faster you can HEAL. Sitting behind the wheel at a red light, crying my eyes out, I knew Mommy's healing had begun.
Excerpt from Mother Warriors by Jenny McCarthy © 2008.
Published with permission from Dutton, A member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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