A Mother’s Intuition
When Ali Goodman was pregnant, she had so many ideas about who her child would be. She and her husband were excited and filled with ideas and plans. One thing that was very true to the plan was love. Ali was immediately filled with love for her son, Jackson. That has been the steady constant throughout their journey with Autism. It took them a little while to recognize that Jackson was different from other children, but there was never a lack of love.
When Jackson was a year old, Ali realized Jackson wasn’t hitting traditional milestones. Something felt “off.” As a first-time mom, she already had lots of anxiety, but when Jackson was fifteen months old, she was certain something was wrong and took him to the doctor.
And then it came … The official diagnosis of Autism. While there was some comfort in having a diagnosis Ali was unsure of how to navigate this new world.
Nothing to ‘Fix’
Ali and her husband made a pact the night of the diagnosis to never hide Jackson’s autism. They didn’t want him to feel like they were hiding part of him, or ashamed of his autism. So the day after they got confirmation, they went on Facebook live and announced it.
Information overload, helpful loved ones who were not always “helpful” and a lot of learning later, Ali realized Jackon was exactly who he was always destined to be. There was nothing to fix about him. It was time to fully embrace who he was and instead of trying to change him. In order to do this, she changed her way of thinking and ‘recalibrated’ herself.
Stop Labeling Kids!
Labels like ‘high-functioning and ‘low-functioning when referring to people with Autism are demeaning and frankly, incorrect. Different people will mask in different ways, but none of that makes them less than others. Autism is just the brain working differently. And her job, as a parent, was to learn how Jackson’s brain worked and do her best to work alongside him.
You Cannot Pour From an Empty Cup
Ali has a history of mental health challenges, mainly depression and anxiety. She is still working to take care of herself throughout the journey of motherhood.
She found herself in a deep depression and postpartum anxiety a year after giving birth to her second son, Jordan. Some days even get out of bed is challenging. She was filled with shame and guilt throughout.
Forcing herself through the darkness Ali learned to embrace survival on the most basic level. And she continues to care for herself in order to be the parent she wants to be for her children. There’s nothing to “fix” in herself either.
Get to know Ali
Ali is a mother to two boys, Jackson and Jordan. She is constantly navigating motherhood, with the extra challenge of Jackson having autism. Though an actor at heart, she is currently in grad school to become a licensed therapist. She also has a podcast on being a parent to an autistic child, called ‘The Acting Up Podcast’