Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘secret

Coming Out

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I once had a conversation with a friend, who is gay, about Coming Out.  He explained that coming out is a big deal, you build up to it, it takes all your nerve, you finally do it and feel an enormous sense of relief.  Then it dawns on  you that you just came out to a few people, and there are about 6 billion more on this planet.  You have to keep doing it, over and over again every time you meet someone new.  And every time you worry about how they are going to deal with this information.  How will it change they way you are perceived?  Are they even worth sharing this personal information with?

Almost exactly a year ago, we started to notice Pudding’s differences.  We were scared and confused; overwhelmed by the A-word.  We had to acknowledge that our visions of her future did not belong to her, and it was okay to let go of them.  She was the same little girl she always had been; that is to say, a little different.  Still, it was hard to tell friends and family.  We knew our parents would feel that same fear for her future. We hated that awkward silence when we told friends.  It gets easier, though, and the more we feel comfortable about talking, the more questions people are asking.  Questions are easier to deal with than silence.  Questions lead to understanding.  Silence leads to shame.

There is another way.  Pudding’s disability is invisible.  We could keep quiet, hide her secret.  Unfortunately, secrets imply shame, and shame leads to stigma.  We don’t ever want her to feel ashamed about who she is.  We want to take these diagnostic words and demystify them.  To learn about the community of “Aspies” and “Auties” who not only aren’t ashamed of who they are, but take pride in their differences, and their contributions to this world.  We are determined that Pudding and Cubby will grow up taking pride in who they are, whoever they turn out to be.  It will be difficult.  As they get older they may not choose to be open, and that will be their choice.  It is our job to make sure they feel confident and strong enough to make that choice.

I’m thinking about this because on Friday Pudding will have a play date with a new friend.  I’ve been corresponding with the mother over email, but I haven’t mentioned that Pudding has autism.  Do I let her know before we meet so that she is prepared?  Or do I let her and her daughter meet Pudding first, so they can see there is more to her than a diagnosis?  I’m not sure what to do.  Even spectrummy mummies don’t know everything!  Suggestions in the comments please.

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 27, 2010 at 7:08 am