Mom of 2 Kids With Autism Shares Her Reality in an Open Letter That Has the Internet Cheering

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April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, and all over the world, people are wearing blue (the chosen color for autism awareness) and sharing their stories online. But many parents with autistic children, like Jennifer Jeppson, are going the extra mile to share the realities of their day-to-day lives. In a raw Instagram post, the mom shared what she wishes moms and dads without autistic kids knew, and her post is going viral.

  • Jeppson has three kids, and her 4- and 6-year-old sons, Parley and Whitaker, are both on the autism spectrum.

    "I frequently get asked what other moms can do to support families with special needs," she wrote. "In my own experience, here is what I've been thinking about recently."

    First, she asks other parents not to put her on a "pity pedestal," where they say things like, "I couldn't do what you do every day." Jeppson wrote, "I know those comments are well meaning. Truly, I do. But, frankly, I have never felt like intervening and helping our children was a choice we had. It's not like lessons or little league where we made a choice to be involved -- it is something our children NEED to have a shot at life."

    Instead, she suggests that anyone who wants to show appreciation say things like, "I really admire all you do for [your] children." Or, "They are so lucky to have a mom that loves them so much." As Jeppson explains, "Just make it a positive." 

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  • The mom also encourages people to "just do."

    Jeppson said that special needs moms just wanted to be treated like everyone else. "[Bring over] a meal, send a text, invite me to a girls' night. If you ever have a thought to reach out to a friend or family member who's a parent to a child with special needs, do it!" she wrote. 

    With three kids, two of whom have special needs, and a husband, Jeppson finds that life naturally "gets so bogged down" -- but that only makes girl time more important. "I am always so grateful for when someone reaches out to me," she wrote. "At times, I can be [so] drained that I can't even think about maintaining friendships. It's not that I don't want to, but it's hard. Reach out and do."

  • She also wants others to be more understanding of her difficulties.

    "Give me the benefit of the doubt," she wrote. "If I forget to send a thank you, am slow to call back or respond to [a] text, chalk it up to how overwhelmed I am ... if I am quiet at a dinner or seem off, I am most likely trying my best to stifle my very tender and raw emotions."

  • Lastly, Jeppson got honest about the jealousy she sometimes feels for non–special needs parents.

    "I'm jealous at your life unencumbered by therapy and doctors and school meetings and evaluations," she wrote. "I'm grateful you don't spend hours on the phone fighting with the insurance company or hours filling out paperwork. You're busy, too. I know you have your hard stuff, too. But you hopefully had a choice to get busy with [stuff], which is such a blessing. The fact that your children can do those things is a blessing, which we can easily forget."

  • Her words have gotten a ton of love from other moms who agree with everything she wrote.

    autism mom Instagram comment
  • Many of them claim she "took the words from [their] own mouth."

    autism mom instagram comment
  • In an interview with PopSugar, Jeppson said she didn't think twice about sharing such a raw insight into her family's life.

    Those honest admissions are what drew her to create her Instagram page in the first place. "I wanted and want to share the realities of how autism not only affects my two boys but our entire family," she said.

    She also says she wants her page and her words to bring knowledge and comfort to her fellow special needs moms. 

  • Jeppson makes it clear that raising two autistic kids is a struggle -- one that she and her husband "didn't think [they] could handle."

    But she also admitted to PopSugar that her thinking was flawed. "Autism was something I had a very limited understanding of, a very biased view of and thought was one of the worst things that could happen ever ... Having children with autism has changed so much of who I am, it's hard to put into words," she said. "I value almost everything so differently now than I did before, and it's hard to quantify that." 

    Jeppson also said she now views kids as individuals, regardless of their diagnoses. "I hate it when the first thing people say about my kids is that they are 'autistic,'" she said. "Yes, they are, but they are so much more than that."

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