Toni Braxton’s 11-year-old son is autistic.
The singer once believed his autism diagnosis was payback from God for having had an abortion a few years earlier. She writes in her new memoir, Unbreak My Heart, that she got pregnant when she was on the acne medication Accutane which can reportedly cause birth defects.
Both of Braxton’s parents are pastors and she grew up in a strictly religious home. She told US Weekly Magazine:
“Coming from a very religious background, I was ashamed that I had an abortion in 2001. When my youngest son was diagnosed with autism I feared that I was being punished for my earlier actions. I have since realized that my son is special and learns in a different way.”
Isn’t that sad?
She made a decision that was right for her at the time, and then believed that decision directly affected her child. She was so consumed with guilt that she chose to see her child as a punishment instead of a gift. What does that say about how difficult it is to raise an autistic child, and the fear that goes along with the diagnosis?
Read more: 10 tips for helping children with autism>
Because there isn’t a known cause for autism, parents often flail for answers (although we got closer this week with doctors discovering a genetic test that can identify autism earlier in a child’s life).
It’s a sad truth that whenever something happens to our kids we often search our own personal history for that “bad thing” that we did to deserve this. As if the world works that way—each action has an equal, opposite action somewhere down the line.
I am not a big believer in karma, or payback, or even fate. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t irrationally wonder sometimes. Doesn’t everyone?