Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jenny McCarthy Revisited...Now I'm Annoyed!

I just posted (so go read the one before this if you will please) but I was just thinking about the fact that last night I grabbed Jenny McCarthy's first book off the library shelf and sorta grazed over it. Casey was playing at the library computer, and since I already went through the various encyclopedias and reference books that I cared to on other occasions that are within reach, I got up and got a book off the wall that holds books on homeschooling, and disabilities. Jenny's book was there.

I had never really thorougly read it before, and it's the first one I'm talking about, not the new mommy warrior one (that just makes me puke for some reason). It was certainly an easy read, each chapter being about 2 or 3 pages long, some one page (I am seriously not exaggerating). I strummed through, seeing anecdotes on her son's behaviors, his seizures, her separation from her hubby (he truly didn't get it). From all accounts, the kid was a mess. I could relate to a lot of the stories, and her feelings, although I sorta hate to admit it.

After finishing and getting the general gist of the thing, I started to see why so many people found her inspiring, and helpful. She definitely gives some good information about the biomed aspect of things. A lot of it made sense. I think she's a good mom. There, I said it! I am not as anti-Jenny, as I thought I was.

I think the thing that makes me a little anti-Jenny is that the way she tells her tale is very, uhm, convincing. I mean, if I were a mom of a newly diagnosed kid with Autism, her book could possibly become a bible for me. I would run out and find a DAN doctor right away! I would try all the things she did, even though, she never really makes a point too much of saying how different kids with Autism are. I think this could be dangerous and disappointing.

Years ago, my friend and I went to several presentations on the biomend aspect of Autism given by a local dentist who had a child with Autism. This was my first experience with terms such as yeast, supplementation, gf/cf diet, mercury poisining. We of course were fascinated and drawn towards trying anything and everything for our kids. I had so much hope, much like Jenny's book dishes out. I thought I had found those magic bullets. Guess what, I never did.

In all fairness, I never followed a full fledge regimen. I started too, but got bored with giving my kid 9 vitamins everytime he ate. I tried the diet, it never worked for us. I never attempted getting rid of yeast if there was any in the first place. Chelation was out of the question. My friend, on the other hand, has followed her DAN doctor's suggestions, gone organic and dairy free, supplemented per results of testing. She's done everything right, and she is seeing results with her child, which is awesome. We've actually seen great improvements with b-12 shots in Casey. I doubt though, that either one of us will ever tell ya that our children have lost their Autism label, as Jenny's son apparantly did.

And there in lies another issue I have with her. Why is this so important to lose that label, and let everyone know about it? I don't see people scrambling to get rid of a Downs label. Heck, some people fight for an ADHD label for their kid, just so they know why they are doing so bad in school! It almost makes me suspect that in Jenny's mind, Autism is something to be ashamed of, to fight. Be that "Mommy Warrior" against.

It makes me wonder, am I in the wrong for not doing all I apparantly could? Am I wrong for not being that "Mommy Warrior" when it comes to things like chelation and ridding your child of yeast? Am I wrong for not persuing such things?

Dammit, why did I even read that book. Such simplicity making me doubt myself! Ick!


Osh said...

I don't think you are in the wrong at all. You love your son just as he is, why on earth would you change who he is? We can be warriors about fighting to get adaptations and services to make things "easier and more manageable" for our children, but I would never ever fight to change what makes up the essence of Evan, the things that make me laugh, think, and cry...would you for Casey? I would think it would send the message that we are telling our boys something is WRONG with them. No thanks, they get that enough from bullies at school.

Great blog!

kristi said...

I like Jenny because she has put AUTISM out there and more people are listening. But she does talk about CURING your child and that bothers me.

TC does not get violently ill and we have not done the gluten free diet. But he is doing well and making lots of progress. I don't give him much sugar and no caffeine and he has almost completely stopped having to take MELATONIN to go to sleep! Things are good...not perfect, but good.

Anonymous said...

I did not like that book and found it filled with false information. I especially don't like the interviews I have seen with her. I don't like the idea of needing to rid a child of the Autism label. I am totally cool with M being Autistic.

I always read the books out of curiousity though and doubt myself for a few hours afterwards. Then, I let it go.

kristina said...

Why is this so important to lose that label, and let everyone know about it? I don't see people scrambling to get rid of a Downs label. Heck, some people fight for an ADHD label for their kid, just so they know why they are doing so bad in school! It almost makes me suspect that in Jenny's mind, Autism is something to be ashamed of, to fight. Be that "Mommy Warrior" against.


And I wonder to, what is McCarthy going to do if her son is "different" as he gets older-----I've wondered if she took such an aggressive stance on the vaccine-autism link because of wanting to make it clear (to herself, at any rate) that she wasn't "responsible."

Mama Mara said...

Kristina makes a great point; it's pretty early for Jenny to be declaring "cure" when her son has so many other developmental hurdles to face.

As for Jenny, I almost miss the days when all she talked about was her brave decision to have her silicone implants downsized. Warrior indeed.

Bonnie said...


mommy~dearest said...

EXACTLY how I felt after I read the book too. I did a book review on my blog, and I was pretty steamin'.

Anonymous said...

I did a review of her book, too, but not as steamin' nor undoubtedly funny as m~d's. (I just cannot compete with m~d's humor.) I was not involved in the blog discussions regarding Jenny when my Hubby brought it home from the library one day. I fit-in with the crowd that is unimpressed, questions cure-as-imperitive and suspicious of her motives regarding the publicity of her son's improvements.

I would not worry about Jenny's response to Evan-in-the-future. Natural consequences.

For you, Bonnie, is she really worth your annoyment?

WritingAllNight said...

Jenny is obviously unaware that Autism can have many causes. Food, enviroment, Fragile-X, and more. I can't stand the woman. She brings false hope to parents who have no clear idea of the root cause of their child's autism. IF there is a root cause.

I don't think you did anything wrong by not following a regimen. Our kids have their own regimen and it is hard enough to be a parent, much less the parent of a special child without someone telling us we aren't doing it right.

As far as I am concerned, Ms. Jenny can bite my lily white scottish booty.

claire p said...

I have to say that I don't know who this Jenny person is. Maybe she hasn't made such a big splash in the UK? Autism is still new to us, but we've had the Sotos for years now, along with other things. Jamie is Jamie and that's it. I wouldn't change him for the world. A good mother is one who loves her child for who they are, not what they can change them into.

Krystal said...

I agree with where you are coming from. Like Kristi sais that she lies that fact that Jenny brought autism to the forefront -I do not like the term cured or recovered. She doesn't know that yet - as they grow up, things change and he might.

I have tried amny things and jave knocked myself for not trying everything but you know what? We all cannot try everything. For some it is time, for others it is money, and others, it is convenience.

We just have to try what is within our means to do, nothing else.

You are doing your best and that is all that matters.