“Finding out that my son had autism changed my life. I call that my diagnosis day. That was the moment that changed everything about who Gina was. I was a new person, a new mom, and a wife. That moment changed me forever.
My husband and I struggled to have a child for many years. The doctors told us that we shouldn’t have a child but it was that important for us. We decided to keep trying and count on faith. We did and were blessed with a miracle baby. The pregnancy was very rough but it was so worth it. I knew pretty early on that my baby was different, so I really struggled with people trying to hear me tell them that there was something different about my baby. At that time, autism wasn’t really on the map like it is now. A pediatrician heard me out and sent me to Weisskopf Center, here in Louisville. At this time he was three and we took him to be evaluated.
I knew in my heart, what the doctors were going to tell me. They told me that he had autism. For a parent to hear that something is going on with your child, is devastating. You have all of these goals and things in place that you have planned in the future. To hear that it won’t be the case was devastating. I went into a mourning stage, which is common, because you have to mourn the child that you thought you were going to have and then embrace your new normal. He’s eleven now. It did change me. Having a child with a disability teaches you patience and unconditional love. I see the world differently. It taught me how to love. That moment changed me for the better.
I researched myself to death. I was trying all of these things to make my son normal. I was trying all of the fads out there like eating gluten free and putting him in a certain type of mud water. I was trying to help my son but in reality, I was trying to help myself because he was already happy. He was fine. After putting him on the gluten free diet and putting him through so much stuff, I decided to embrace his autism as our new normal. I had to put all of those fads aside. I had to make sure that he was happy and we were happy.
I have always been into creating and writing. I used to write plays and stuff like that. Three years ago, I lost both of my parents to cancer within five months of each other. I looked inside myself and had to figure out my passion. At that time, I thought that cancer was my life sentence. When you lose both of your parents to cancer, you get to thinking that you’re going to be next. So, I had to think that if I’m close to the end of my days, what would my passion be? What’s something that I would want to do? I started writing. I’m a hopeless romantic and started writing a romance novel. I wanted to have something with my name on it, where my family can pick it up and say that I wrote it. Writing became my thing and it became something that I love doing. I sent my work to all of these publishers and kept getting yes, which I didn’t expect to get. I was really doing it. I don’t have the same mindset, as I had when I first started but to see my name on things makes me so proud, regardless if two or a thousand people read it.
Faith and family keeps me going. My husband is my support system. There’s days when I can’t and he keeps me going. I have a lot of things on my plate, so I have to keep moving. If I don’t do it, it’ll take me out. Having this business keeps me going. I still have my days. Me and my mother were super close. My father and I weren’t as close but I always wanted to be a daddy’s little girl and when that was off the table, it was devastating. I was thinking that one day we were going to build this relationship and be tight but when he passed, it was no longer an option. I was thirty-seven and thought to myself that I was an orphan because my parents were gone.” - Gina, co-owner of Trend Setters Hair & Nail Salon in Russell