An overachieving mother on parenting a child with developmental delays.: I was a single mom by choice at 37, and if my love life hadn’t quite panned out, most everything else had. I was a classic “amazing girl”—driven, social, and relentlessly well-rounded—reveling in the fruits of post-Title IX America: an all-metro athlete in high school, Rhodes Scholar at 24, best-selling author by 27. My anonymous sperm donor is an (allegedly) gifted musician.
When my daughter was born, I did everything I thought I was supposed to do. Breast-feeding. Baby carrier. Wooden toys. But one day, when she was just over a year old, her nanny wouldn’t make eye contact with me. “I’m worried she’s not making enough sounds,” she finally blurted out. And suddenly I heard the silence, the way you one day notice a tree or a house on a street you’ve driven down a hundred times before. My daughter did not babble, or engage in a back-and-forth gurgle with me. Her voice did not inflect.