Casey Wilson Opens Up About Her Son, 4, Being Diagnosed with Celiac Disease: 'It Was a Shock'
Casey Wilson is opening up about a difficult time in her eldest son’s life and how it affected her perspective on motherhood.
In a newly-published personal essay for The New York Times, the actress looked back on her 4-year-old son Max’s journey to being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and revealed how the experience led her to better trust her motherly instincts.
“I am doing my best, and have always been doing my best under challenging and painful circumstances,” Wilson, 39, wrote. “And I’m comforted by the fact that following my instincts got us here.”
The actress, who revealed she struggled mentally and emotionally with becoming a parent from the very beginning, said that she first suspected something was wrong with Max from the time he was 2 years old.
Max would often appear “depressed” and lethargic, experienced frequent mood changes, and struggled to connect with children his age — all of which Wilson admitted that she couldn’t help but blame herself and her husband David Caspe for.
“I hated myself for the excuses my husband and I would make for our son,” she revealed, adding that she felt “angry” and “helpless” for telling others that Max’s moodiness was due to him not getting enough sleep or having low blood sugar levels.
“We were left wondering which version of our child was his true self. And I was left wondering if I had somehow managed to dim his bright light,” she continued. “Soon he was 3, and the excuses I had been using to tide over my worry weren’t working as well.”
By that point, Max was receiving bi-weekly occupational therapy after being diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder and fine and gross motor issues but continued to lose weight and stopped growing.
While she struggled with blaming herself for his mysterious health issues, the Mrs. Fletcher star said she also found it difficult to see how her husband, 41, was comparatively processing the situation.
“I beat myself up mercilessly, a stream of cruelty in my head: If you hadn’t been so focused on your career, you would have learned to cook beyond rudimentary fish sticks and buttered pasta! You didn’t breastfeed long enough! You got an epidural at ZERO centimeters dilated (a Cedars-Sinai Hospital first)!” Wilson wrote.
“My wonderful husband and I went through this together, but separately. He was optimistically convinced we just needed to figure out what was going on, and then we would fix it. Done and done,” she continued. “At no point did he look inward and blame himself. I maintained the situation was absolutely dire and it was my fault, that what needed fixing was me.”
It wasn’t until Max fractured his leg and later experienced a seizure in the car that led Wilson to get blood tests done for her son. The tests eventually confirmed that Max had Celiac Disease — a genetic, auto-immune condition where the body is negatively affected by eating gluten.
“It was a shock, followed by unimaginable relief. We finally had a diagnosis, and in the grand scheme of things it was a very manageable one,” the actress shared of learning her son’s condition. “We felt lucky it was not something worse.”
After not giving Max any gluten for six months per an expert’s recommendations, Wilson said she noticed a drastic difference in her son’s behavior and mood.
“In six months, almost to the day, his truer self emerged. His essence is the very same. But he is now an outwardly thriving, happy 4-year-old who is exploding with creativity and bursting with life,” she proudly shared.
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While Wilson was happy to finally have an answer, the star also emphasized how the experience made her reflect on the ways she viewed herself as a mother.
“It wasn’t about me! It wasn’t about my failure as a mother. And that’s something I have had to reckon with,” she explained. “Why was I so hard on myself? Why are we mothers all so hard on ourselves? With each passing day as his health improves, so too does my mental health.”
“But in the case of my son, I kept asking why and searching for the answer. I’m proud of that,” she added. “And I’m proud of all moms, who attempt this debilitatingly difficult-slash-searingly magical journey called parenthood. We’re all doing our best.”
Besides Max, Wilson and Caspe share 2-year-old son Henry Bear.