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londonpenguin
06-11-2007, 12:48 PM
Hi, everyone. I've never posted to this forum before, but I do read it sometimes. I don't have any specific reason for reading it, but sometimes the stories can make me feel good about humanity.

My question is a bit sticky. I'm afraid I might offend someone with my complete and utter ignorance, or that I might use a word that's a big no-no in the disabled community. Please know that I mean no offense; you can look at this as an opportunity to eradicate ignorance. :) So, please: no flames. Believe me, I'm flaming myself on the inside already.

I have recently been considering getting pregnant. I'll be 39 this year, and I know that factor creates some risks. Those of you who have autistic children or children with other mental abnormalities: were there any risk factors in your pregnancy that would have led you to expect a child with problems? Were you fairly old when you got pregnant? Is autism solely hereditary? Or is it just one of those things that happens: it can't be predicted or planned for?

Not the most articulate question, is it? I'm just really worried because I know, without a doubt, that I would be unable to deal with an autistic child or a child who was anything but "normal." I admire the men and women who cope with a special-needs child on a daily basis. I honestly could not handle it. I'm not cold and heartless; I just know my limitations.

I know that any pregnancy has risks, that there are some things that simply cannot be predicted, and that no good OB/GYN will tell me that I will have a 100% healthy, bouncing, pink-cheeked baby that will never have any mental or physical difficulties. Anyway, I would appreciate any insight you can give me.

Foxes Den
06-11-2007, 02:29 PM
I am 38 and facing alot of the same questions you have. I think that you might find more info if you went to a mommy board, and/or your family GP. I know in Canada they do IPS (I think its called that) testing to see if your child has any markers. At 12 and 18 weeks.

I think no matter what age you are - if your child is born heathy or not. Bad/scary/out of the norm things can/do happen. Having a child at any age has its risks.

Taylor

Kat77
06-11-2007, 02:31 PM
My question is a bit sticky. I'm afraid I might offend someone with my complete and utter ignorance, or that I might use a word that's a big no-no in the disabled community. Please know that I mean no offense; you can look at this as an opportunity to eradicate ignorance. :) So, please: no flames. Believe me, I'm flaming myself on the inside already.
I am not so much offended as I am freaked out in general by this post. While I get you have good intentions... you must also get the 'saints' here are not always having a good time here in heaven. Halo ring toss eases the tension.


I have recently been considering getting pregnant. I'll be 39 this year, and I know that factor creates some risks. Those of you who have autistic children or children with other mental abnormalities: were there any risk factors in your pregnancy that would have led you to expect a child with problems? Were you fairly old when you got pregnant? Is autism solely hereditary? Or is it just one of those things that happens: it can't be predicted or planned for? Known common factor- all tend to be human children from female pregnancies. Beyond that :confused3


Not the most articulate question, is it? I'm just really worried because I know, without a doubt, that I would be unable to deal with an autistic child or a child who was anything but "normal." I admire the men and women who cope with a special-needs child on a daily basis. I honestly could not handle it. I'm not cold and heartless; I just know my limitations.
I know that any pregnancy has risks, that there are some things that simply cannot be predicted, and that no good OB/GYN will tell me that I will have a 100% healthy, bouncing, pink-cheeked baby that will never have any mental or physical difficulties. Anyway, I would appreciate any insight you can give me.
1) Those same bouncy pink cheeked babies may have two normal years before you realize any abnormalities.
2) Bouncy pink cheeked children can become injured or ill requiring lifelong special care.
3) You could die in childbirth or have a stroke that alters your abilities. Do not forget to factor in your offsprings quality of life should such happen.

DisneyDreams4P&B
06-11-2007, 03:37 PM
I am the mother of a 7 year old son who has autism, I am also the mother of a 4 year old who has Sensory Intergration Disorder (we found out that our oldest had autism after our sencond child was born). I am the aunt of a wonderful boy and girl who also have autism (we are apparently genetically predisposed).

6 months ago (at age 34) we found out that we were going to have another baby (a miracle considering how safe we were being and we had figured we were done.). I have been poked and prodded at for the last 6 months by my OBGYN, a high risk pregnancy specialist and lab techs up the ying yang. Are we nervous? Yes. Do the doctors do everything possible to make you afraid that your child will have every genetic disorder under the sun if you give birth after age 35..yes, they have to prepare you for what MIGHT happen. But remember this, when they throw all of these statistics at you. Yes, your chances increase for having a special needs child as you get older, but they are comparing data to a smaller pool of women. the rates are often higher because less women are giving birth at that age. Now do not misunderstand me, there are risks. Eggs from a 40 year old may not be as healthy as those of a 25 year old but you have to weigh those odds for yourself.

As for not being able to do the job of being mother of a special needs child..we are not saints, we do not have inexhaustable patience and there are many of us who cry in the bathroom from frustration and overload.

We are not "chosen" we are drafted, into a fight we did not want, but like most people put into that position. You do your best, you fight your hardest and if you fall you get up, brush yourself off and fight another day, because people and lives depend on you.

My daughter (who arrives in Sept.) may have autism, she may not but she will be loved the same regardless.

Good luck on whatever you choose. :flower3: :flower3:

BeckyScott
06-11-2007, 03:54 PM
This is all I can tell you:

I wouldn't wish him "different".

And excuse the extreme sap on this, but it's how I've chosen to view it, and I'm not even really religious, because sometimes you struggle with the why. Justin was going to be born. I will not even attempt to understand the "plan", all I know was that he was going to be born into this world. And God could have given him to a drug addict or someone that beat him 'cause they didn't understand or he could have been born 100 years ago and just got locked in a barn somewhere.

(and that's no joke, there was some great-great cousin of my husbands who was "retarded" :sad1: that the family never talked about, and they just kept locked in the barn his whole life)

Anyway, God picked us. I don't know why. But it's a compliment, I guess He thought we would do a good job. That Justin would be okay with us. We were trusted. And that's the way it is. And you just don't look back, and you can't imagine it any other way.

I know that doesn't answer your question, but it's my perspective on it.

As for not being able to do the job of being mother of a special needs child..we are not saints, we do not have inexhaustable patience and there are many of us who cry in the bathroom from frustration and overload.

We are not "chosen" we are drafted, into a fight we did not want, but like most people put into that position. You do your best, you fight your hardest and if you fall you get up, brush yourself off and fight another day, because people and lives depend on you.


Yes.

londonpenguin
06-11-2007, 03:56 PM
Good luck on whatever you choose. :flower3: :flower3:

Thanks. :goodvibes

I know you all aren't saints and don't automatically deserve to be put on a pedestal just because your child is the way he or she is, but I still have to admire you. Particularly this group because not only do you deal with the day-to-day stuff, but you don't hide your kids from the world or the world from your kids. You take them to DisneyWorld! I just think that's cool.

sadeeyore
06-11-2007, 03:57 PM
I was 30 when I had my DS. He is 11 and has autism, learning disability and ADHD. There were no risk factors and nothing in our family to suggest we would have a child with additional needs.

Sometimes that "100% healthy, bouncing, pink-cheeked baby" can develop additional needs. Have to agree with previous posters, anything can happen in life.

My oldest DS is 16. He was diagnosed with type one diabetes 9 months ago - you just never know what will happen in life. (There is no family history of diabetes)


I love my boys more than life itself, you learn to cope with the children you have.

Kat77
06-11-2007, 05:48 PM
As for not being able to do the job of being mother of a special needs child..we are not saints, we do not have inexhaustable patience and there are many of us who cry in the bathroom from frustration and overload.

We are not "chosen" we are drafted, into a fight we did not want, but like most people put into that position. You do your best, you fight your hardest and if you fall you get up, brush yourself off and fight another day, because people and lives depend on you.

Ok, that was MUCH better put than my previous bratitude could have ever conveyed. LOL!
For the OP: There are no determining factors that seem to relate autism to anything concrete and avoidable. My pregnancy with DS7, high functioning autistic, was smooth. I was young, no health issues, no preterm labor. I did have a hard time gaining weight.
DD9 was adopted internationally. Her bm was very young. She was dx with tourettes syndrome (at age 8) and is on the autism spectrum as well. We were unaware of these issues at adoption. We had just assumed her delays were due to orphanage setting at first.
I also have two 'normal' children. One adopted, one birth. So if autism is due to something I am doing wrong :eek: somehow they escaped it.

freckles and boo
06-11-2007, 07:14 PM
Not to be too harsh, but if you want guarantees or think you can't handle an imperfect child you should probably not have children. I have two daughters - one with high-functioning autism and one who is "typical". At the moment my older, non-autistic child is giving me fits with her sassiness, her stretches into independence, her need to do what she wants to do when she wants to do it!!! My younger daughter is easy by comparison! I am not at all religious but I believe that both my children are gifts and I accept the responsibilities that come with raising them. I have a very close friend who has decided that she can't handle raising children and I respect that decision. It is hard to be a parent. It changes almost everything about your life even if your child is "normal". And don't forget, normal children run in the street, fall from the swingset, stick their fingers into the lightsocket, and do all sorts of other worrying things, too.

As for autism, at this point the experts can't tell us definitively what causes it, why it happens to some children and not others within the same family, who is at risk, etc. etc. At this point "why?" isn't even on my radar. I am focused on what I need to do to help both my children have happy childhoods and successful lives.

1stluvispooh
06-11-2007, 07:57 PM
Before I had kids I thought like you. There is no way in hell I could handle a special needs child. Guess what my daughter is high functioning autistic and guess what I'm handling it. Remember God only gives you what you can handle. And like a previous post, would I want her any different no not really. Yes I would like life not to be such a struggle for her but it doesn't mean I love her any less because she is not "normal" (what ever the hell that is! :confused3 ) I take joy in the little things. Like today when she got her haircut and was talking with the stylist. And how her face light up when they were done and she got the spray glitter in her hair and the star glitter stamp on her face. Just like every other littler girl that left the salon today.

BeckyScott
06-11-2007, 08:26 PM
When I was pregnant with Justin, due to a lab mistake, one of my tests came back high for Down's. (I don't remember which test it was, you all know the one, I get them all mixed up) Anyway, in the two days it took to re-run the lab work, DH and I had some very interesting conversations. Neither one of us had even considered the possiblity of a special needs child.

Then the lab work cleared and Justin came out looking perfectly normal, and we thought we were in the clear. But you just never know what the next day (or years) could bring. And the possibility of it... you could make yourself nuts with the "what if"s.

Like other posters, if you would have told me years ago that I would have a child with autism, I would have told you I couldn't handle it. I've learned alot about myself. He teaches me more than I teach him.

MousekeMommy
06-11-2007, 10:24 PM
Just my experience . . .
I have 2 children. 2 perfect pregnancies, 2 perfect deliveries, one virus that both children contracted--older son (2 yrs at the time), fever for 3 days, fine afterward, younger son (6 months at the time), fever for 3 days, complete heart block afterward, pacemaker at 18 months, a lifetime of heart complications . . . who knows what's in store for us? My point--Marriage, kids, life in general is full of risks . . . Even if the news at 6 months had been the worst (which I had to prepare for . . .thank God it wasn't!!!), I had been blessed with the smiles and warmth and love of a child for 6 months--and that child had known life and love for 6 months--I thought of many of my friends that have never had the gift of a child in their arms, and I felt blessed. But that's just me--I don't judge others for their thoughts or fears (my own brother--we are VERY CLOSE--has stated that he couldn't raise a child with 'special needs'--so I kindof know where you're coming from) I commend you on your openness to hear points of view and open your mind and heart . . .
Is it hard??? Life with a child with special needs . . . Oh, God, if I had to count the tears and sleepless nights (not to mention the curses) . . .
But I count the smiles and laughs instead.
Make no mistake. I'm no saint. I'm a survivor.
Ask many, many (sometimes 'sticky') questions and be at peace with whatever decisions you make.
Good luck with your decision and God Bless.

Nik's Mom
06-14-2007, 02:39 PM
I am the proud parent of 2 wonderfu boys, who both happen to be autistic. I love the dearly. I was 29 and 32 when I gave birth. Both boys seemed to develop "normally" until 2 years old. There is no way you can tell if a fetus will be autistic.

If I knew that I was carrying an autistic baby, I would not terminate the pregnancy. My boys are both challenging in different ways, but my life would be meaningless and so boring without them.

As to whether autism is heredity, well in some cases it is. For example, if you have one autistic child, then the chances are greater that your next child will be autistic.

SandrainNC
06-14-2007, 04:02 PM
I was 30 when I got pregnant with my oldest who has Down syndrome. I know someone who was 18 years old when they had a child with Down syndrome. It can happen at any time to anyone, just like anything else. Yes, the percentage goes up as you get older, but a lot of older people have babies and the babies are "normal." My nephew has autism (I think asperger's (SP?)), but with cognitive delay.

I very much believe that my baby is my baby is my baby no matter what. I did not have the triple screen (I think that is the one somebody else was talking about) because we decided beforehand, that our child was ours no matter what. That is just how I feel about it. Did I think something would happen? Nope. But it did. That is just how it goes sometimes.

I get the "you have handled this all so well", "you are a wonderful person" stuff occasionally (not too often thank goodness) and it is just so silly. How difficult do people think it is for me to love my child unconditionally?? Obviously, it never occurs to them that I simply love my baby. I guess I am supposed to sit here crying every day 6 years later or something.

I know somebody who's nephew was born perfectly "normal" and he ended up having cancer in his leg when he was around 8. He now has a disability because he is missing part of his leg. There are no guarantees in life.

but you don't hide your kids from the world or the world from your kids. You take them to DisneyWorld! I just think that's cool.

I'm not sure how to even respond to this. Why on earth would we hide our children? Or why would you even think that is a possibility? Seriously, not being a smarty pants here. I just can't imagine someone thinking we would not take our kids in public.

Sandra

BeckyScott
06-14-2007, 04:36 PM
Yeah, but sometimes it's easier to stay home.

We don't do that either, Justin is out in the world as much as possible, but there are days when the hassle makes it harder. So I kinda understand. It's sort of the same idea as if you had a "typical" 2-year-old and needed to run to the grocery store, and some days you just say heck no, too much hassle, I'll wait til Daddy comes home. ;) That kind of thing.

But he goes to "regular" swim lessons in the summer, and takes "regular" taekwondo classes year-round.

The other thing to think about, to the poster who asked the question originally-- we have another son, too, who has gone thru a whole lot just by being a sibling. Sometimes he needs to be a kid, too. Sometimes we need to do the things that every family does.

SandrainNC
06-14-2007, 05:47 PM
I hear you on that BeckyScott! I don't go anywhere with both of mine by myself! LOL

But the OP used the word hide. I cannot imagine telling one of my friends with a typical child that I am glad they do not try to hide that child from the world and it is cool they take them out. So to me, it is a weird statement no matter who it is said to.

Sandra

Rustysmom
06-14-2007, 06:41 PM
My DS has PDD, which is on the spectrum, and as far as I know, I didn't have any risk factors. I was only 31 when I had him, which I don't think is old, and nobody in my family is autistic.

On the other hand, I was almost 39 when my DD was born, and as far as we can tell, she's "normal".

You say that you wouldn't be able to deal with any child that wasn't normal. I always thought the same thing, but you know what? You do what you have to do, and you deal with it the best you can.

I don't mean to sound mean, but then maybe you shouldn't have children at all. It's not just autism that you might have to worry about. There are tons of neurological problems and physical ones too. There is no way that you would know that your child would be free and clear of all problems. What if God forbid they had an accident when they were older and ended up disabled?

I wish you luck with your decision, but if it was me, I would just go for it and hope and pray for the best. That's what I did with DD and so far, so good. Sor far so good with my DS as well, because he's doing better than we could have ever hoped and he makes me very proud.

eeyorethegreat
06-19-2007, 09:29 AM
I have four kids, three are on the autistic spectrum (Asperger's). One is "typical" . My husband is "typical" or normal as you say. I am an "Aspie" like three of my kids. From someone who would not be considered "normal" and has only one child who would be considered "normal" , I have to say that term "normal" is a relative term. There have been many Autistics/Aspies that have excelled and succeeded in this world, many with other physical and so called mental or cognitive "disorders" that have succeeded and become remarkable, enviable people. On the other hand there are "normal" average people who become complete failures, whose behavior and actions are totally irresponsible and devastating. Being "abnormal" , "atypical" what have you, does not mean that someone will not be able succeed and become a great admirable person. Being "normal' does not guarantee that life will be easy.
What I am saying is that having a "normal" child will not guarantee that you will have an easy go at child rearing, that your child will be a great, successful, well rounded, respected and accomplished person. Having a child in an of itself is a challenge regardless of where that child is on the scale of normalcy. Sure there are challenges raising a "special needs" child and it isn't always easy and there have been lots of tears along the way but there has been far greater joy and happiness, but such is with a typical child as well, what matters is how you meet the challenges and overcome them or deal with them . My oldest son just received a presidential honor for excellence in education. he is on the autistic spectrum. There were many kids sitting in the audience that day who were "normal" and will never get such an honor.

On a more technical point, if you are truly concerned about the possibility of having a child with a genetic based issue, you and your partner can have a full genetic profile done to determine if either of you possess any genes that could possibly lead to having a child that is not "normal" . It can also indicate if you are genetically predisposed to any conditions that you , yourself may have to face.

I don't think that the question here is what your chances are of having a "normal" child but a more basic one. Are you ready and willing to become a parent and take on all the responsibility, sacrifices and emotional commitments that parenting requires; regardless of how normal your child turns out to be? I think you really need to search yourself and decide if being a parent is what you really want to do. That's not a criticism. There are plenty of folks who are truly wonderful people that are just not made for parenting so they chose not to have children. There are people who became parents and probably shouldn't have. You seem to have enough forethought to be able to consider this question and whether this is something that you truly want and that you can commit the rest of your life to (because even when our children are grown and even parents themselves, we still continue to parent them, just in a different way than we did when they were children).

I never questioned whether or not I wanted to become a parent. I always knew that I wanted to have children and parent them with responsibility, love and understanding. I always knew that I would parent any child that I had regardless of circumstances, with all my heart. Being a parent is the one thing that I have always been sure of, it is what I am most proud of. I thank God for each of my children everyday. They are an incredible gift that I am humbled to have been given.

I have wonderful kids who will do wonderful things. They will touch many lives as they already have, not because of any "condition" or lack thereof, but because of who they are and I will encourage and love them every step of the way. :love: