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.