People ask me (or I can tell they want to ask me) how I can consider having another child when one of my children is already autistic. To them I say:
I really don’t have a fear of the next one being autistic. Why? I suppose it’s because having one already I feel that I can handle it if it does come to pass. I already know that the feelings for my child are no less complicated, secure or strong whether or not he/she has a neuro-disorder. I love all of my sons differently – what mother doesn’t? (they are different kids) – and one of my sons having Autism means that I have to adjust a lot of my own mindset accordingly.
Many times I absolutely HATE how difficult this disorder makes his life and many times I wish I had a magic wand which would make him somehow know and understand all the things that he can’t grasp. Watching my child struggle with things that come naturally to the other two is painful… but then again, I’ve come to realize that it’s no more painful than watching my older child struggle through depression and self-esteem issues now that the divorce is done-deal and puberty looms on the horizon. I’m sure my youngest will have struggles that pain me as well. As parents, we want (if secretly) our children to never have to struggle, never have reason to feel pain, hurt or frustration. Autism is like a guarantee that those things will be ever-present.
Life is like that, though… struggles are always going to be a part of growing up. Yes, I would rather end up with a child who has an easier time of it. Yes I would rather have a child that didn’t create this desire in me to blow up the local board of education because of their lackadaisical attitude. Yes, I would rather have a child who could sail through life without having to try so hard to move through society. Yes I’d like to know my next child will not be stamped with the label “abnormal” for the rest of his/her life.
But having a child is something I want because I love sharing my life with children; the child doesn’t have to be anything near perfect or even “normal” for me to enjoy sharing my life with it.