Autistic and Pregnant
I’m an adult who has been diagnosed Autistic since childhood. I’m pregnant and almost at the end of my first trimester.
When one’s pregnant and makes it known you do have to expect some degree of unsolicited advice from others. What I didn’t expect was the mass amounts of ableist hate I’d get thrown at me… even by parents of autistic children.
“If you’re autistic why did you get pregnant?” “How could you do that to a child?” “You’re just going to have an autistic kid! How are you going to handle that when you have problems?” “You really have no business having kids.” and other such malarky.
No one in my immediate family is autistic or even shows traits that they possibly have it. Even as far back as my grandparents, as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins. There is MI in my family but it’s depression and anxiety-related. I’m a special snowflake. While I’m aware that my having it may increase chances of my child having it, it also seemed to skip many generations in my family for me to get it. It’s not guaranteed.
I’m not going to lie - I am worried my child may be born with autism. Caring for an autistic child can be challenging enough for a neurotypical adult, and while I know how it feels to have it I don’t know if I could provide adequate enough care. But that’s a concern every new mom has - what if we mess up? I also worry for my child because I know what it’s like to grow up autistic. You don’t fit in as well. And despite all your gifts and praise you may get from the adults in your life, you’re still treated differently by your peers and it hurts at times. Things only get more challenging as you get older. High school is bad enough for neurotypical children, but for me and some other autistics I know it was seven layers of hell. Being made fun of for not always acting correct in social situations, being left out of gatherings, not having very many friends, etc. I won’t even get into the bullying since every situation is different. I will say though that I was bullied heavily in my youth for things related to autism, but I also know others on the spectrum who got by a bit better. But this is why I worry - I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to be confused as to why people treat you funny, to not understand social situations fully, to strive to be your own person despite things out of your control getting in the way, to be so easily overwhelmed by the smallest things to the point of meltdown. I know what it’s like to be that confused lonely child with the colorfully vivid imagination one’s so desperate to share but has no idea how.
But whether my child is born autistic or not does not mean I will love them and care for them any less. Like any other parent, I want the best life possible for them.
To neurotypical moms of autistic children - one day your kids will grow up and may want to pursue their own lives. This may include getting married and having kids. Please don’t be that jerk who discourages them from these decisions. We’re fully capable of being good spouses and parents like anyone else.
I avoid anything Autism Speaks touches like the plague. An autistic having kids? That’s the kind of thing they want to prevent with their mystical cures and whatnot. We’re not full people! They can’t let us breed! Ugh.
I have to stay away from parenting forums because of the ableism and the constant competition to be perfect parents. (I hate contests enough as it is.) My advice is coming from books and magazines - things that don’t judge. I have full faith that I will be a great wife and an amazing mom. One day the ableist naysayers will eat their words.
Submitted by: ifharleyquinnhadablog