Childrearing

Anonymous Mom: I Have 2 Autistic Kids And I Fear I Might Be Pregnant With Another

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paper doll familyAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

My husband and I very much wanted children. We struggled to keep pregnancies, went through two miscarriages, and ended up having a beautiful set of boy/girl twins. We learned that our son’s “developmental delays” weren’t only that, but ended up being symptoms of classic autism. We were devastated but determined to do our best.

Our next child ended up with PDD-NOS, also placing him on the autism spectrum. He developed symptoms before even receiving vaccinations, thus putting our minds at ease that it wasn’t our fault this time.

We are poor. We are isolated due to family distance, exhaustion from caring for our children and primarily for lack of help for my older son.

There are so many ways caring for our older son wears us down that lots of people miss. And why shouldn’t they? He is verbal. He can eat. He is intelligent. Therefore, he often misses significant cut-off guidelines for any government/community help. Our school district doesn’t recognize a medical diagnosis of autism, despite us having around six medical diagnoses at last count from various specialists.

As a mother of two autistic children, I found the murder of 14-year-old Alex Spourdalakis terrifying. Let me clearly state that murder is murder. What Alex’s mother did was horrifying. The method, the justification, the result. But more horrifying than those details is her feeling that this was all she had left. That she felt that she needed to kill her child so he wouldn’t suffer and needlessly rot for decades in a government run institution, particularly after she was no longer able to care for him in her older years or after she passed away.

Nobody understands that fear like I do.

What many readers who responded to that story don’t seem to realize is that the majority of parents like me are walking a fine line while caring for their autistic children. There are a few of us who are clinging to that line by our fingertips, trying not to look down as we dangle helplessly over the abyss.

Services, both in quality and availability, differ greatly depending on insurance. There are even layers to Medicaid that eliminate or greatly decrease one’s ability to use them depending on a couple hundred dollars (an average grocery trip for a medium family) up to a year in one family’s annual total income.

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