Childrearing

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

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There is so much. My fears for my older son are endless. Whenever I think about putting him in more intense residential care, my first thought is finances. We can’t afford to send him to a beneficial school let alone a good therapist or more intensive services. Being the recipient of government insurance, I have many horror stories regarding my own care. I shudder to think what institutions would accept a child with needs like those of my older son.

Would he be attended to as closely as he is at home? Would he be taken advantage of by other patients? Staff? Would his twin sister and little brother understand and be able to forgive us? Most heartbreaking of all, would he be able to forgive us? Yes, he is out of control and we are exhausted, but under all the difficulties is a child who I know must love us and hurts just as much as we do whenever he does something dangerous or unacceptable.

And yet there is always the fear of more. What will we do when his hormones drive him into more frenzied and furious behavior? What if he sets the house or garage on fire? What if it’s someone else’s property? What will we do if he’s failing out of school and continues not to be bothered because his planes and trains are more interesting? What sort of future will he have? What sort of future will my husband and I have?

To further add to the stress and anxiety, the fates have decided, despite our efforts, to bless us with another child. We were shocked. I was horrified. Some days I still am. All the past experiences I’ve gone through bringing one baby home to an autistic child race through my mind.

Will he try to “burp” this one by fiercely pounding his fists on this baby’s fragile chest? Will he mimic violence glimpsed in his father’s video game on this child and try to pull off their head? (You can bet DH got a frosty bit of ear-chewing for that incident.) Will I be forced to keep this baby in a sling or in my arms constantly as long as they’re awake lest I put him or her on the floor for an instant? Why us?

The bites, bloody noses, scratches, bruises and wounds my older son has inflicted upon me in his earlier years have healed, though not so with his siblings quite yet. We aren’t forced to employ off-label sleeping medication every night to put him to bed any longer. Though don’t think it doesn’t still cross my mind on an especially rotten evening when he just won’t go to sleep. We can’t even send him to the bathroom most of the time and trust that he’ll be back out in under 10 minutes, that the toilet won’t be full of paper and there will still be soap left when he comes out.

But all these behaviors are still far, far away from most 11-year-olds. Especially considering that he seems to be regressing rather than developing–unless you count uncanny dexterity and sneaking skills–both of which seem to be rocketing right along.

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