I’m sick, I’m tired, and now (drum roll please)…
There comes a time in your life when you think of others before yourself. This is one of those moments. Having a child with autism has put a lot of my dreams on hold. I quit teaching to focus on giving my son everything he needed and deserved. The shopping trips, dinners out, vacations…they all disappeared. Life as I knew it was enthusiastically replaced with stool tests, supplements, and ABA workshops. My desire to have another child was also placed on the backburner. As an only child myself, I desperately wanted to give my son the gift of a sibling. For so many reasons, really. For companionship, fighting over Lincoln logs, or even knowing that someone would “have your back” when you went to school with a bad perm or new unflattering glasses. And, for me, it was difficult (if not impossible) to blame my actions on my cats. Now, a sibling…that would’ve been promising. Shouldn’t everyone experience this joy?
Well, God intervened and decided that it was time. Though the circumstances aren’t to my liking, I’m pregnant. Being a pessimistic person by nature, random thoughts have popped in my head (with the same response as I’d give a giant bird shitting atop me). These crappy thoughts have ranged from concerns about finances and time management to the health of my baby.
I think you have to go through something before you can truly understand it. I’ve never given too much thought to siblings of autistic children. Now that I’m going to have one, I think about it all the time. How have children who’ve come before my unborn baby done with the difficulties of autism? I wonder how it’s affected them in the long run. Will they be the caregivers of our autistic children when we’re dead and gone? How can I ensure that my new baby will be healthy and not succumb to autism? Of course, I have my opinions. Avoiding vaccinations will be my first line of defense. The government and pharmaceutical companies may have taken my first child, but I’ll be damned if they get another one.
As my head fills with questions about the future, I periodically snap back to reality (with more force than the time I rear-ended a pick-up truck while throwing away a toothpick). I think about the things that I know will happen. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m already experiencing food cravings. No pregnancy is complete without a 3 a.m. snack attack of waffles and peanut butter. I’ve been hand selecting my friends who’ve been on Santa’s “Nice List” to accompany me through the hell of delivery. I’m not-so-eagerly awaiting what can only be thought of as karma-like morning sickness and stretch marks.
Maybe I would’ve waited a few more years. Perhaps the timing is bad. But really, in the end, it’s not about me. It’s about what’s best for my son and baby-to-be. In the next eight months (God, that sounds like forever), I’ll be exploring ways to prevent autism and sharing my reckless thoughts, (possibly) unwanted opinions, and lots of good information. The least I can do is portray my story to the world. After all, I know my child won’t be the last baby born into an autism family.
All I know is that this little lady (I have a feeling it’s a girl) is going to be as controversial as I am. A handful, indeed. Already, she’s indirectly said, “Get ready world, here I come! And what are YOU going to do about it, Mom?” So, what am I going to do about it? Take one step at a time, I suppose. Pray like mad for the health of my child. Try my hardest to deliver and raise a healthy child so that my son will have the gift that I never had. It may not be my timing, but look out world, she’s (or perhaps he’s) on the way.