I’ve had people ask me, and to be honest… I’ve even thought about the question.
“If you knew your first son was going to be Autistic (and really understood what that would be like), would you have been more careful about having another?”
I’ve thought about it a LOT. Especially when I’m only taking care of one kid (because I had to take them to a doctor appointment or they stayed home because they were sick). I’d like to start off by saying I DO NOT believe in abortion. Heck, I have TWO autistic kids and when I found out I was having our third little baby… I never once thought about abortion. Even after I found out that I was going to have another boy (and as you know, autism is more common in boys)… I never even thought about adoption.
However… Tom (my husband) and I have said it more than once. Our lives would be so much easier if we had one OR the other. We would never, ever be able to pick which kid we would rather have… and given the chance to go back, I would still make the same choice. I love my boys. I don’t know what I would do without them. They’re amazing. But they are a handful and a half. Our third son is only a month old… so I don’t know what it’s like to have a NT child. I worked at a daycare for 3 years, and worked in nurseries/childrens church in all of the churches we’ve gone to… Not to mention I helped raise my brothers and take care of my nephew. So, I understand what other kids are like. But I’ve been told by other Moms who have both ASD and NT kids…. Having an ASD child is like having 3 NT kids. If that’s the case… I technically have 7 kids. SMH!!
Anyway – back to the point. Having three kids is rough. Especially when two of them are severe autistic. If I had been told and truly understood how my life would be at this point… I probably would have been a LOT more careful about having another child (just for the record – all three of our kids were surprises and yes we were using protection. People think that we weren’t trying to be responsible and I’ve even had someone tell me I’m a bad Mom for having so many, given that my kids are Autistic)… let alone SO close together (they’re 363 days apart). But you know what? I can’t do anything about it. There is no time machine… And as nice as it is to think about how easy my life would be if I only had 1 child… I don’t. I have three. So, I allow myself to take a second for my little self pity party… and even more so for the pity of my kids – I could have spent so much more time with each of them if I hadn’t had them so close together – or if I only had one. Then I shake it off, smile at my insanity and keep going.
A LOT of people tell me how they can’t believe what I have to deal with on a daily basis. Or “how I do it” with 2 ASD kids and a newborn. Heck they said that before I had my third. “I don’t know how you do it!” “You’re so strong for being able to handle all of this”…. But there’s nothing special about it. I don’t have a choice. lol I mean, I get that there are parents that leave… that give their kids up for adoption… but neither of those are options for me. I could never leave my kids… and I could never be without my kids. So, I suck it up. Bawl my eyes out every once and a while. (A little more now with the move and living in this tiny apartment with nothing really to do while Tom works 14/7). Especially when they take their clothes off and poop on the floor (then smear it all over the walls and floor), or dump a brand new box of cereal on the floor… or get up on the counters and get into the freezer… Or take a whole roll of toilet paper into the bath tub with them…. (Yes – often things like this all happen in one day!) But I get over it and keep pushing on. Yes, there are nights that I dread going to bed because that means the next morning I have to do it all over again. But when I wake up and Jaxson is smiling at me to pick him up… or I open the door to get Justin and Tyler out of their room to get them changed and they have big smiles on their face… Or Tyler jumps up and down while I sing the ABC’s… or Justin comes over and gives me a big hug for no reason… Things don’t seem to be so hard any more.
So yes, life is hard. REALLY hard some days. But this is my life. It’s my choice to try to make the most of it and be happy.