Should my kids exist….really? Has everyone lost their mind or just sensitivity?
Why are people questioning that? This has been eating away at me for the past week now. I try to let the unpleasant things people can say roll off of me but there are just some things I really struggle with. This past week has been a pretty rough one for me. Especially with a few unpleasant comments I have received. I know the whole “sticks and stones…..” but sometimes things really do have a way of getting to me. Especially if it has to do with my family. Lately these unpleasant comments seem to center around where or not my kids should exist.
A few days ago, I “debated” with someone who offered me their unsolicited opinion. This person was a father of an Autistic child as well. He was commenting on the ThyGuyX situation that occurred last week (that has since been resolved). You need to read those posts I linked to in order to get understanding of what I’m referring to. Anyway, this person wanted me to know that while he would have worded it nicer, ThyGuyX made a good point and he agrees with him. He said that after he had his Autistic child he made the “conscious decision” to never have another child. He ended the discussion by saying “I don’t judge your life decisions, but I do question them.”
These “life decisions” he is referring to is the birth of Elliott and Emmett. I’m not sure how that could possibly be taken other then personally. I was really taken aback by this because I have never heard anything like that from another special needs parent before. I get the “point” he was trying to make but…..really? So this has been bothering me the past few days. I know I’m not the only special needs parent to hear something like this but from another special needs parent?
So I wanted to say this to anyone who questions whether or not my children should exist. Our lives are difficult, challenging, chaotic and overwhelming. That’s on the good days. The bad days are…really bad. There are times that I don’t feel I’m strong enough to do this. I often find myself lost and tired, wondering why I was chosen for this job. There are also times that I just want to quit. Hear me when I say, that if I could, I would remove the Autism from my children’s lives. In fact I would do ANYTHING to free them from the Autism so they could be free to be “unabridged” versions of themselves. Even with all the pain, stress, heartache, isolation and fear, if given the choice, I WOULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. I can’t imagine life without my kids (with or without Autism) and no matter what the challenge, I would NEVER want to. There has NEVER been a day that I regret having my kids. They’re my babies and I love the more then ANYTHING and despite EVERYTHING. Maybe I’m just stronger then I give myself credit for or maybe your just weak. How dare you question whether or not my kids should have been born. I don’t know what kind of person says or thinks something along these lines but I feel sorry for you. Here is a bit of unsolicited advise. Don’t EVER approach a special needs parent and tell them you question their life choices. We are fiercely protective of our special needs children and some of us just might be looking for an outlet. You would be wise NOT to make yourself a target.
This brought tears to my eyes. It makes me question the value that man puts on his own son's life. One thing I've learned in the short time we've been dealing with Autism is that a person who is Autistic sees the world in a way that other people do not. They are observant, and smart, and unique, and beautiful and they most definitely deserve life- but amazing lives at that. Your children are so lucky to have you and your wife, you care deeply about them, no matter the struggle, and that is what every child deserves. I think his comments come from a place of fear and misunderstanding or ignorance of what his child, and every other child with Autism has to offer the world. Maybe he just genuinely is a hateful person.
This… "Do you plan on caring for these things their entire lives or do the taxpayers eventually have to baring the load of even more unwanted animals." – this is heartbreaking and disgusting. I was shaking as well.
Before Conor was born, and growing up I did a lot of babysitting in my neighborhood. Three of the families I babysat had an Autistic children, and they were the light in a very dark time in my life, every single moment I spent with them made me feel like my problems we so unimportant, and I've watched all three of them grow into flourishing young men who are dating and happy and in school or working on something they love. As a young mother, I had the opportunity to meet a few of my friend's peers this year at her graduation from college. Another young man that she was in classes with came up to me, and told me he was Autistic, told me about his parents, and his journey and thanked me/asked me to never give up on Conor because all he will need is love and support and he'll be fine, more than fine- he said. This young man had just graduated with his MASTERS in engineering.
I want you to know that I know we haven't met yet (which I'd love to change) but we love you so much, and all of your children, and you will always have our support. Keep your head high, and be proud of what you're doing because you are doing a damn fine job. I'm so sorry anyone thought it was okay to express such a foul outlook on the life you've chosen.
I just wanted to say thank you for what you wrote. We love you guys too and at some point we need to all get together.
Rob – I've told you before of 'well-meaning' friends and families gently suggesting I should abort our third son. We struggle for peace of mind so often, us parents of these special kids, that the very act of another person questioning our child's very right to exist stinks of a superiority complex as well as the need to have this particular mom tell them just what they can do with that opinion.
Our children are gifts, given to us to raise, and entrusted to us to love. *hugs* to you and Lizzie and your three special guys.
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It can take a few years for the wisdom of things to be proven. I remember my mom saying emphatically about a friend of hers: "Mary is in such poor health she should never have had Donna." Donna had some kind of vision problem and my aunts were discussing it and airing all their opinions.
The years passed and, since Mary was in poor health, she finally died. The older daughter, Pam, who had no apparent disabilities at the time, finally inherited her mother's health problems and became an invalid. The dad remarried, and he and his new wife moved away to live the life he had missed earlier on.
If Donna had not been born, there would be no one to take care of Pam now. Siblings need each other. It isn't fair to a child with special needs to deny them the ones who will be here for them when we are gone. This story is true. I changed the names because these girls are my friends.
I read this and was appalled for you!!! I have a son with Down syndrome and he is a gift as is your children. Our geneticist and a few family members alluded to my ending my pregnancy because my amazing little man would have no potential and would be a burden. He is the most amazing person I have ever known. He is the greatest teacher I have ever had. My life is richer and better with him in it. How dare ANYONE say our children should not exist… how thoughtless, insensitive and ignorant. I am sorry we have these people in the world… they will never get it and the poorer for it. Thank you for sharing…
I hope I never hear someone say that my grandchildren should not exist…
They are all beautiful, unique, and have much to offer to the world…
If we were to eliminate everyone from this world who is different, has disabilities, disorders, or illness… well, wasn't that Hitler's goal? Be careful what you wish for. You may be the next one who's right to exist is questioned…
I firmly, FIRMLY believe that EVERY child that is born is here for a REASON. Despite the fact your life is challenging, it is also rewarding (see Emmett's success @ OT yesterday if you need reminding of that). Your kids may be here to teach you something about yourself, or something to someone else in the world. If they really weren't supposed to "exist" I don't believe that what ever "higher power" (insert your own name for it there) wouldn't have allowed them to join us. But then again, you and Lizze know that while I may not post comments consistently on your blogs (I did try to post on hers & intense debate ate it yesterday btw) that I love your entire immediate family with all my heart. And it pains me to read these insensitive comments. Know one knows the path you walk better then yourself – therefor NO ONE gets to pass judgement on it. Just my 2cents. 🙂
Just because someone is different and unique doesn't mean than shouldn't exist. That kind of thought is outrageous….because really what is "normal"?? Everyone is different and unique but who are we to decide who should and shouldn't exist, really….
I will say that after working a few years in education at a school that was one of three elementary schools in the district to house most of the special needs kids, majority of the families that I came in contact with that had kids on the spectrum had other children and continued to have other children. A lot of times the child on with special needs was the oldest (now if they knew the diagnosis prior to choosing to have more kids, I don't know) but regardless does that really matter. If these parents would have decided to stop having kids they wouldn't be blessed with their beautiful families and there children wouldn't be blessed with siblings…especially the child with special needs who can benefit greatly from having sibling interaction. Like you have said before, the doctors have said that you guys have an extreme case and had you chosen not to continue to have children you wouldn't have been blessed with 3 wonderful boys.
If this guy, chose not to have any more children that is his choice but to push that off on someone else or question someone's choices is really just rude. That is something better off being kept to themselves.
Rob, you and Lizze have 3 gorgeous boys who are contributing to society by raising awareness for autism and bringing together people from across the world. They enrich people’s lives far more than some of the scum that inhabits this earth. I don’t have kids of my own but I’m an OT because I love kids with autism. Kids like yours are the reason I get up in the morning.
Your children are yours. A gift. No one gets to tell you that you made a questionable choice. I've let far less get under my skin, I'm not sure I could take such a comment with such grace, or composure. We've had two kids after our son was born, one pre-Dx, and one post, a girl then a boy. There are little signs that we may have a second son with Autism, but its still early, and it may just be my fear that we have a second spectrum kids that is seeing the signs, but no matter what, he deserves to be here, to be loved by us, and to love us, NT or on the spectrum.
Your kid deserve to be, there is no argument!
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I want you to know that your posts have touched my heart in no way anyone has ever done. You inspire me to be a better parent and I find when I'm having a hard day or challenging day I log on and read your blog. I feel as if you are a parent I can relate to which is something I haven't been able to find since my son way born.
I want more children in the future regardless of whether there is a chance of more with a disability. I think you made the decision to have more children bravely and if I can ever become half the parent you are I would be proud. =]
Just thought you should know.
You and your wife are wonderful parents and the mere thought of someone questioning is is just awful.
Why anyone else would care about your life choices is beyond me. Although, now I kinda feel bad about our choice to not have another child. My husband's reasoning is that he couldn't handle having another child with Autism. What's funny is that we HAVE a 2nd kid who is NT! He came along pre-diagnosis, though, thank goodness, or else I might only have my daughter (I still want more kids, but dh has locked down that idea). If we were to decide to go for a 3rd, though, I can't imagine someone actually saying to me that I shouldn't b/c I have a child with a disability. That's our choice, whether people think it's right or wrong.
Thanks Jen 🙂
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