If you’re a special needs parent, is it selfish to have more kids?

Should a special needs parent have more children?

 

Over the past two years that I have been publicly blogging, I have been asked the above question on more than a few occasions and in various different ways. I’m personally, always taken aback when someone approaches me with this question. On the surface it seems like an ignorant comment, from someone who just doesn’t know what not to say to someone else. While that may be true of some, there are times that people ask the question because they actually want to know.

I thought I would explore this question a little bit and present it to all of you for your thoughts and opinions.

Please keep this tactful and be sensitive to everyone’s feelings. While I don’t personally think anyone has the right to question someones family for this reason alone, or any reason at all, we are all entitled to our own opinions.

So, should a special needs parent have more children?



Isn’t it selfish to have more kids?

 

I had a recent reader post a comment asking this very question. This person was a special needs parent themselves and asked this in a tactful and seemingly nonjudgmental way. Basically, this person wanted to know why parents with one special needs child already would have more kids? The question was asked in this manor, ” I honestly would like to know why you chose to continue having children if you knew the odds were that you would have another child with disabilities? It seems selfish to risk having more children with serious health issues, and having a healthy child seemed that it would take away time from my disabled child.”  

To be completely honest with you, I initially took offence to this and was quite upset. However, this person was at least somewhat tactful and after thinking about it for awhile, I realized that this is actually a reasonable question.  It’s shines the light on a decision process with very real if potential consequences, for lack of a better word. Consequences is probably the wrong word to use here but I can’t think of a better word choice. I mean no disrespect to anyone by using the word consequence. 🙂

I have decided to embrace this question and get the collective opinions of my fellow special needs parents.

Let’s look at the question itself

 

When someone asks me if I feel selfish for having more children after my first one was born with special needs, it’s kinda off putting. While they worded it nicely or nicer, it feels like they are questioning whether or not my children should be here.

My instinctive reaction is one of anger and disgust. However, getting angry or insulted doesn’t do any good. The best thing to do is probably just walk away. I mean, there are just some things you don’t say to a special needs parent. Am I right?

However, if you re-word that very same question to something with a less hostile tone, it’s actually a very good question. Personally, I would word it something like this: were you ever worried about having more kids, knowing that your first child has special needs?

To me, that is a fair and realistic question, not to mention something that may have weighed heavy on many when planning to continue building their precious family.

The Lost and Tired family ended up having 3 children, all with Autism and various other health/mental health issues. Do I feel selfish for having more kids after Gavin? The simple answer is no, and the logic behind that answer is just as simple. Gavin is not my biological child, so there was no reason to think that there was a greater risk to Lizze and I having children together. Also, Elliott, when compared to Gavin, seemed very typical. We didn’t know he had Aspergers until well after Emmett was born. In fact, Elliott wasn’t actually officially diagnosed until after Emmett was diagnosed.

It wasn’t like we knew that this was going to happen but even if we did, I would never change a thing. I can’t imagine life without any of my babies. Do we struggle? Of course we do, and there are a few reasons for that. Do we get some public assistance? Yes we do and for that, we are very grateful. For the record, I work very hard to be as self-sufficient as possible, it’s just there’s only so much I can do. However, our challenges can’t all be blamed on having three special needs kids.

For starters, I never needed any help until I got injured on the job. I was a fire/medic and destroyed my back, saving someone’s life. Even after that, I worked for years as a paramedic, until the pain was to great and my wife’s health began to fail. At the same time, my kids needed so much more than just one of us could provide alone. Everything sorta went down hill from there.

Let me make this very clear, I don’t feel I need to justify the existence of any of my children, to anyone, ever.

Having said that, I want people to understand that there is aways more to the story than meets the eye. While it’s true that the demands and challenges of raising three special needs boys impacts literally, every aspect of my life, they are not and will not ever be considered a burden. If I was given the chance to undo choices my wife and I have made in regards to having our two youngest, I would politely say no thank you. I mean, I might change how I personally handled something, but I have never regretted having any of my children and never will.

As far as I’m concerned, no one should ever feel the need to justify their family, to anyone, anywhere and for any reason.

Thoughts or opinions

 

So now that you have heard my thoughts and opinions on this topic, I would love to hear yours. Please feel free to discuss this below in the comments. I really would like to know what you think about this and if anyone has ever asked you the same or similar question. Please be respectful to each as we are all entitled to our own personal opinions.

 

 

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    • JennyntheBets on February 26, 2014 at 10:43 am
    • Reply

    @lostandtired Thank you for the support!  It is really appreciated.

  1. JennyntheBets  I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think that anyone will be able to tell you what the right thing to do is.  I can almost feel your fear and that’s understandable. 
    My wife and I have 3 with special needs.  Our last was sort of a surprise.  
    Every single day is a challenge but if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing.  While things are difficult for us, each one of our kids have brought something unique and priceless to our lives and I can’t imagine living without it.  
    That said, the future scared the crap out of me.  Two of our boys will likely be fine on their own but our oldest is not.  I worry all the time about what would happen to him if we aren’t here. 
    I would say that your fears are normal for for someone in your situation.  Personally, I try never to make a decision based out of fear.  
    Hang in there.  Please know that the community here is always here if you need us.  🙂

    • JennyntheBets on February 25, 2014 at 11:34 am
    • Reply

    I just learned I am pregnant.  I have a 7 yo ahead of the curve, and a 5 yo that is developmentally delayed, on 3 yo level, but high functioning and with amazing progress (and we worked hard!).  I feel so stretched thin with my time and budget right now.  It is an every day effort beyond the norm to keep my younger son in all the therapies and extra help, with hopes to close this gap someday.  I fear all the surgeries, weekly doctor visits, therapy sessions, feeding issues and more.
    I was on the pill, have an autoimmune disease and am in mid 30s now, work full time as does my husband.  I don’t know the right thing to do.  One minute I feel one way, the next another way.  My head tells me that there are too many risks and my heart tells me this might be a blessing and I just can’t see how it unfolds.  I love my children so much.  I am really scared of something happening to me and not being there for my two boys.  I know I shouldn’t make decisions out of fear, but I don’t know who to talk to besides my husband this early on, and he has the same feelings as me.

    • JennyntheBets on February 25, 2014 at 11:28 am
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    @diana  I shed some tears here. I think it is wonderful that your son will have that kind of support with your daughter.  I am sure it gives you comfort and blessings.

    • DEBTHELL on March 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm
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    I think it’s easier when you say.. well.. I didn’t know what I had in store by the tenth kid. Now when thinking should I have more kids when your child is already very high needs and you know they will require a lot of money and time and the odds may be higher to have another like them and to think about all the chores the one makes and that one may never talk or be able to care for themselves or feed themselves… it makes the decision bigger. I wished I had popped 5 out before learning about what autism is. Unfortunately my first is extremely low functioning. So here’s another question. Is it fair then to have more in hopes they are NT so that someone will care for this child even though the NT child did not ask to be a mother of their sibling after you die

    • JenniferWhynott on November 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm
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    This question would make me angry as well. It is like when women are pregnant and people just walk up and rub their belly. By The time I had my 4th child, my second one had not yet been diagnosed with Aspergers. At this point all 4 of my children may have their own individual issues. I also knew that my husband had ADHD growing up but he may have been misdiagnosed and have Aspergers. Point being, I have my children and God does not make mistakes. I learn so much from my children on a daily basis. I truly believe that one of the reasons God makes these precious children is to teach us more about His love and how we are supposed to care for and serve others. I learn patience and have my eyes opened daily about how other people may be dealing with the stuff of life. It has also helped me find a job that I love and am passionate about. I am now a respite/hab worker caring for a high functioning autistic child. When I am gone my children will have their siblings as a support network. I am grateful that my children will not have to rely on their siblings to care for them, but in the case where that may be necessary I would hope that a fund of some sort could be set up to help with finances and help to provide care. We have no control over what happens with life. Look at the families who live with cancer or other terminal illnesses, they roll with it and do the best they can to get through it. In the end we are doing the same thing. When you have siblings that have disabilities and typical kiddos they learn to stick up for their family. They learn about diversity and a wide array of other things. I think as a parent of multiple children you have to work hard at making each child feel special and appreciated. We try to make therapy visits one on one special time using the car ride to talk and getting a special treat like a soda or candy bar. I take one of my kiddos grocery shopping with me and then dad does happy meals and errands one on one with the kiddos. My life can be difficult on the good days and down right despicable on the bad days but I would not change my life for anything. They have given me so much to live for, a reason and a purpose. My husband and I often joke that when we are out and about with only one that parenting is too easy and what would we do with ourselves if life was so boring.

    • katscafe on July 29, 2012 at 4:25 pm
    • Reply

    I think I'll piggy-back and post about about this with a link to your post Rob – such great discussion here. Not many folks understand our story — we also have three special guys, they all share the same rare disorder, all are on the autism spectrum, and two still have active epilepsy (one has outgrown his seizures-for now) and there are tons of other diagnoses I don't want to include for space limitations *grin* …

    When we had our oldest, we knew that we would have a 50% chance of the same genetic disorder occuring in another child, but we found that out WHEN I was ALREADY pregnant with our second child. Not as much was known about our family's rare disorder. At that point we had no reason to think our sons would be as affected as they now are.

    When we got pregnant four years later, it was a surprise and a failure of our measures to NOT get pregnant, and the pregnancy was rocky from the start. Despite that, we knew going in that our chances of having another special needs child were high – but there was no way I would consider an abortion (though MANY urged me to do so) – I feel all my children are special gifts from above, and that there is a plan at work here.

    While I was pregnant with Logan, Andywas diagnosed with both the same rare disorder and as having mild autism (we had originally been told didn't have the same rare disorder as his brother – and now he actually did because they changed the diagnostic criteria).

    What I've learned is that you face life with the dignity and grace of the worst and best time mixed together – and sometimes, you don't get to choose being a special needs parent. Life is about the ups and downs.
    My recent post He gains! From Failure-to-Thrive to Healthy Living Victory

    1. Kat,

      Let me know if I can help.. 🙂

    • Anonymous on June 17, 2012 at 3:39 pm
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    Being the mother of several children with special needs, you can excuse me for not reading all of the responses. In 2002, all 3 of my boys were diagnosed with the following: 10 y/o with ADHD & Bipolar with schizophrenic tendencies, 4 y/o with PDD-NOS (now Asperger's & Academically Gifted), and 2 y/o with mod-severe Autism. We threw the dice one last time in 2005 in hopes of having the girl and thankfully, we got her. 10 years later all of those diagnoses still hold true but my daughter has been the 'light' this family needed. She has taught her brothers social skills (some inappropriate). She engages them in ways that only peers can do and parents cannot. I know this may sound terrible but we feel family should care for family. Our daughter will surely take on the role as caretaker for the severely autistic brother while the others will be able to live independently. That may sound like a burden to others but it is a blessing to us. So, to answer the inevitable question, how could we risk having another special needs child? We took a leap of faith………

    • Dotdash on June 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm
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    I think that a part of this question may be quite apart from the issue of special needs kids. It may be something like, "Is it selfish to have kids that you can't support by yourself?" which is really a much broader question that goes to anyone whose kids will need financial or other support outside the norm. You could ask it of any financially-challenged family in the country, but burgeoning special ed requirements are putting enormous strains on school budgets and SSI spending is attracting a lot of political heat, so it is an issue that is associated with special needs kids, fair or not. It's a question about how society supports its members, what educational expenses are fair to ask others to bear, and how education and healthcare dollars are divvied up. And I guess it extends to issues like who will take care of severely disabled children if/when their parents die before them.

    • Linda on June 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm
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    My first daughter was born with Down Syndrome when I was just 21 yrs old. I didn't plan on having anymore children because she took up so much of my time & with all the health issues she had I thought I wouldn't be able to handle having another Down Syndrome child. Well 3 yrs later guess what! Yep! I was pregnant. I had genetic testing done & found out the baby was non-disabled. Something happened I didn't expect…I felt worse! How dare I bring a non-disabled child into the world. How unfair to my first daughter. Will she think I'm trying to replace her??? Oh the guilt I felt!!! I eventually came to realize that my first daughter now has a sister! To play with, to have fun with, to fight with and most importantly, to LOVE!! A sister!!
    I decided not to have anymore children after that but only cause I couldn't do it financially.
    Now my children are 24yrs & 20yrs old. My non-disabled 20yr old says it was selfish of me NOT to have anymore children. She says disabled or not, she would have loved to have a younger brother or sister! LOL
    I guess what it comes down to is how you look at it. Everyone has an opinion. I think that unless you have a disabled person in your family or in the family of a close friend you might never know how it feels!!

    • diana on June 15, 2012 at 10:41 am
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    We weren't planning on having another child after our son was diagnosed ASD. My husband freaked when we found out I was pregnant again. To make matters worse, the fetus failed every prenatal test. We got a lot of unwanted comments about our sanity in having another child given the severity of our son's disability and too many questions about "what if this one is special needs, too?". But….. sometimes life gives you a gift. Our daughter, born 3 1/2 years after our son appears perfectly normal. Our son is @ 3-5 years socially/developmentally delayed. His sister is his best friend and playmate. She understands that when we are gone, she will be tasked with caring for her brother. Some greater plan than our's is in play.

  2. Great Discussion! My eldest son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder during the early stages of my second pregnancy. I shall never regret the decision to have another child even though I knew there was something different about my first. My second child has provided us with so much. He is a wonderful companion for his brother, he understands his needs and now often is more able to help at meltdown times, he has learnt from his brother about the world of autism and patience and recognises the condition in other children instantly. My eldest enjoys knowing a bit more about life and gives his younger brother advice which gives him extra confidence and empathy. They also get up to mischief together and when they have arguments or fights I am more likely to leave them to sort it out for themselves than if it is an argument with other peoples c.hildren – this is a great social skill. On a more personal note because my youngest is 'normal' and bright I was able to recognise that it was not my parenting at fault which increased my confidence and helped me enormously. With regards to having any more children after our second we both decided that as our first required extra attention it would be unfair on our second child to have any more children as there would not be enough attention to go round. Both our boys would quite like another sibling but the reality for them would be very different. I have had more time to help my eldest and his progress has been outstanding – mainstream school, sitting for his age level SATS, many friends, well liked and best of all his autism is invisible to most who meet him now. For more about how I helped him please see my blog – http://blog.brainchild.org.uk/autistic-spectrum-d
    My recent post Drop in anxiety levels – Aspergers

  3. Some might say it's selfish to not want a special needs child. That being said, there is no way I'd ever have another:D My hands and heart are full enough:)
    My recent post Do you know what drowning really looks like?

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    • Kathy on June 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm
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    Everyone is welcome at God's Table. You are obviously a caring, responsible parent, doing the very best job you can with a difficult situation. I took a lot of criticism when, after having 5 typical children, I adopted 5 with special needs. Yes, it was hard, and the hours were (are) endless, but the rewards are great. Everybody here is here because they are supposed to be here. And, most of us do the best we can, our kids included, with what we are given to work with. No sense debating who should or should not be here. If we are here, we are meant to be here.

    1. Amen…. So well spoken. Thank you…

    • Diane Lynch on June 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm
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    This is a very good question. IMO, I do not believe it is a selfish act on the parents. Sometimes after the struggles we go through on a daily basis raising our disabled children, that we need/want some kind of “normalcy ” in our lives. Is a healthy child guaranteed? Absolutely not! BUT, there is a chance of us having a healthy child. And we would be missing out on that! I am a mother of 3 boys. My middle son, Vincent has Autism. If I felt that I shouldn’t have anymore children b/c of it, I wouldn’t have my son, Christian ; who brings so much “normalcy ” to my life. For example, having friends, going to parties, playing on a soccer league, etc…..this is just my opinion and I apologize if I have offended anyone, especially with the word normalcy. -Diane Lynch NYC

    • Angie on June 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm
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    It is crazy that I read this post today. My husband and I have been discussing this matter recently. I LOVE being a mother. We have two children. Our eldest is six and has Aspergers. He is from my previous marriage, but my husband and I have been together since he was less than a year old,. Our daughter is two and has no diagnosis, and no signs or symptoms as of yet. Our son takes a great deal of our attention and we have wondered if he would get the attention he needs with another child in the picture. We also wonder if our daughter or any other children would get the attention they need (with the amount of attention and energy that is necessary for our son) if there were more in our family. I think the answer to this question depends on your own personal situation. I also think that answer is the same as it would be for a family without special needs children. The answer lies in what you are willing to sacrifice? Any child you have will have their own and different needs. How far are you willing to go to provide for those needs? Are you, as a family, able to provide what each child requires no matter what that is?

    • Karen on March 17, 2012 at 11:10 am
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    We had 3 children before we realised that our eldest son had some "issues", we thought he was a bit quirky at first but things go tsteadily worse from school age and he finally got a diagnosis of asd when he was 11. By that time we had 2 more children and had never really given it much thought. We wanted children and each one has been a special gift to us. Our youngest has severe sensory problems and is quite likely to get a diagnosis of asd but one of my others who is NT has lots of food allergies so sometimes that is much harder than the asd. They are all supportive of each other, and the NT ones are so understanding of other people with disabilities that I personally feel I have made a good decision to have 5. That said, 5 is my personal limit. Another would have been a problem for me physically so we stopped.

    It's such a personal question that I don't think there is a "right" answer – it has to be an individual decision.

    • Clementine on March 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm
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    for me personally, the risk of me having a second child with Autism are much greater, I see parts of all the things my son does in members of my own family, that I can't see how on earth I would have the time to do everything I already do for my one child and then add it back in again for a second child…I just honestly do not feel like I would have the time to devote to two children with special needs. Everyone is different though. My sons father never helped me with our son at all. It's pretty much just always been me doing everything. I just don't think I can do twice as much as I already do added into everything else I have going on. I don't think it would be fair of ME to overload myself that much and not be able to do everything. That all stems from my personal life and all the things I've had to deal with in the last few years. I have enough of my own medical problems going on as well, and I can't take the meds I need right now if I were pregnant.

    If other parents want to try for more kids, good for them! That means, I hope at least, that they feel they have the time and energy to spend on a second child with special needs. That's something I think parents should talk about and decided before trying for a second child. I think they need to be very very honest with themselves. They need to look at things from the most difficult aspect and decided if they feel that they could handle that on top of what they are currently dealing with. That's not a decision that I think should only be applied to special needs parents, it's a decision that I think should apply to anyone thinking about having a child. They need to make sure that they are as ready in whatever way they feel they should be as possible.

    I always plan for the most difficult, not the worst because a child is not the worst thing that could happen, but they may have problems or conditions that make taking care of them exponentially more difficult then anyone could ever imagine. I hope for the best possible outcomes as well. Then again I've taken Autism head on and ran with it. I did everything I could to help my son, and at now almost 4 he's been reading for over a year already. That's what all of my hard work and planning to find him the best possible therapy fits for him I could has done. You do the best you can with what you know and the resources available to you. You just have to hope that it's enough and your child becomes exactly who they are meant to become.

  4. I have 3 too, is hard work but wouldn't change it for the world – well, ok, maybe I think about it on days they all melt down at the same time, but hey, we're all only human.
    My recent post Goodbye Vodafone (your customer service was poor)

    • mari on March 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm
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    I am new at this but I am in process of setting up a blog. To answer the question: I do not think it is selfish. I think it all depends on the situation, emotionally or financially and when you feel time is right for a new baby in the picture. Mari

  5. I view it like, it's selfish NOT to. Why should I take away the joy of a sibling to my current child just because it's hard on my life? Why should I deny him someone who will ALWAYS have his back for life? Someone who will play with him and not judge him no matter what? And most importantly, will make sure he's not alone in the world when I"m not around?

    It would be selfish of me NOT to give my son another sibling in my opinion.
    My recent post Time to breathe?

    • Amy on March 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm
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    I don't believe it's selfish either. I think that some people are very much able to balance the schedule of a special needs child along with other children. My son has a variety of developmental delays and possibly autism. For me, it means we'll wait a couple years, until he's in school full time, but I do want another child. We've considered adopting a child with mild special needs because of our experience.

  6. First off, I am not offended by this topic anymore, but I thought I would like to share what my response has been when I have been asked this…
    I have a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 month old currently. I was pregnant with my second when we were just learning about our son and his ASD. In fact, 2 weeks after I gave birth, our oldest was officially diagnosed. I can certainly understand the question, as it cues into human curiosity, but no matter how you slice it, it comes off as offensive. Would the same people asking the question ask a parent with glasses if they were worried that they might have a child that needed glasses and if that swayed their choice in having kids in the first place? How about parents that have a high risk of heart disease? Probably not. :-/. Where is the boundary for when it is OK to ask that question and when it isn't? Maybe some things are better left alone.
    Personally, for me, having a child with special needs actually inspired me to have more children. Originally, my husband and I wanted to stop at 2 kids. We discussed this, even before we married. Did I worry that I might have another child on the spectrum after our oldest was diagnosed? YES. It was a "Little too late" to change our minds about having more kids since I was pregnant before my son showed ANY symptoms or missed any milestones. After that, I made the personal decision to keep my options open on having more children, and let the cards fall where they may. Whatever the future children's outcomes are, it means that my son or any of my children will not be alone. If all of them or most of them are on the spectrum, at least I know about the condition. If I have a Neurotypical child, how awesome is it that they grow up learning tolerance, understanding, patience and a better understanding of the good/bad/ugly of humankind.

    • Allyson L. Genthner-Thiessen on March 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    To say that we should consider whether or not our children might be special needs (rather than whether or not we wanted/could raise more children) is saying that they are not of the same value to us or the world as 'normal' kids. ANYONE can have a special needs kid… anyone. It takes one illness, one odd quirk of nature, one traumatic childhood event and it's all over. I say, rather, if you're NOT ready to raise a special needs kid, don't have one. Period. Because you NEVER KNOW.

    Now, I know a lot of parents who greatly fear their next child will also be special needs… and I went through some of that myself (you can bet I look for signs of autism in my youngest!)….. but that's different than 'if I should have them or not'… it's 'how do I make sure I can handle it when/if I do decide to have more children and they are special needs'… in no small part because when you bring another life into a family you have to consider the impact of that life on the other members and the impact of the other members on THAT life as well as everything else. We chose to have our youngest before my middle's diagnosis and I have to say, we thought long and hard about it… not because he might be special needs, but because we needed to make sure we could handle it as a family… and I am so glad we did, because he's our sunshine 🙂

    So… yeah, it's kind of an insulting question. I have heard time and time again that people are afraid of adopting special needs kids but fine birthing their own… because they don't really realize the crap shoot that having a child is. If you start setting the value of a life on how 'typical' they are or how much 'extra' work they are as children, you've lost sight of the larger picture, though, I'm afraid, that's very typical in our society.

  7. I have been told by therapist and even family members that I should have more kids even though my 5 year old is special needs. We think of it as, when they grow up, they will have eachother weather they both have special needs or not. I don't find it selfish at all, when my son goes into school full time this year we are going to start talking about another child, we just have to time it well and be able to make the right schedule.

    • Lacey on March 13, 2012 at 8:46 am
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    We have Two girls, Courtney is 3 and is autistic Alice is 8 months. We did not know when we started trying to get pregnant that Courtney was autistic. Would I change it? NO WAY.
    When Alice was first born I prob. would have given a different answer. I know that its horrible to say and I feel horrible about it but I am being honest. I had ppd and we did not know what was going on with Courtney. She would freak out and melt down every time Alice started crying and was acting very strange. She had quirks before her sisters birth but it really came out after. I just did not know what was going on. Now we know. We have strategies and ways to help Courtney calm down. I cant imagine my life with out Alice. Courtney does not interact with her at all be we are hopeful that she will in the future. She does look at her and smile when she hears Alice laugh out loud. I think that she likes the sound. It makes my heart smile.
    I think that if you can provide for them mentally and financially than of course you should have more kids. Every life is worth living.

    • Bonnie Stewart on March 13, 2012 at 7:34 am
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    I think there plenty of teens who just want a baby because it is the cool, "in" thing to do. They seem to qualify for all kinds of assistance and they don't see that as irresponsible. Society and the government are getting more accepting of this mind-set at least from what I see in the media. I do not see that having siblings for special needs kids as being any more irresponsible that!

    It was difficult for me to decide to have more kids, after I knew I had one with autism. I also had one NT daughter who is extremely gifted. The one with autism really wanted a brother. One fact you really can't deny is that many autistic kids are incredibly lonely. Where are their friends? People might say that they need the stimulation of "normal" kids outside the family.

    From my experience that is not much fun for either the normal kids or the autistic one who is being coerced into playing with them. I think as the research continues, autistic kids are actually good for each other.

    I have 3 boys all on the spectrum-one very severe. They love each other and get along like clockwork most of the time. The two youngest ones are especially low-stress for me because I don't have to explain autism to either of them. They know what it is and enjoy each other for who they are. In their minds a brother is to swim with, swing with, play on the other side of the see-saw, and share your room at night. They think their oldest brother is the coolest person in the world.

    Would they get that outside the family if I had not had 4 kids? No. Do they need it? Yes. More than anything.

    • Morten Fordsmand on March 13, 2012 at 6:58 am
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    Well the think you need to consider is can you care for the next child in a responsible way?

    I don't think it would be responsible to raise 3 children in the spectrum, nor do i think i would be able to give an NT the attention and room the (s)he would deserve in a house occupied by two elder AS brothers.

    Anyway i am to old now 🙂

    • Holly Martin via Fac on March 13, 2012 at 4:33 am
    • Reply

    My second is a god send to us….My biggest fear is…'When we're no longer here'…. I know she'll always look out for him and be there for him, I know we're lucky to have a N/T or 'typically developing' child as our second and some people don't but you know what!? even if she had have been on the spectrum too I still think it would have been the right thing to do to have a second child, Even if she couldn't have taken care of him they would have still had each other for love and support! Besides she is great for him and has brought him on loads and in a way he's been good for her too! Very proud of both of them, They have their moments but all in all they're great together! <3

    • shawna on March 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm
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    My oldest almost 12 autistic and 10 year old non have same father. 2 years ago i got pregnant and I freaked out. It wasn't about being selfish to his needs or worried about my daughters risk. It was OMG I can't handle another child. I went to the pediatrician for my autistic son n said i can't be changing diapers on a baby and having my son have accidents too. I had an awesome job cleaning the timkin company and got laid off n my world came tumbling down. As i viewed an abortion clinic n Akron i couldn't do it. I felt it was my responsibility to handle what God gave me n personally the pregnancy was a miracle i had so many tumors i didn't see it coming. As i watch my daughter i wonder is she on the spectrum or his she playing follow the leader.her brother.i can't have anymore children i was lucky she survived and the next pregnancy could have went horrible . I can't work and live on child support makes me feel shitty. I didn't apply for disability for my son until 2 years ago. And still haven't got it. I was in denial. N those years of denial made my son suffer.i want to work so bad out of pride but i realize money isn't important and to not be ashamed of the help i get. I wish i would have put my son first instead of working 40 hours n not getting him tested n telling every one nothing was wrong. I guess i thought he was normal BC maybe my parents didn't get me help n im obviously not normal myself. We all get handed a difficult life and i feel as long as you love your kids and go above and beyond to help them have as many you can handle. I actually do have guilt for not get him help sooner not having other children. N if my daughter is on the spectrum i know what to do quickly for her.ill deal with it.all my children give me a reason to breathe even if i hide my head under a pillow and scream i made my choices i will take responsibility and your kids ARE LOVED look how many aren't.:(…..chances, choices, no regrets, never quit, don't stop fighting. Its almost like saying if both parents have cancer why have a child who will get cancer.we don't know what we will get out of life its how you take care of it.n your taking care of yours i think its insulting to Lizzie for anyone to think she shouldn't have more kids .Im kinda mad about the comment .this is neurological disorders not fetal alcohol syndrome people need to look in the mirror before judging. You are loving parents you deserve metals not judged. Autism is not always a curse its a blessing in disguise. Embrass our differences .autism brings out our differences .non alike.never discriminate the autistic cuz us parents with autistic kids fight good.we fight everyday 🙂 we are stronger than the average! Great job Lizzie n Rob you're inspiring never forget it!

  8. This is great feedback. Thank you 🙂

    • lydia on March 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm
    • Reply

    Our elder daughter is diagnosed with PDD-Nos, half year after we had our son. We chose not to have other children because we feel that we needed to be fair with both of them. Our daughter needs more attention, and I personally I would not be able to cope if I have more children. Our typical son, (which I think is advanced for his age) needs attention too, as not to make him feel unwanted ( the fact that being the youngest, but most of our attention is on the elder sister). I have seen parents with elder children with special needs who go on to have more children. I don't know the inside story, but I somehow envy their courage. I loved children, but I know I just cannot cope with the stress, as my daughter grows older. Just me thinking too much ahead….

    • Meljhibb on March 12, 2012 at 10:43 pm
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    If I were to be given the choice to have or not have my son , who was recently diagnosed with Autism, I would have still chosen him! I was pregnant with Ty, at about 5 months into it, I was told he MIGHT have Down's Syndrome. I made the choice as I am doing now, that I will face whatever challenges are given to us. My husband and I have 4 AMAZING kids and our son is Autistic. So what… we also have a 2 year old who is quite amazing. If she is also on the spectrum, we will go at head on. Nothing will ever change. I think anyone, even innocently asking, "Is it selfish to have another child?", the answer is no. All kids make life more interesting and bearable. The next child that we created could be a good match and friend to the on that is in the special needs realm. All children are a BLESSING…

    • Megan Kitchen on March 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm
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    I didn't think the chances of having a second child with autism after a first were that much higher. The best number I could come up with a couple of years ago was 6-10% which isnt a HUGE chance really.

    Question for you Rob- What do you do as a profession now?

    • whynotfathers on March 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm
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    Is it fair for our other children for us to have adopted our youngest with the knowledge that he had special needs?

    • Beth on March 12, 2012 at 8:35 pm
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    I don't think this question is out of bounds or off limits for special needs parents or for any parent for that matter. It is a good question and very personal one that can only be answered by the parents themselves. Having children is selfish and generous at the same time. It is It is selfish in the fact that we think that the world will be better off my having anoter person that combines the best of us. It is generous for the very same reason. Ultimately, I think having a child is an expression of hope and faith. Hope that my child will make the world a better place and faith that world will be kind to my child after I am gone….Is having a child in this world or dwindling resources selfish? Probably. Is having a child in this world of dwindling resources generous and hopeful? Absolutely!

  9. From start to finish, this was beautifully said.

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