Monday, February 25, 2008


I haven’t written a post in a while – mostly because T is doing really well and we’re in a good space. Life is in a good routine, and he’s a happy little guy. I think back over the year we’ve had, where we were a year ago with teachers quitting, therapists changing, diets & diarrhea, and I am filled with relief and thanks that it is behind us.

So I’ve had time to think and think and think. The question is: do I want to have another child?

This is such a personal subject, but it is something I’ll share at least part of here. It is a question so many parents in our situation face and struggle with, and I am really struggling. I haven’t come to a final decision – and ultimately of course the decision will be made with Rob. But a big part of our decision rests on whether or not I want to have another. Not “can I?” or “should I?”, but “do I want to?”

Can I? Yes, I think it is still physically possible. Should I? I really hate shoulds. You should have just seen me as I wrote the words “Should I”…I literally rolled my eyes.

Truth be told, I’m really not sure that I want to. And that makes me sad to write that, but it feels good to be honest. I always thought that I’d have at a minimum 2, probably 3 and possibly 4 children, and Rob was on board with this. Now here we are with one, and there are a hell of a lot of reasons to stay where we are.

I hate making decisions based on fear, and I admit that part of my thinking is based on it.

But am I then saying that I only want another if it is a perfect, typical child? You don’t have children so that you can have perfect little kids. You have children because you want to be a parent, to share love with another little person and watch them grow, to rejoice in their accomplishments and help them grow to all they can be, to share this with your partner because you have something to give – and none of that says anything about being guaranteed a typically developing child. There are no guarantees, period.

And there is so damn much at stake. T’s future, my sanity, Rob’s sanity, our financial future – if we have another special needs child. And I’m not getting any younger. Not too old yet, but pushing 40. The longer I wait, the more chances of complications.

Knowing what I do about autism, I've seen just how bad it can be. We are blessed with an angel child, and I know we've got it easy compared with other families faced with this diagnosis. The more research we do, the more is published by researchers, the more it looks like genetics play a huge role in the causation of autism. This could happen again, and it could be much, much worse.

Then again, there are plenty of autistic kiddos with typical siblings. I've seen them, too...dragged along to endless therapy sessions & bored to tears, needs pushed aside because the autistic sibling has more pressing needs, acting out for attention or simply disappearing and not asking for anything. They know that their brother or sister will someday be their responsibility.

Somehow, some of these children end up being the most wonderful, sympathetic young people I've ever met.

I just feel like I’m talking and thinking in circles. Part of me – forgive me – wishes that the decision could be made for us. A doctor tells us that more children aren’t possible. I couldn’t sustain the pregnancy, for example.

One recent thinking in circles session ended with a realization: there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Whatever Rob & I decide will be right for us. Either decision would be courageous, and either decision would be foolish.


Back in November, I turned down a job that was close to perfect as far as hours, location & mission go...but it wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. Today, I officially said YES to another job, and I'm very pleased and excited - and eager to see where this journey takes me.

This is part of the mission statement of my new employer: We are the place for families and professionals to go to “ASK” questions about children with special needs and to access information and resources about a variety of topics such as health insurance, special education, community resources and medical homes.

I think the thing that is most amazing to me about this new job is how it came to be. I hatched this idea a few months ago, talked to some people, they referred me to others, and here I am: tomorrow I start three days of training and I am part of the work force again!

I prayed and prayed about this. Once I had my first interview and things went really well, I did my life long practice of thinking "Oh geez, life is pretty nice right I really want this change?" All my free time while T is in school will be gone, no more leisurely morning & afternoon hours to charge myself up for the busy after school & evenings. But I really had an intense prayer time a few days ago (rare for me), saying to God that whatever is in store with this job, I'm in. If I got the job, then I'm along for the ride - helping families get the help they need, helping our family in turn by learning all that I will in training and on the job, and starting a new journey and possibly a new career path. But if I didn't get the job, then it wasn't meant to be and something else was out there. And for once, I truly released this situation to God and felt comfortable and at peace with whatever happened. So when the phone call came, I was excited, took the job, and said "Okay, God, here we go."

Adding to the employment news, I've gotten two singing gigs here locally! Wow! It feels so damn good to sing again. I really have had to put most of my work & career life completely aside these past years, especially since T's diagnosis. I didn't even have the slightest desire to sing. It's not like I made a conscious decision not to sing - I just didn't. But since we've moved here, things are happening for me. I sang at a church back in November, and I loved it. It's looking like I can take this job and also be doing some singing around town too. How great would that be? This feels so exciting and promising, and a little scary, too.

I've enjoyed this time I've had since he has been in school all day, but have also felt an urge to start earning some money again, and more importantly, do something important & useful with my time. I have a lot of knowledge now, and I'm a good communicator, and I also seem to have "Tell me" written all over my face because people talk to me. And its not like I'm working full time - this is the beautiful thing - I'll be working only while Thomas is in school! And the office is less than a 10 minute drive door to door. I could even drive home for lunch, put some laundry in, or stop at the grocery, for crying out loud. AND...I'm helping families of special needs children get the help they need.

And when I get nervous about this new adventure, I remind myself that I do this every time I'm facing a change. I used to be sad before my birthdays as a child because I'd never be 10 again. Do you think I fear change?