Monday, February 25, 2008

Another?

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.

1 comment:

cristin said...

I agree with courageous but foolish- I wouldn't go that far! You are too smart and thoughtful for it to be foolish.