I have a child with autism, if I have another baby…

will my baby have autism?

  • If you have more than one child, do you have more than one child with autism?
  • What’s the likelihood that I will have a second child with autism, if my first child has autism?
  • How likely is it to have a second child with autism?
  • Is it selfish to not have more children because I have a child with autism?
  • Can autism run in a family?

So, many similar questions and posts by parents about family.  About how difficult raising a child with autism has been for them.  Their personal decisions about having more children and the outcomes of those decisions.  Families of just one child, families of three and four with multiple children on the spectrum.  People that post that they have an autism gene.  So many options, so many decisions but in the end it’s each couples choice.

So, we are expecting number three! 

We’ve always talked about having more kids but once our son started having more and more problems at school, he needed more and more support.  My daughter came before we even knew something was really wrong and we started down our journey to autism.  Then life event after life event continued to delay our family plans.

When I went to the primary care doctor and we went over the questions regarding more children, we had an interesting conversation.  She was asking, “are you going to have more children” question.  I said that we had been discussing it and the decision wasn’t made.  She was explaining to me that because I was now 35 that I should either do it quickly or not at all.  Her concerns were that as your age increases so does the likelihood of more birth defects, special needs and other complications.  As our conversation continued, I asked questions and tried to make her clarify her concern.  She was basically saying that I wouldn’t want a child with any type of problem if I could help it.  When I told her that I already have a child with autism and I had the understanding that autism or something else could happen.   She didn’t really like that answer and responded with what if it’s not autism?  I responded with well, if I can figure out how to raise and educate a child with autism than surely I can find resources for whatever problems a future baby may bring.

Then the conversation changed!  She told me that she didn’t have her first child until 40, then she had another.  Both her kids, no abnormalities!   So, the medical world pressures women to freeze their eggs, have babies early, and do lots of additional testing when of advanced maternal  age; but they are just as likely to delay motherhood as anyone else.

 

Discussion points and questions to consider when googling questions about having more children when you already have a  child with autism:

  1. Before having your child with autism did you have a plan to have a big or bigger family?
  2. What are your biggest concerns with having another baby? why?
  3. How well are you managing life with a child with special needs?
  4. Do you have resources, finances and insurance to provide for your child with autism?
  5. How does your extended family feel about having more children?  Do they help now? Will they help with another child?
  6. Does your doctor have any information or suggestions based on your health that you should consider?
  7. Has your relationship status changed?  Did you divorce and remarry?  Is having a child with your new partner important to your relationship?
  8. Do you have any “baby fever” when around other babies or just in general?

 

There is no guarantee in life, especially with children and family.  If you want to have another baby after having a child with special needs-great!  If you decide that’s too much or just don’t want to have another baby after having a child with autism-great!  However, I do hope that just because you have a child with autism that you don’t just cross it off the list without any consideration.  Even if the time isn’t right now, give yourself and your family time to make a decision.

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