When my husband Joseph and I first moved in together, everyone asked when we would get married. When we got married, everyone asked when we would have a kid. Two years later, when I gave birth to our son Norrin, people asked when I was going to have another.
I hadn’t even been given the green light by my Ob/Gyn to get busy again. I was sleep deprived and my breasts were engorged and people were asking if I was ready to “try for a girl.”
The week that Norrin was diagnosed with autism, my best friend had her baby shower. Norrin was two and half years old. Attending a baby shower, everyone wants to talk about babies and more babies. The diagnosis was so new. I was angry, heartbroken, and confused. And I wanted to scream each time someone asked, “My son has autism! And I don’t want any more kids.”
I struggled with whether or not to have another child. I knew Joseph wanted more children. My family kept saying we should have another. And every therapist that walked in and out of our home said a sibling would be the best therapy for Norrin. But autism was like this dark cloud hanging over me. I had fallen down this rabbit-hole and I was trying to figure out our new world.
After three years, I decided I was ready. And immediately I was pregnant. As I began to tell friends and family about my pregnancy, they all asked the same question: Are you scared this baby will have autism too?
For years people had asked when I was going to have another kid. Now that I was pregnant, everyone wanted to play on all of my fears. But during my second pregnancy, I was happy. Hopeful. Excited. And I told them that I wouldn’t worry until there was something to worry about. I wanted a baby.
And then during my 16 week appointment, my Ob/Gyn discovered my baby had died. I had a miscarriage and I didn’t even know.
Three years and eleven days ago and I haven’t gotten pregnant again.
Norrin is seven years old (closer to eight). Joseph and I have been married ten years. And I still get asked when I’ll have another baby or if I want one. “You should have another baby,” they say before I even have chance to answer. Because you know… it’s that easy.
Each time someone asks, it’s a reminder of what I have lost. It leaves me on the defense with this feeling of brokenness. I wonder, why me? When people question me about more children – it’s painful.
Nothing in my life has hurt more than carrying a child for 16 weeks and having people ask me what I did wrong when I lost that baby.
Why do people think it is okay to ask a woman if or when she’s going to have a baby? I know the people who inquire don’t mean any harm. But still. It’s such a personal question and often has many complicated answers.
Why is asking a woman about babies practically socially acceptable, yet asking someone about their salary not?
Because – to me – there is nothing at all intrusive about asking somehow how much money they make. No one dares ask that – not even the closest of friends will go there. (And bloggers won’t dare ask how many page views a post received.) But asking a woman if they want/when they’ll have children is completely invasive, and yet it is always on the table for discussion.
If I could have another baby tomorrow, I would. It hasn’t been that easy. I’ll be 38 next month. My baby-making time clock is ticking. The older I get, the greater the risk. Though it’s not autism I fear.
I wish folks would think about all the things that have to be considered when it comes to having children. I wish more people understood that it’s not a question that can be easily answered with a yes or no. Maybe then, they would think twice before asking.
Read more on Babble!
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- 6 Ways I Wish I Were Like My Son with Autism
- August is Family Fun Month: 31 Ideas to Celebrate
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.