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!
- 7 Back-to-School Essentials for Kids with Autism
- 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.