"Do your worry your second child will have Autism?"
This is a question we have heard often since making the decision to have a second child. To put it simply, yes, I do. Having one child already diagnosed with Autism (plus additional family history with my brother), we know that are chances of a second child being on the spectrum is greater. It was one of the many factors that we considered strongly before making that decision. Would we be able to handle having more than one child on the spectrum? Would we be able to give both children the attention needed? Financially, could we handle having multiple special needs children? These were just a few of the questions that we had to ask ourselves...but in the end, we opted not to let the fear of what could happen make the decision for us.
The fact is when you make the decision to have a child, there are absolutely no guarantees. We cannot dictate their hair color, eye color, their personality...or their imperfections. It is all a game of chance. To be entirely honest, when I became pregnant with my son I actually confided in a few friends that I worried he would have Autism (again knowing the family history)...but had we chosen not to have a child because of that fear, I would not have the amazing, brilliant son that I have. That boy is my absolute world, and I could not imagine my life without him. Yes, he has Autism...but he is still absolutely 100% perfect and I would not trade him-just as he is- for anything in this world.
So, do I still worry? Absolutely, I think as a mother that is only natural. But I have no doubts that whatever happens, she will be just as God intended her to be, just as her big brother is. We will love her unconditionally, and do whatever we can to give her the best life possible- just as we would otherwise. Already having one child on the spectrum, we also know what to look out for- the early red flags that we overlooked with Shaun, as well as how to handle the diagnosis, the services needed, etc. The greatest thing for any child on the spectrum is early intervention, and having the knowledge ahead of time can only improve her chances of success, should she carry the same diagnosis.
Ultimately the only thing we can do is pray about it, and trust in God to help us through whatever happens. For now, I try not to dwell on that fear and know that whatever happens, we can and will handle it...one day at a time.