Me, personally, I am a mother of one child with Autism. He is now 5 and I am expecting my second child in October. The child I've conceived was very much wanted and we had tried for almost 12 months before actually falling pregnant.
I had "known" that our son had Autism from around the age of 16 months, despite the fact that no doctor had told us and the concerns being very minimal at that stage. I know I knew then, because even though I had always wanted to have another child, I had made the conscious decision (and my partner, too) to not have any more children. Not for a long while anyway.
Remembering that time, now, is hard. I do recall being angry and upset that my "plans" were scuppered and I do remember feeling that decision was final and that there never would be a "right time" to change the plans and just go for it.
Anyway, those feelings did fade and as it turns out, getting an Autism diagnosis for your child and getting everything in place for school is a full-time occupation, so I was a little distracted over the following few years. In hindsight, I know that we made the right decision to hold off, I don't think we could have fought as hard as we had to or pushed as forcefully as we did to ensure that our son's education was set up appropriately for him and that his diagnosis was given and intervention set up as early as possible, if we'd had another child to look after too.
Then in February 2011, he was set up to start school, doing incredibly well at pre-school and that normal biological desire to have a child with the person that you love kicked in once again. For both me and my partner. And we decided to try for another child.
Now, I am absolutely no biologist, psychologist or expert in neurobiology, so I've had to research some of the actual facts and statistics.
Statistically, the chances of having a child with autism range from 1-100 to 1-150, depending on where you live, diagnostics and other factors. For those who already have a child with Autism, the odds of having a second with ASD are 5/100. 5%. That seems like a high, daunting figure and there is definitely a genetic link there that isn't really refutable (in my opinion) which you should consider when deciding whether to go on and have more children; However, it is still highly unlikely that you'll have another child with Autism so you shouldn't be entirely deterred by those figures.
Having seen and spoken to many parent's who have had more than one child with Autism; I know there are mixed responses and sometimes there are regrets, whereas others, there are none. One way to look at it, should you end up with two (or more) on the Spectrum is that you do know you can handle it already, you have been doing it with one and no doubt you've been doing a good job too.On the other hand, if you don't feel you have been coping that brilliantly, it perhaps would be best to seek out some genetic counselling before going ahead and trying for another child - and any other help you can get for dealing with your child and coping with the daily pressures of raising a child with a disability.
Another consideration is the effect that living with an Autistic brother or sister will have on your other child(ren) should you have them and they are neuro-typical. You will find having a good support network of friend's and family, an understanding partner, jobs that are secure, flexible and local will help you to create time and space for you and all of your children individually, so that when things are getting too much at times, you can ensure you give all the kids quality one on one time. It is thought, however, that having siblings and close family members around children with Autism can help them develop skills, tolerance and understanding that they could otherwise struggle with.
For some people, concentrating every parental thought into the one child that you do have already is enough to keep going on. Social pressures to have more children as "you can't just have one, it's not fair" (Yep, we had that all the time.) are not a good reason to go onto have children you are not ready for. It could be a larger age gap than you'd anticipated when starting your family, would be right for you - as it was for us.
READ IT HERE.