I had my beautiful little boy in January of 2014 and I had so much support from this group during that time. A year ago this month we discovered he has autism. As time progressed, it has also been found that he is a celiac, as is his cousin. And on top of the autoimmune train, my other niece has recently been diagnosed with childhood nephrotic syndrome.
So here is the loaded question. Do we have one more child? It looks to me that there is an issue with autoimmune disease that runs in our family that has only become present starting in my generation. (no history of diabetes, celiac disease etc before now) and a large portion of my sons initial symptoms of autism have reversed once we put him on a gluten free diet (celiac disease can present with symptoms of autism in young children).
The odds of a type 1 having an autistic child is up to 6x greater than the general population (6 in 68), if your first child is autistic, there is a 1 in 5 risk that the second one will be autistic as well. Another thing is increased intake of folic acid in pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects may also been tied to increased risk of autism which as a diabetic, we are instructed to take plenty of.
I feel like a horrible person, when we had our first it was a beautiful experience, but we never planned it to be our last. Now i have such desire to try for a second, but such fear of doing so. If the second child was ill in any way, autism, birth defects, autoimmune disease, i am going to blame myself as I walked into this knowing that there was such a risk. But should I let these risks and fears stop me from doing this?
Have any of you had your children present with either autism or an autoimmune disease? Is having a high risk pregnancy with an additionally increased risk of potential complications worth it?
I’m grieving for the child that may never be. I look at my family and see it is beautiful and am so grateful, but feel the emptiness that is the child I’m afraid to have.
You should do what you and your family decide. I personally think you’re overestimating the possibility of your next child having a genetic predisposition toward some type of disease.
The real question I have for you is: what is family? My brother-in-law was raised by a man who wasn’t his biological father (along with his mother) and yet I have no doubt whatsoever that he is the man he is today for my sister because of his step-father. Believe me, he’s never called this man anything but Dad! So, I don’t think family is necessarily a genetic thing. Keep your mind and heart open to what that means. Talk about it with your partner.
. . . to which I would only add, love and the emotional nourishment inherent in it have little or nothing to do with physical circumstance. A friend of mine has a child who attends a Montessori school. Its student body also includes a very high functioning Down Syndrome child. She has two of the most nurturing parents on the planet and is by far the most popular and well liked person in the school. (My friend says you can always tell which parent got her ready for school on a given day by how her hair is braided ).
As a type 1 with an autistic child, involved in ongoing research regarding both situations, I had never heard that t1 increases prevalence of autism whatsoever. I’d be curious to know your sources on that.
We’ve considered having a third child. It is a guilt loaded discussion in my mind that is difficult to even discuss though in a positive light because I don’t imagine we’d be talking about it if my son weren’t the way he is. So in a sense, it feels like we’re giving up on our second child and talking about a do-over. That’s not how that discussion is supposed to feel.
On the brighter note, my concerns of passing on t1 to my offspring has been at least somewhat relieved by having my children in the trialnet study which so far has shown they have none of the autoimmune markers assosiated with diabetes… If that’s just for now, or forever, is the purpose of the study to address, but I find some consolation in it for now.
What would we’ve done if we had known. My oldest son has an inherited eye that is slowly robbing him of his vision. We did not learn until after my 2nd son was born. We have learned that there was a 50/50 chance that either of my two son would inherit it. My youngest son drew the lucky card.
This leads me to believe that, had we known, my wife and I would be childless. Who in their right mind would make a decision to have two children when the chances are high that both might someday go blind. I’m glad we did not know, just think, that knowledge would have robbed us of the chance to raise two outstanding young me to manhood. .
Fate made the decision for us, I believe it was for the best.
Blindness is not the end of an enjoyable, productive, independent life. I wish so much that everyone in the world understood that message…
As someone who is congenitally blind, I would never blame my parents for the circumstances that led to my eye condition. And I would feel horrible if they had decided not to have two other children based on the fact that their first child was blind, and my brothers had not been born because of me.
Everyone I know with a disability is grateful to be alive and would choose life with a disability over no chance at life. If someone wants to have children, I would never change that decision based on the chance that the child may have a disability or health condition, unless of course the family is unable to support the child for some reason (but that’s something that should be considered before having another child regardless).
Thank You @Jen. I believe you made my point much better than I. I made the above statement based on our thinking when we were young, The point I was trying to convey in my post was that fate stopped us from making a huge mistake. Faced with the same circumstance today I would chose the outcome we have today.
I know that you didn’t mean it in the present—but it’s something that society in general seems to believe, and my mission in life is to help change the perception that blindness is the end to all happiness.
That is interesting. I’m pretty sure though that in this day and age of the internet people can find research to support whatever their worst fears are-- your concerns are very real and I can certainly relate to them— I’d recommend you meet with a genetics doctor to evaluate in more meaningful context your risks than Dr. Google is able to do-- we’ve considered doing that ourselves but haven’t done it yet
An interesting new study that might have some bearing on this issue:
In a startling discovery that raises fundamental questions about human behavior, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the immune system directly affects - and even controls - creatures’ social behavior, such as their desire to interact with others. So could immune system problems contribute to an inability to have normal social interactions? The answer appears to be yes, and that finding could have great implications for neurological conditions such as autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.
You are certainly an admirable mother and it seems like you appreciate the immense
blessing that children are. Even amid these significant sacrifices, there is a lot of joy
and fulfillment to be found in our children, no matter what the cost to us.
I am the father of a 3-year-old girl with type 1 but I can’t imagine the challenges
you are dealing with which are so much greater than mine.
With that being said, however, think of the innocent souls you will never get to
meet, nurture and cherish if you never have another child again.
Chances are you will not encounter any significant health obstacles with
any future children.
But even if you do, God will give you the strength to bear it if you ask Him.
What a great joy to bring more young ones in to your family, especially
as a younger sibling and playmate to your amazing boy.