Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hardest choice I have ever made.

It's not simple, at least not for me. I grew up as the child from a step-family, I was the eldest of 4. 2 of my ex-siblings were from my mothers marriage and they were step-siblings (not blood at all) and my younger brother Eric, who we share a mother together. I was the child that was never interested in other kids, I didn't like to babysit at all, just not into the, "kids" thing. I remember my mother saying to me when I became pregnant with Owen, she never thought she would have seen grandchildren from me, and I thought the same thing. In highschool, I didn't take parenting, I was so scared of needles that I didn't want to have one to even have children at all, and now look where I am. I am turning 28 in 2 months, married to the love of my life, and have 3 beautiful children under 5 years of age, and we were going to have one more. Not anymore.

It was a decision that has been weighing on Ryan and I since we discovered that we were right, and Owen had Autism. I remember watching Maddie like a hawk, and when Maddie was 7 months old, we became pregnant with Benjamin. When we began really seeing Owen displaying a lot of ASD behaviours, we found out we were having another son, which I wanted soooo very badly to have 2 sons and a daughter, the perfect family in my eyes... but also, what I was so excited about having was scary as well, watching Owen fade and fade into his own world.

Its amazing how I look back and went from wanting no children in my life, to having 3 beautiful children. So beautiful, that we wanted and were planning to have 4, and be a family of 6. I remember telling Ryan, that if Benjamin had ASD, I would be done having children. Not so easy was saying that, as Ryan since day 1 always wanted 4 children, and I have felt like I was letting our family and our dreams down.

Then, as much as it hurts me so bad to make that hard decision, I also could not let myself go through what I have gone through watching my babies grow and develop and hoping they stay on track. Watching and looking for signs, anything to put my mind at ease or to put me in a frenzy and have a Doctors appointment booked in no time. I have no control over what happens to Owen and Ben's lives, they could of course go on, get married and have beautiful babies, and a great job - or, they may require my assistance .. we have no idea what the future holds. I also could not add 5 more appointments to our lives per week, and I am not sure Maddie could take another brother in the house.

I can't say my decision is going to be the right one, I can't say people will agree with me or not, and I am sure comments will be flying off the deep handle. What I can say, this is the best choice for me, for my children, and for our family. I have been fortunate enough to be able to be blessed with 3 beautiful children, and the ability to know when to be thankful for all we have and graciously bow out.

oxoxox Vanessa


  1. I understand completely and your decision is a very thoughtful one...it is one where you put your children first. We are stretched very thin right now and for the foreseeable future. There is quality of life to consider. I have learned in the past year that life is short and none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. I am catholic and prolife but I also strongly believe in working at being my best every day and loving the people around me better everyday. Autism is not something that goes away...and only sometimes, somethings get better. Another child will bring love, yes, but also responsisbility and a further stretching of resources, including your ability to cope, and be everywhere and everything to everyone. Love your people so excellently the way you have been, and continue to live life to the fullest. Keep teaching your kids to be their best, just like you, and always have fun doing it. xoxo

  2. Hi Vanessa. the decision is a difficult one....one that a lot of us have to make with a heavy heart. My two little beauties were conceived thru IVF. when charlie was diagnossed i had just gotten pregnant with Frankie after 2 yrs of IVF....( charlie was 5 yrs trying )we were really wanting a third, but charlies autism had to play a huge part in our decision. After months of soul searching we decided we were done. This meant a very emotional phone call to our fertility dr giving him the ok to destroy our frozen sperm supply.i hung that phone up many times.
    its really not about having another child with autism for me...i know we could handle it if that was to happen...its like you say i just want to be happy with my lot. my kids are both amazing and have both been the best decisions of our lives.
    somedays i allow myself the luxury of daydreaming about the what ifs but my reality is really all i need.
    thinking of you x