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sleepyzzzzz
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31 Aug 2022, 2:25 pm

Hello WrongPlanet forum - my biggest dream in life is to be a Mom, to about five children. This has been my dream since I was 11 years old, since before I got diagnosed with Asperger's and mental health problems. Now I'm worried this dream may not come true.

I wanted to ask if anyone here with ASD has experience with having many children and if so:

- Does it work well for you?
- Was it difficult to find a partner, who also wanted to have more children than what is ”normal”?
- If you, like me, have little energy, how do you cope with sleep deprivation and such things?
- Do you get judged by NT-people for having children as a person with ASD?
- And lastly, does anyone here have experience with being reported to the social services because of your ASD or mental health issues, although you have never mistreated your children or done anything wrong? (I remember reading about a woman with ASD, who wrote that she got reported by hospital nurses while pregnant simply for having Asperger’s, so I’m curious if this is a common thing for hospital staff to do.)

Thanks!



Twilightprincess
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31 Aug 2022, 3:03 pm

I used to want to have lots of kids, but after having one, I decided that I didn’t want more because of the lack of sleep. Some people can nap during the day, but I never could. I struggle with insomnia. There were times when I thought I was going to lose my mind.

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And lastly, does anyone here have experience with being reported to the social services because of your ASD or mental health issues, although you have never mistreated your children or done anything wrong? (I remember reading about a woman with ASD, who wrote that she got reported by hospital nurses while pregnant simply for having Asperger’s, so I’m curious if this is a common thing for hospital staff to do.)
I would be suspicious of such experiences. Normally, people report individuals because there’s suspected abuse. As a teacher, I’ve reported parents or grandparents based on what the kids told me. I also look out for other warning signs (like suspicious bruises or changes in behavior). Mandated reporters are trained in what to look out for. Having an autistic parent is not a sign. I would have to see legitimate markers to report someone; autism alone is not enough.

Individuals could go overboard, I suppose, but ultimately, it’s a non-issue if no abuse is taking place. People can’t just take kids away with no evidence of abuse or neglect.


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kraftiekortie
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31 Aug 2022, 3:14 pm

It should be noted that, obviously, the vast majority of parents who abuse their kids are NON-autistic.....

I certainly hope that the label "autistic" alone doesn't arouse suspicion in anyone as far as "parenting ability" is concerned.



Last edited by kraftiekortie on 31 Aug 2022, 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

IsabellaLinton
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31 Aug 2022, 3:17 pm

Your biggest concern will be the other parent.
If you split up they can use your disability against you to seek custody and avoid paying support.
You'd have to have a very good job so you can prove to the court you can provide for five children.

If you have the children on your own with assistive reproduction you'll need a good income too.


*I raised five kids myself, between biological birth, adoption, and a few years with step-children.



sleepyzzzzz
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31 Aug 2022, 4:02 pm

Thanks for the answers!



SharonB
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02 Sep 2022, 8:02 pm

I have two children and was willing to have three. Pros and Cons. My husband is allistic, so that helps: I make plans, he implements or handles crowds. I think it comes down to awareness. I took communications, psychology and parenting classes, I devoured parenting books regarding neurological differences and sibling rivalry. I developed my emotional intelligence and am told by many that I am quite a good (compassionate) parent. That said, I am still learning to care for myself and set healthy boundaries (as many woman have to in our society). My husband does more parenting than most NT men. Our neurodiverse children are thriving - considering. It's really hard, but also rewarding.

I know autistic parents (one or both parents) who have three or four children. As with anything it's balancing demands and our emotional, physical, intellectual/spiritual, and financial resources. Some have the ability and/or circumstances to do so more or less than others. Wishing you wellness as your Life journey unfolds.



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03 Sep 2022, 1:34 am

I don't know if I count because I don't have a diagnosis. I was diagnosed with ADD as a kid. That was the fashionable diagnosis back then. My mom says that if I were a kid today, I'd have been diagnosed with asperger's. Well, I guess that's just level 1 autism now, but you know what she means.

Anyway, I have 4 kids and hope for a 5th before time runs out. They're wonderful. I adore them. Yes, they can be hard sometimes--one of them's autistic and one has a chronic illness--but I can't imagine life without them.

You might want to go to the doctor and see if there are any tests they can do to check why your energy is low. Make sure you have enough iron, that sort of thing. (If you haven't already, of course.) Because kids definitely take a lot of work.

Good luck!



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03 Sep 2022, 3:26 am

Keep your dream flexible and you'll less likely to be disappointed. And find a rich partner would help a lot. Parenting is hard enough without worrying about money. With that many kids you probably can't work. So it's important to find a partner who can pay for all that.


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SharonB
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07 Sep 2022, 9:14 pm

Or find a partner who will take on the parenting and you be the rich one. :D



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07 Sep 2022, 9:33 pm

Or raise them on your own and make ends meet.



Rita687
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21 Sep 2022, 8:21 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Your biggest concern will be the other parent.
If you split up they can use your disability against you to seek custody and avoid paying support.
You'd have to have a very good job so you can prove to the court you can provide for five children.

If you have the children on your own with assistive reproduction you'll need a good income too.


Yes I definitely deal with that in dating ingl general. When I broke up with my daughters father, who was extremely abusive, he constantly brought up my condition and told me I was less of a mother because of it. I try my best but it seems like people will always see it as a deficit and a flaw that affects your children negatively. All I can do is try my best everyday and try to ignore any critical comments.



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28 Oct 2022, 10:00 pm

Quote:
Does it work well for you?


Yes and no. It's been the biggest challenge of my life. I am not exaggerating. I don't regret having them (and it certainly helped that one of my special interests before I had kids was early childhood education and pregnancy, birth, and babies!) but being a neurodivergent parent is HARD. I'm always mentally/emotionally/physically exhausted and get very little downtime. Children can be loud, gross, constantly make messes, and use up your social and emotional reserves. Sometimes I feel like a drill sergeant with all the directing and managing I do. You will find yourself trying to keep up with a lot of day-to-day things and appointments to remember. These are all challenging things for us neurodivergent folks. Having a gaggle of children magnifies the amount of things you'll have to remember and do. I love them with a depth and intensity I did not know I possessed. It has been so cool and wonderful to watch them grow into their own little people with their unique personalities. I love how we play games and watch movies together and they trust me enough to talk to me about things.

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Was it difficult to find a partner, who also wanted to have more children than what is ”normal”?


I have three, and want possibly one more. It wasn't difficult to find a partner who wanted children but specific numbers were never brought up. It's kind of hard to predict if you don't have kids. You might find after having one that you're done, for instance.

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If you, like me, have little energy, how do you cope with sleep deprivation and such things?


I don't do well with sleep deprivation. It triggers depression and suicidal ideation. When my youngest was an infant I truly thought I had made a mistake having him. I couldn't handle it. However, he never slept much even as a tiny bab... Turns out he also has autism, and some babies absolutely don't sleep and cry a lot. I barely remember the first half of his life. But he certainly sleeps now as a happy 10-year-old boy. In fact, it's difficult to get him up for school! :lol: To answer the question... I didn't really cope well. You probably won't, I'm not going to lie. Some days are more difficult than others for me, although my kids are school age now. On the more difficult days I don't get much housework done and order takeout. I also have a full time job. Your partner will probably have to pick up some of your slack. Some people wouldn't be okay with that. You'd need to ensure you have a supportive, understanding partner. Having young children is very stressful and puts a strain on even the most healthy of relationships. It tends to be temporary but some couples have difficulties.

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Do you get judged by NT-people for having children as a person with ASD?


Not openly.


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And lastly, does anyone here have experience with being reported to the social services because of your ASD or mental health issues, although you have never mistreated your children or done anything wrong?


I haven't had this happen to me and I don't know anyone this has happened to.


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calliaz
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29 Oct 2022, 8:08 pm

I am not diagnosed, but I have ADHD, an autistic daughter, and I score as autistic on any of the available online screening inventories. The more important question is, can you be a good parent? Many of your questions focus on other people and what they think or will do. Wanting five children is different from wanting to be a good parent to five children. I will say that sleep deprivation was hard. My daughter's health issues were overwhelming in the first few years (therapy, vomiting, screaming, always needing to be held and moved, surgery). I came close to having a CPS report as she kept losing weight (turns out she was allergic to milk). After that, we decided we could only be good parents to one child. I am thankful every day for her and all the challenges have been worth it. I know my limits, though.



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13 Nov 2022, 8:03 am

Following this thread.



magz
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13 Nov 2022, 9:03 am

Autistic mother of two here. I wouldn't be able to carry out raising more without serious impact on mental health of us all. It's exhausting enough the way it is.

I'm lucky to have a loving husband with whom I have great contact and no real financial problems. Otherwise... when my younger child was 3, I lost my mental health and went through a hell of psychiatric misdiagnosis and mistreatment. I was lucky to get out of it but it still can be a struggle to manage myself on functional level.
Sleep deprivation was a great contributor. Now I'm managing it with meds.

One of my daughters is diagnosed ASD, the other is suspected ADHD. Raising them is far from easy, especially with conflicting needs of family members. All the "children at this age should..." advice is super frustrating. How many times had I to defend my children and explain how an autistic mind works to judgemental adults who believed they knew everything... it's a very hard work for someone with communication difficulties - and very frustrating when it's about really meaningless things like combing hair or wearing "not warm enough" coat.

Another problem of being a mother is, you need to literally fight for any time for yourself. After years of it, your brain can become a foam. Self care is really crucial but not easy, at least in my culture.


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13 Nov 2022, 11:07 am

Can you financially support this many children and give them enough attention? If you'll struggle with either two it might also make it much more likely people might report you to social services.