Struggling Dad Admits He Doesn't Want a Second Child After His Toddler's Autism Diagnosis

skynesher/iStock.com

dad and boy
skynesher/iStock.com

Learning that your child has autism can be difficult at first. And for some parents, they only see the struggle that their child will have for the rest of their lives. This is exactly what one dad online is going through after being told that his son has autism. Now he's opening up about being afraid of having a second child since his boy's diagnosis. Is he wrong for not wanting to have any more kids because they may "end up" like his son? 

  • The dad explained that he had his suspicions, so learning that his son has autism wasn't exactly a shock.

    As he explained on Reddit, the writer shared that it was immediately clear to their specialist that his son had autism. "Apparently it is only officially diagnosable at 4 years old but the specialist took one look at our boy, made us answer some questions, and said without a doubt our son is autistic," he wrote. 

    And dad agrees as he saw the signs. "As upsetting as it is, I saw it coming. Call it intuition or just knowing what the signs were or whatever, but finding out my son has autism isn't something I am surprised about," he wrote. "Between us we get between 3 - 5 hours of sleep a night due to his constant screaming and violent thrashing. He refuses/is unable to sleep alone so our bed has had three people in it for nearly 2 years now," he added. "He has eczema all over his body and has allergies to most things."

    And because his little boy is so difficult, this dad worries about ever having more children. "To say our son is a handful is an understatement," he added. "I love my son, I love him with every fiber of my being and yet, it doesn't feel right to me to bring another life that could be like him. We always wanted a second child but with his physical difficulties and now the confirmation of his autism, I changed my mind. I don't want to bring another person into the world if they're just going to have a life as hard as my son's."

  • Advertisement
  • Despite always wanting a second child, this dad feels like doing so would be "selfish" to the child.

    reddit thread

    He justified his feeling based on how kids in school were treated during his childhood as well as what his boy is going through now. "I feel it is selfish to want to bring a child into the world if they're going to be as badly afflicted (if not worse) as my boy," he wrote. "My wife thinks I am being selfish and spiteful and an asshole for saying these things but I feel the opposite. I'm not willing to roll those dice."

    According to Raising Families, the chances of a family having a second child with autism raises to 15 percent if they already have one with the condition. "If the next child is a boy, that child is 2-3 times more likely to have ASD than if the child is a girl." But for some people that might be too high of a risk.

    Without anyone else to turn to, this dad wants to know if he's wrong for feeling this way.

  • Online, other parents sympathized with the dad. The first few years of raising a child with autism are rough.

    Many people thought that perhaps the dad needed some time before he made his choice. "It's normal to be afraid," one person wrote. "If you need to wait a while, then do it. There is no rush, you may change your mind about it."

    And someone else agreed that the dad was totally justified. "It sounds like you already have SO much on your plate with the one kid, it wouldn’t be fair to you guys to bring in another one," the person wrote. 

    One person shared their own experience. "I'm on the spectrum and it's one of the reasons I plan on adopting children," they commented. "You want your kids to have their best chance and autism can make that difficult."

  • But not everyone agreed. Some people thought the dad was seriously wrong.

    "Not having a child because of suspected autism is an (expletive) move," one person wrote. 

    "You’re sounding a bit like the anti-vaxx moms here bud," wrote someone else. 

    And another person thought that the dad had no reason to be concerned. "As someone who is autistic, and has spent a fair bit of time researching my disease, autism predominantly occurs in males, and can be genetically caused. The chance of you having another autistic son is low, so you should not have a concern for that," the person wrote. 

autism