Yesterday there was a segment on a morning radio station on the way to school, discussing people’s greatest phobias; what keeps them awake with worry at night. Callers rang in and spoke about mice in the house, ghosts, early death and sickness in the family.
One caller rang in and inferred her biggest fear was that her unborn child would be disabled, have autism. True, she didn’t say that word for word and maybe I am overly sensitive, but that’s how it sounded to me. I commented on the shows’ FB page and it’s kind of gone a bit nuts. It’s not what I intended.
I wasn’t trying to have a go at the pregnant woman, nor the presenters on the show – we all have fears for our children, me included; some are rational and some aren’t.
The point of my post wasn’t to attack the caller, or her fears – it was simply expressing that I was disappointed the producers of the show chose to put the call to air.
By allowing it to be shared with the listening audience made it seem like it was valid that having a child with autism was worthy of being your biggest fear – what keeps you awake at 4am. That it is a scary thing and something you should be afraid of.
As a side note, this is not the first time I have heard this – in fact I have heard it not once, but twice before. Their biggest fear for their unborn child. I am not sure whether to be offended or saddened by this.
When I was pregnant, of course I was concerned for the health of my baby. Of course. But those fears were mixed in with ones about my ability to be a first time parent, how we were going to afford to raise this child, whether or not it would be happy, what kind of person would it be.
And even now, of course I worry for Poss. I worry about lots of things, but mainly that sometimes life is going to be harder for her and I can’t make it better.
But is Autism my biggest fear. No.
Yep, sometimes it’s hard. It can be gut wrenchingly hard – but god, there are so so many things harder. So so many. Just ask any parent familiar with the inside of a hospital.
Being on the spectrum won’t kill Poss, nor us. It makes us, as parents, more tolerant and patient, we look at the world differently and have more compassion for those that struggle with life, than we probably did before her diagnosis.
The anxiety she faces shows us that the world is indeed a scary place for many reasons. Some rational, some not. We understand the need for a calm and informed view to help her overcome those fears.
My biggest fear? That Poss will grow up in a world where the fears and prejudice of others will make her ashamed to be her beautiful, amazing self.