My biggest fear

things more scary than autism

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.

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  1. Beautifully and intelligently put. I would have been ranting x
    Caroline recently posted..My Trusty SteedMy Profile

  2. Great topic! I think that this is one that needs to be talked about.

    “Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members” (~Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life) … what does it say about our society?

    I think it says alot about society when people fear disability more than terminal illnesses and death. It is a shame that a program like that did not ask her to explore the reasons behind her fears. Not to criticise or judge to explore more the why. I sometimes wonder when you hear about peoples fears on disability that it relates more to the way that society views the disability and the acknowledgement that often people with disability are treated worse than 2nd class citizens rather than the impact of the disability itself. I think it relates to the lack of support and funding that exist for many disabilities compared to other conditions, I think it relates to the fear and prejudices that exist within society towards people with disability (especially those relating to mental health).
    Bronwyn @ recently posted..Instagram September ChallengeMy Profile

    • Love that quote Bronwyn and it’s so true. I think you are spot on – it’s a fear of the lack of support, perceived or real, that is the scariest thing for many people. Now to that PR campaign…

  3. Amy {The Misadventurous Maker] says:

    Renee, this post has my crying. The overwhelming feeling I have is that of admiration for you. You are such an inspiring and wonderful mum and a beautiful person. I know you all have your struggles with the unique challenges that Poss has, but she is one of the brightest, most gorgeous kids I’ve met. She is an absolute credit to you and your husband and I am in awe of your patience and honesty. I say it every time I see you – when I grow up, I want to be more like you!!! (Except that I’m older than you already!!!) I’m so proud of the way you advocate for Poss – you have taught me so much and I know that your voice is making a huge difference to the community.

    No body wants their kids to have any issues, but the truth is every single one of them will have some at some point. Whether it be they are non sleepers, have social struggles, get in to the wrong crowd when they are teenagers or one of a million other things. All we can hope for is a healthy child and work on the rest along the way.


    • Thanks Amy. It’s not something anyone ever wants – of course, everyone wants a perfect child – but we all face issues and I would like to think that everyone can be as open and as supportive of those who are tackling them, instead of spreading fear and prejudice…

  4. Wonderfully put. It still amazes me how narrow minded and prejudiced people are. Not just to those with disabilities but those who have mental issues, different from others, lower social standing, rasism, sexism, sexual preference… even looks. I thought in this day and age it would be getting better but it isn’t and I really worry for what the future will be like for our kids on the ASD sprecrum who don’t understand why they are judged by others.

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