I have read 2 articles today regarding "How To Give Your Child Autism". Not only does the content irritate me intensely, but the reports contain no clear facts or real supportive evidence.
Article 1 is a "proper" report from (where else) America, which boldly claims that being obese and pregnant causes your child to develop autism.
If that weren't bad enough; the second thing I read declared that losing weight during pregnancy, because of chronic morning sickness, causes your child to develop autism.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Isn't it difficult enough being a parent to an autistic child without being admonished for either being too fat or too ill during pregnancy? The "too fat" I can understand - although not the autism link - but "too ill"???? How on earth did we get to that point???
I am stunned by the tenuous connection to the morning sickness, it's not as if women elect to spend 9 months being horrendously ill. It's not a life choice. My own mother was desperately ill while pregnant with my older sister, this was at the time when doctors were prescribing Thalidomide to help ease the sickness. I actually have to stop and think about the very narrow escape that they both had. Life for them could have been so very, very different had she been prescribed it, and I probably would not be here as the youngest child of the 2 of us. Incidentally, both myself and my sister are NT.
Personally, as I cannot speak for anyone else other than from an anecdotal perspective, I suffered not even a bout of the hiccups during my entire pregnancy. Yet my daughter was born with autism.
The "proper" report regarding obesity just fills me with horror, if I am to be honest. Several friends who have children approximately the same age as Daisy have all dismissed the article as, um, "nonsense" as none of them were horribly overweight or even overweight at all when pregnant with their autistic children. For myself, as someone who has struggled with weight issues for years, I can honestly say that I was certainly not overweight and most probably underweight throughout the whole 9 months. It took me 10 days to get back into the size 6 jeans I was wearing before pregnancy. Not something to be proud of, but it's true. Yet, my daughter was born with autism.
Here in the UK back in the days before and after Daisy was born, there was a huge scandal brewing. Children were being vaccinated against Measles, Mumps and Rubella, all potentially horrible diseases which I whole-heartedly agree MUST be wiped out and vaccination IS the right way to do this. HOWEVER, I do not agree that a very small child should be subjected to the almost continuous rounds of vaccines containing Diptheria, polio, whooping cough, mumps, measles, rubella and any others that I have probably missed. How is such a tiny system supposed to cope with all these horrors? Surely there is a better way to keep these awful diseases (any one of which has the potential to kill you) away? Sadly, I do not know the answer to this, and I will always advocate vaccination, but does it really have to be in such a short time frame?
Anyway, back to the scandal. A doctor here in the UK was claiming that the Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine (MMR) was causing autism and bowel problems in the children who had received the vaccine. This eventually gained massive news coverage to the point where the then Prime Minister and his wife were questioned as to whether they had had their baby son vaccinated with the MMR. They refused to answer, claiming that it was a personal matter and not for the public domain, which added more fuel to the fire as most people speculated that they hadn't vaccinated him. I made a measured decision to *protect* Daisy from autism and had her vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella individually and at a price as the NHS would not offer any other form of vaccine other than MMR. My GP was very cross with me, and tried to both bully and emotionally blackmail me into giving her the MMR. It failed. I wasn't prepared to *give* my baby autism. The doctor who started the scandal has since been utterly discredited. Yet, my daughter was born with autism.
I cannot help but hope that this blame mentality will eventually stop. I deeply dislike the use of the word "develop" in the articles I read. It makes me smile though when you consider that autism is a developmental disorder. How does a developmental disorder develop? Maybe the "doctors" should study that!
I can fully understand why a parent of a newly diagnosed child would want to blame something, but I can't help thinking of all those overweight mothers who believe that because they are fat their child will be autistic. Or those mothers (like my own) who spent 9 months feeling so ill and are now waiting for their child to "develop" autism. So very unfair.
It is my personal belief that autism is caused by a gene. It just hasn't been identified fully yet. There is a reason that Asperger's runs in families after all......
I do not believe that I was chosen by God to be the parent of an autistic child.
I was not too fat when pregnant.
I did not have chronic morning sickness.
I do not believe that MMR vaccinations cause autism.
My pregnancy was completely normal.
Daisy's birth weight was fine.
Labour with Daisy was uneventful and there was NO medicinal intervention or assistance.
Yet, my daughter was born with autism.
Daisy is autistic because she is genetically programmed to be.
Nobody wants their child to be programmed to be different, but they are.
People have GOT to stop blaming the nearest thing to hand and start channelling that energy into positive articles and research. Then, maybe society and the media will start to accept autistic people and the fact that they are different, and begin to build a future where autistic people are allowed to be autistic people and autism itself is not the bogeyman!