Sunday, May 6, 2012

Did I Cause My Son's Autism?

Sometimes I wonder if it is my fault that Trey is Autistic...

This is certainly not a good feeling to have. It comes with lots of sadness and guilt. It makes me wonder if there was something I should have done differently, then my son would be "normal". I have been told that this is a common stage to go through once a child has been diagnosed. I can understand why with all the news reports of the possible links. It seems every week there is a new study showing increased risk of Autism due to something related to the mom. Here are just a few I have read recently:

Mom’s Age and Autism Risk
4/22/2012: Autism researchers study the link between parental age and autism risk because the relationship provides important clues to the factors that lead to autism. For example, increasing age may bring greater cumulative exposure to toxic chemicals. Older moms have increased risk of pregnancy complications, and as a woman’s eggs age, they are more likely to carry genetic changes that can affect fetal development.

I am pregnant here with Trey. I am 42 and overweight.

Study: Obese Moms Birth Kids With Greater Risk Of Autism
4/11/2012: Science continues to scramble for reasons that children become autistic. The latest straw to which researchers are grasping is that children whose mothers were obese during pregnancy have an increased risk of autism. There's not enough evidence to leap to the conclusion that obesity directly contributes to an increased chance of autism, but there's reason for moms to listen to doctors who advise keeping a close watch on weight gain during pregnancy.

Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy: Autism Risks
7/4/2011: Children born to woman who take SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy have a slight increase in risk of developing Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a new study suggests. Researchers compared the use of antidepressants among mothers of children with and without ASD. They found that those who have taken selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were more than twice as likely to have a child with an ASD diagnosis.

Higher autism risk for March conception

5/10/11: Overall risk of having a child with autism increased from month to month during the winter through the month of March. Each month was compared with July, with an 8 percent higher incidence in December, increasing to 16 percent higher in March. Among the children included in the study, those conceived during winter had a significantly greater risk of autism. The risk of having a child with an autism spectrum disorder grew progressively throughout the fall and winter to early spring, with children conceived in March having a 16 percent greater risk of later autism diagnoses, when compared with July conceptions.

Is Autism a Genetic Disorder?

5/5/2012: If you are an individual with autism or a parent of a child on the spectrum, it's perfectly natural to wonder about the causes of this mysterious disorder. You may recognize symptoms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in other members of your family and question whether there may be a hereditary link. Over the years, many scientific studies have examined the question of whether and to what extent genetics play a role in autism. For parents of children on the spectrum, understanding the genetic basis of autism can help assuage feelings of guilt. However, these findings can also cause friction within the family.
It's hard enough to be the best mom you can be and raising an Autistic child without believing you are the cause!! The thing is, that's exactly what researchers are trying to do... find the cause. Especially with the new reports of the highest rates of children diagnosed with Autism (1 in 88). There is a feeling of urgency to find out what is causing it. So I guess these studies shouldn't be ignored completely.

Whether it is my fault or not the fact is Trey has Autism... and the only thing I can control now is to get him all the help, support, and love he needs.
My Boy


  1. I was 39 my husband 43 when James was born. I have always been very overweight. I was clinically "coocoo" while pregnant with him but refused medication. He was conceived in February through infertility treatment including very high doses of clomid. My husband is a closet un-diagnosed aspie. I had 6 or 7 ultrasounds by the time I was 12 weeks pregnant, now also considered a risk factor. Was it a crime to ask for a child to come into the world with all of those risk factors? I guess you will have to ask James. HE is the only Autism authority that I listen to about this kind of stuff.

  2. Yep, guilt is a mommy thing. I had all but the obesity for my son. Whatever the reason, it isn't like we should stop reproducing because there are risks. Of course there are. There are risk factors that have been found to be invalid, risk factors that are unproven, risk factors we have yet to find. If you live in the world, you take risks. It is not really a matter of blame or fault. If finding out what caused my son's ASD will help to treat his problems, or give insight on how to best make his life as good and productive as possible, then fine. Otherwise, I don't care. I don't want to cure him, or even treat the Autism per se, I just want to give him everything I can to make his life as happy and fulfilled as it can be. So hopefully we can let the guilt go. If there were a test that showed him as likely to have ASD in utero, I would no more decide not to have him than if he had Down's syndrome, fragile x, left handedness, dyslexia or any of the sort of conditions that make a child's life more challenging. I have a child, not a diagnosis. And he is an amazing little monkey, who I would not trade for anyone.

  3. My son was a high risk pregnancy, so I too had MANY ultrasounds. Did that cause his autism? I don't know, and at this point I don't care. Before my son, I had 8 miscarriages, and as I always said, things happen for a reason. So I fully believe Liam is autistic for a reason, and I am his momma for a reason. And thats reason enough for me :D