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My autistic daughter coped with getting her first period much better than I did

Discussion in 'Autism Spectrum News, Events and Research' started by AGXStarseed, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    (Not written by me. May not be suitable for some readers).

    My 11-year-old autistic daughter was pleased and proud to get her period. I cried – because I was proud, and for all that comes next that she will miss out on

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    ‘I never expected to have to lifelong care for my own child. That is accepted now and I can do it until I die.’ Photograph: Joe Castro/AAPIMAGE


    Today my 11-year-old daughter got off the special school bus, as usual, ponytail falling loose and messy, as usual, but, most unusually, she had some news for me. “I got my period!” My heart sat up and sang something nostalgic, probably by Enya.

    She took care of the entire business all by herself. Her teacher was so impressed that she could barely believe it was the first one. All year I have been sending a cute purse packed with the necessities (colourfully wrapped pads and fresh undies) in her school bag, and very recently I reminded her about the changes that would happen sometime “soonish”. Today she was pleased with herself and proud – markedly different to my own first period, which was traumatic, painful and tinged with a preference for death.

    The payoff from an effective school-based life-education program, together with pre-emptive home coaching, was evident. Gold star to us. This child was ready for her next little beginning. Then the tears fell; they were mine.

    On the cusp of womanhood and all it may encompass – fertility, sexuality, pregnancy, motherhood and menopause – there is a natural course anticipated beyond the physical changes: love, relationships, children. Any number of circumstances may rob someone of those human callings. Would my daughter’s disability deny her motherhood, and if not, should I?

    My daughter has classic autism. Among the traits that characterise her diagnosis are a moderate communication delay, anxiety in public spaces, minimal empathy for others (a nice way of saying none), oppositional defiance, reduced awareness of danger and sensory issues I could fill this page with.

    She has, many times, surprised and defeated me. She is an excellent reader, a prolific artist, a wonderful dancer, a responsible student and, of course, just today, she stepped into her womanly adventure unperturbed. I watch her stuff her baby doll under her top and play with her toy cradles and prams. She loves babies and wants one. I try to hold onto that hope for her, but I lose faith when I imagine a real baby, real work and very real responsibility. Will she be all that a baby needs? Will a person who cannot recognise danger to herself avert the dangers obvious to a baby?

    There are also things that my daughter does not know – may never understand. She has autism, but that concept is not something she can differentiate. She imitates and emulates people from life and characters from film, but she does not consider herself unlike them. I love this about her, but how, then, do I explain to her that autism is strongly genetic and her child may also be autistic?

    My life was rewritten when I learned my daughter had an autism spectrum disorder, but I would be the parent to embrace all I could learn, instinctively, selectively, choosing the way forward. It’s not martyrdom. It’s what made me.

    I accept my daughter’s disability; it’s harder to accept what she must lose because of it. My secret to dealing with this grief is working out the difference between what my daughter perceives as a loss, and what I am grieving for. Parenthood holds expectations that your child with a disability can never fulfill. Their life throws up a periodic loss and even the little things hurt: the absence of party invitations, the impossibility of holidays, the fear of grandchildren.

    My child wants a baby, but, as much as I want that baby for her too, she is incapable of being a mother to a child at any stage throughout her life, or theirs. I admit it: I don’t want a grandchild with autism. I don’t want to be the parent to my grandchild. I never expected to have to lifelong care for my own child. That is accepted now and I can do it until I die.

    What I do find difficult, excruciating in fact, is making these choices for a dearly loved girl who I wish, so deeply, could be celebrating her first flush of womanhood and all that it means. Instead, I’ll think of her bright eyes, proud of today’s discovery. There’s no map on this journey, no need to look too far down the track, so we pause at times to refresh and assess. We got this far. It’s a special moment and there will be more. We are braced for a special life.


    SOURCE: My autistic daughter coped with getting her first period much better than I did | Gina Boothroyd | Comment is free | The Guardian
     
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  2. Ylva

    Ylva Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It helps to know what's going on beforehand. Then when you see blood in your underwear, you don't go "GAH I'm dying!"

    This mother is a hypocrite. "My daughter has surprised me by behaving a person and a kid but now at the ripe old age of eleven, I can tell that she will never be able to take care of a child, not even if she waits until she's thirty." God.
     
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  3. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The writer seems surprised that her daughter has adjusted so well to things in life, yet is afraid for her in many ways. Could this be more about the Mother's inability to let her daughter mature and become independent? Rather than railing about how sad it all is that her daughter is autistic, and that she does not want an autistic granddaughter? Much of this 'story' is about what the Mother wants, rather than her daughter's life's choices independent of hers.
     
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  4. Suzanne

    Suzanne Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think the autistic child is more with it than the mother! Ok, so she starts at 11, which does mean that her body is ready to bear a child, but for goodness sake, the mother is acting as though she is gobsmacked that her daughter is human lol Talk about age her daughter!

    Actually I would think that it was a normal reaction for a classic autistic girl when she starts her period ie just being practical about it all! She probably looked and thought: I have started my period and now need pads so the blood does not seep through.

    All this article says is that because she is autistic it is amazing that she has brains!!!!!!
     
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  5. AsheSkyler

    AsheSkyler Feathered Jester

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    Well, **** you, *****. I've got a baby and been regarded multiple times from friends, families, complete strangers, and pediatricians alike that I am a great mother, and my immediate relatives are the ones who know I'm autistic. I was all on board with your article until you dragged that damn "monster" card in.
     
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  6. epath13

    epath13 the Fool.The Magician.The... V.I.P Member

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    That's awesome. I hated my 1st period for 2 reasons: 1) I realized I couldn't really be a boy, 2) the maxy pads we used... Honestly, when I got my 1st minipads I thought to myself, "whoever invented this must be given a medal!" :D if my mom sent me to school with a minipad and a fresh pair of underwear I would be the happiest kid on earth :D thankfully my period started at home :) I think moms should celebrate girl's periods because it's an important transition, celebrate it without shaming and laughing but as important milestone :) now... How do you celebrate boy's puberty? :/ :O :)