Autistic adult not wanting kids - A child holding parents' hands

Many autistic adults are parents. So, why not me?

Autistic people are a diverse minority. We all have unique abilities and challenges.

Some autistic people have the energy to parent. I’m not one of them.

I wanted to have kids when I was younger, but I changed my mind

I wanted to have kids when I was younger.

Especially women are expected to want to have kids. I imitated what other people wanted or were expected to want.

I did that because I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t have realistic expectations about what I could handle.

When you say you don’t want kids, some people say the annoying phrase:

“You will change your mind.”

For some reason, people never make the same comment when someone says they want kids. That would be considered rude.

But that’s what happened to me. I changed my mind. I wanted to have kids first, and then I didn’t.

Mother and daughter

My Asperger’s diagnosis changed my mind about having kids

When I got my Asperger’s diagnosis at the age of 28, I finally started to get to know myself.

I thought about what kind of life I wanted to live. The idea of spending all my time and energy on kids seemed less and less appealing.

I learned that there is a growing minority who don’t want children. Most of them are not even autistic; they just don’t want kids.

I became certain that I didn’t want to have kids in this lifetime.

Fortunately, my husband and I are on the same page about kids. I asked him if he wanted kids as soon as I met him. If he had wanted them, it would have been a dealbreaker.

I got my tubes tied at the age of 31. I applied for the procedure as soon as it was legally possible; when I was 30.

I knew I wouldn’t change my mind because autism is not “curable”. My autism and the lack of energy it causes are the main reasons I don’t want kids.

If I was a parent, I couldn’t live my best life

If I had kids, it would be impossible to enjoy the lifestyle that suits me the best.

First of all, waking up early in the morning is almost inevitable if you have small children. For me, that alone would lead to burnout fast.

No, I wouldn’t get used to it. I never got used to waking up early for school or work. That was always a vicious cycle of lack of sleep and panic attacks.

I don’t cope well with a lack of sleep. Even a couple of short nights make me a nervous wreck. With a baby in the house, you can expect to get more than a couple of sleepless nights.

For me, the sensory overload of having kids in the house would be too much to handle as well. Kids are noisy.

I also need a lot of alone time, and there would be much less of that with kids. You can spend time alone even if you’re in a relationship. When you have children, it’s not so easy.

Even if I managed to arrange child-free time occasionally, it wouldn’t be enough for me.

A crying baby

Some people think people who don’t want kids spend all their time drinking and partying.

I’m not interested in going to nightclubs. But I do enjoy sleeping late and not being sleep-deprived. I also love to watch my favorite TV show without being interrupted by a screaming child.

I can already hear the comment:

“But children bring so much more joy than sleeping or watching TV!”

Of course, they do. But the sacrifices I would have to make to experience the joy of parenthood would be too much for me.

My brother has two kids, and being an aunt is enough for me. It’s not the same as being a parent. But that’s the thing; I don’t want to be a parent.

Autistic parents need routines

Many people with ASD become parents before they know about their autism.
Many of them find out that their child is autistic.

The autism diagnosis of their child makes them suspect they might be autistic as well.

That’s what happened to Jessica Benz from Canada. Benz told Very Well Health that her diagnosis helped her become a better parent.

Benz realized she needed routines to manage her daily life as a parent.

Benz also learned she needs to meet her own needs to be a better parent.

According to Very Well Health, being a successful parent is possible for autistic adults.

As Jessica Benz’s case shows, getting a diagnosis helps you meet your own needs. When you take care of yourself, you can be a better parent as well.

Father and daughter painting a cardboard house

While many autistic adults are parents, I chose a different path. Whether you’re autistic or not, parenting is not for everyone.

To know what you want from life, you need to know yourself.

My autism diagnosis was the missing puzzle piece that changed my life. It even changed my mind about having kids; I decided I didn’t want any.

I gained a realistic perspective on how much stress I could handle. I also figured out what kind of life I wanted to live.

As a result, I chose a happy life in a relationship, but without children.

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