Always have to be worried about something

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

After getting such positive results back from our anatomy scan you would think that I would be much less anxious and worried.  I would say that generally, I was starting to feel a little more relaxed.  Then came yesterday when a co-worker unknowingly (or so I think) spiked my fears again.

I work with someone who has two autistic children.  I believe they are both under the age of 12.  I am not sure where exactly they fall on the spectrum, but I think they are somewhere in the middle to lower functioning end.  The coworker (let's call her Sally) is always willing to discuss the topic of autism and what she believes are the causes.  Sally is very into holistic care and organic and natural products as opposed to processed ones.  I agree with this and she knows it because we have spoken about it many times.

I feel very bad for Sally because I know that her kids are a lot of work.  She mentions this a lot.  They go to special schools, have special diets, and require constant care.  I know she feels alone in dealing with this, especially when she hears people complaining about their "normal" kids.  I know she is thinking..."If only".

Yesterday Sally asked me how my appointment went.  I told her that it went so much better than I ever expected and they baby was measuring perfect.  After a congratulations she asked me if she could send me some information on autism (seriously 15 minutes after the congrats).  She said she wished that she would have had the information before she had her boys so she could have done things differently.  She said her biggest regret was getting her children vaccinated while they were under the age of 6 months.  She thinks the whole cause of autism thing "not being known" is a conspiracy.

I decided to look at the document while I was waiting for another co-worker to get back to me on something.  I am almost regretting that I looked at it.  In the list of possible linked causes are (from: From Preconception to Infancy: Environmental and Nutritional Strategies for Lowering the Risk of Autism, by David Berger, MD, FAAP):

Please note that these are not necessarily my views and only items that come directly from the article.


  • Genetic mutations (including homozygous MTHFR C677T SNP)
  • Maternal nutrition
  • BPA (and other toxicities)
  • Maternal allergies
  • Celiac Disease
  • Candida (yeast)
  • Mercury/lead (including thimerosal)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Various vitamin deficiencies (including vitamin D, iron, & folate)
  • C-section birth
  • Birth induction
  • Early vaccines (including Hep-B)
  • Not breastfeeding
So right off the bat I saw several on the list that I am already at risk for including, BPA (canned foods, bottles, etc), maternal allergies (the article doesn't really go into detail about what types of allergies put a women at risk, but i have several), candida (umm right now I have a yeast infection), hypothyroidism (I am slightly hypothyroid without meds), and I have iron that is on the lower side.  I have no idea if I might need to be induced or have a c-section.  Awesome.

I don't think the intent of Sally was to scare the living crap out of me, but that was what ultimately ended up happening.  Luckily I had a therapy session yesterday and my therapist tried to talk me down.  I also told my husband and we had a nice conversation about it last night.  He and I discussed that, like cancer, they don't really know what causes it, unfortunately.  There are guesses, but no one has been able to come out and say that this is what causes it, so stop doing it and your baby won't have autism.  Like cancer, I am sure that women who do everything right still end up having a child on the spectrum.  It totally sucks that they still can't figure out the exact cause.

That said, I will love my baby no matter how he turns out.  It is incredible the amount of love I already have for this child.  

Sorry if I have scared anyone or brought up a highly debatable topic that might cause passionate reactions.  I still really have no idea what to think here.  It is something that has been on my mind since yesterday and has been added to my worry list.  I just needed to get it out.  Thanks for reading.  I'd love your feedback, as always.  

P.S. If you would like a copy of the document, feel free to email me and I will send it to you.

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11 Responses to “Always have to be worried about something”

  1. Ugh...sometimes people just need to keep their mouths shuts (and their documents to themselves). I know she was just trying to help you, but this is the last thing an expectant mom needs to worry about.

    Let me tell you this: I do not always eat well, I have ingested foods from BPA containers, I have allergies, I have had yeast infections, I was induced, AND I had my daughter vaccinated from birth...and yet, as far as we can tell, she is perfectly healthy and "normal" (she's almost two). Like you said, autism is still a mystery at this point and please don't let the threat of it make you crazy. And please, whatever you do, don't believe what she says about autism and vaccines.

    So sorry you're feeling freaked out and worried. Take a deep breath and just know that, more than likely, little baby boy will be healthy and perfect in every way. The odds are with you!

    1. Thanks, Cassie. There are soooo many things to be worried about pregnancy without the complications of IF/PL. I don't think she had to deal with either of those things, so maybe she doesn't understand the level of anxiety that is already there for me with this pregnancy. I'll try to disregard this and continue being as healthy as I can be. Thanks for the advice! :)

  2. It is really hard not to put our own stories onto other people. We do it with the intention of helping others maybe avoid what we have been through. I have a really hard time not advising pregnant women to do early genetic testing, but that is my story and not necessarily anyone else's fate. I try to remember that, at the same time what happened to me scared me into realizing that we aren't necessarily given all the information we need to make the best choices. It is a fine line between helping and projecting.

    I'm sure your co-worker is the same way. She feels more informed about autism because she is living it and she wants to help others avoid it.

    The reality is that we can't stop a lot of these things regardless, and we just have to have faith that everything will be fine. We have to choose how much information is helpful and how much is just going to cause stress. We have to do the best we can with the info that we are given.

    I also think a lot of it comes down to constitution. One baby's constitution might make it more susceptible and a small exposure to bpa will cause autism where as another baby's constitution may be more resistant and a lot of bpa exposure will do nothing.

    All this is to say that just because autism is her story does not mean it will be yours. Do your best to be grateful for the info you have been given, process it and then make the best choice for you and move forward. We can't prevent everything, and we don't have too.

    Geez I guess I had a lot to say about that, I had no idea....

    1. Totally makes sense. I really don't think she meant any harm and has no idea of my background. The baby constitution thing also makes sense and I have never thought of it like that. I guess we just have to hope and have faith that everything will be ok and try to be as healthy as we can in the mean time. Thanks for weighing in!

  3. Both Cassie and Sunshine say it better than I could. There are so many things we could worry endlessly about if we wanted to. Also, we need to consider the whole situation, including the other alternative.

    For example, if we don't vaccinate early, what's the risk? A serious childhood illness. If we don't eat food from BPA-containing containers, which tends to be convenience food, what's the risk? Other health problems from choosing to eat other convenient but less-healthy alternatives. If we don't accept a medically necessary C-section, what's the risk? Dying in childbirth. Et cetera. It's never black and white.

    In any case, I appreciate your friend's sentiments given her own situation, but think they are ill-timed and ill-targeted. I'm glad you could talk it out with your therapist.

    1. I never thought of it that way. Nothing really ever is black and white, is it? I guess this is another reason that I always feel the need to disclose to people that we had trouble getting here. Maybe then they would not try to scare me. There is only so much a person can control (as we both already know!).

  4. Oh my gosh, you sound like me! I have started dealing with this anxiety over autism too for a couple of weeks! I have an autoimmune disorder and Vitamin D deficiency and my brain will not let me rest over it. They say your immune system plays a big part in it so I'm worried cuz mine is a mess! If you don't mind, shoot me that article too. ( I can add it to my list of articles I shouldn't read because it will cause major anxiety but feel like I have to anyway! lol Oh anxiety, she's a... well I don't have a very nice word for it but you know! It gets tiring! Well I'll be praying for your sweet boy too. I'm sure we are just over worried over nothing and all will be fine :-)

    1. I will send it to you right now. Praying we (and our little boys) will both be just fine!!

  5. I'm sorry your friend scared you. What I can tell you is autism still doesn't have a specific cause and people are grasping at anything and everything. My sister had a lot of the risk factors on that list and she has four perfectly healthy kids with no signs of autism. I had an aunt who did everything perfectly and my cousin is autistic. (High functioning, but autistic just the same.)

    What is comes down to is that we just don't know and trying to prevent every single bad thing would mean locking yourself in a bubble and not ever leaving it. Like I said, I'm sorry you're friend scared you. Now that you've read the information she gave you, you can make choices about what you want to do, but try not to stress out too much. (Easier said than done, I know.)

    1. Thanks, Stasy. That definitely helps to ease my mind a little. At least it confirms what I already believed about much of it being out of my control.

  6. Autism scares the living shit out of me...given I teach students with developmental delays most of my students are in the spectrum. I think there are things you can do (really researching about vaccines is one of them) and things that are out of your control. I am trying to enjoy my daughter and not think every cry and stare is indicative of something more.