My family has a history of mental illness on my mom’s side. There is a recessive gene that is carried by the females on their X-Chromosome, that when passed on to their sons causes a variety of issues. My sister is not a carrier for this gene, and has a happy healthy son. We don’t know if my mom is a carrier as she has never had a son and has never been tested. So besides getting tested there is no real way to know if I’m a carrier. I can hope that I’m not because my sister isn’t, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility, it just lowers it.
I could be wrong, but it seems to me that this gene is slowly being weeded out as our family grows, because there is only one person in my generation who is affected in any life altering way, whereas all of my moms brothers are dependent on others to help them live (to varying degrees). I’m pretty sure a few of my female cousins have been tested and found out they are in fact carriers.
I made the tough decision NOT to be tested. Originally my plan was to adopt, but when we found out that we were too young to adopt I started thinking about the possibility of having a kid. After my nephew was born, and I had changed birth control twice trying to find something that didn’t make me crazy, we decided to ditch the birth control and just leave it to God. We had no idea if we would get pregnant, if it would be a boy, or if he would be affected by this gene. I didn’t want to know if I had it, and I still don’t. My cycles were extremely messed up from the three month birth-control pill. Sometimes 6 weeks long, sometimes 9. Every 8 weeks without a period I would take a pregnancy test, just to be sure it was a long period and not a pregnancy. We even had a false positive once. I don’t think I was actually pregnant, but boy that was a tough weekend. Two at home tests, one positive, one negative, two tests at the office, both negative, and finally a blood test, negative.
At Christmas many people made comments to me about having a kid, as I loved kids and was now a very involved aunt. Little did I know as I sipped my champagne that there was already a baby inside me… I had no clue. About a week into January I informed my husband that it had now been two months since I had a period (6 months after going off birth control) so I would be taking a pregnancy test soon. I was very surprised to find it POSITIVE. I didn’t know what to do. I told my sister and started researching hospitals… I wanted to pick my doctor based on what hospital they delivered at. Soon I had my first appointment, I wasn’t as far along as was calculated by my LMP I was about 4 weeks shorter than that. They gave me my EDD 9.19.10.
We all thought we were having a girl. Pretty much everyone… though secretly I wanted a boy. I had “her” name picked out anyway, and couldn’t wait for it to be confirmed so I could go buy a little pink dress. Time went by, I felt like crap, and eventually May came around. May 5 I went in and within minutes it was VERY CLEAR we were NOT having a girl! In fact I was the one who said “It’s a boy.” It was that obvious. I nearly cried as my secret wish had come true. I was going to have my little boy and I was going to name him after my dad. They also moved the due date by two days… 9.17.10
Then today I was reading about autism and it all came flooding back. Our family has a genetic disorder, I don’t know if I carry it, I don’t know if I will pass it on to my son. I was so wrapped up in the thought that I was having a girl that all the worry went away. But then today reading that post I remembered, this could be my son. He could struggle his whole life to learn, or struggle to make friendships. I feel I’m well prepared for whatever God hands us. I am very good with kids, and have been around autistic kids, kids with down’s and kids with physical disabilities. Now I worry, and wonder, will my son be healthy? We know all his limbs are there, so that’s a start… but will he be able to do everything kids his age do? Should it matter? As long as he’s happy I guess things will be okay. I just worry now and wonder if there’s anyway to stop, short of getting a test done that I didn’t want done in the first place.