Sure, I suppose they are.
They are missing out in the same way that they are missing out due to me not being ultra-wealthy or that I can't lift 200lbs or that I can't speak more than 2 languages. To be a human being means to miss out on everything that you don’t experience or have. That is a simple fact of life. So yes, they miss out on all the attributes that I don't possess.
But would my kids be better off with an allistic parent instead this flamingly autistic one they got? Meh. I doubt it. Even when I think about how hard it must be for them to see me meltdown, to know that sometimes Mommy can’t be touched, that sometimes the world seems to be overwhelming their parent to the point of shutdown... I remember that this is not inherently damaging for them to see. I maintain our attachment; I explain what is happening. On the flipside, though, I can be incredibly fun and silly, stimming to loud music and doing all sorts of odd dance moves. I can make them giggle until they have tears in their eyes.
Like everything in life, having an autistic parent is a mixed bag. There are many autistic people who choose not to have children for this reason (among others). They realize that being an autistic parent would have real downsides. I can’t deny that, but I don’t regret having kids despite my challenges.
Autistic people are complex human beings just like everyone else. Although I feel like I was born without skin and I become overwhelmed by seemingly benign things, I do love life and I love that I contributed to two people being born.
On my worst days, I try to remember how I am continuing to learn about my needs and do better. I am paying attention to my body, my limits, and I have become better at preventing meltdowns. I also try to remember that my learning how to navigate being autistic is exactly the modeling my two neurodivergent children need. I try to be gentle with myself and compassionate, I am trying my best in impossible circumstances, impossible circumstances that are invisible to most.
Do you resonate with this? Our next drop-in autistic parent support group is happening on 1/9/24 from 6:30-7:30pm.