parental ableism, sadness about child's autism (not me) 

Other parents: It hurts to look at my child's baby pictures because I didn't know at the time they were autistic, and a part of me blames myself for not catching the signs and intervening sooner 😢
Me, giggling my ass off over Tater's baby pictures: Huh?

parental ableism, sadness about child's autism, context & thoughts 

There's a Korean webcomic by a mom whose daughter has autism, and I usually love her work and learn from it because she's fiercely outspoken about ableism and knowledgeable about the autistic spectrum.

It gave me pause though when she talked on an Instagram comic about crying at her daughter's baby pictures. Others chimed in saying they were the same--while they all know the effects of early intervention would have been limited, they keep thinking whether there was more they could have done. It's not necessarily rational, as they themselves know.

And I'm like... idk, yes your feelings are valid and worth examining, but that doesn't mean the beliefs they are based on are right. You wouldn't feel that guilt and grief if you didn't think on some level that autism is a tragedy, and if your expectations and wants for your child didn't exclude disability.

If you can't approach the reality of your child with unreserved joy they will sense it (and anyone who denies autistic people respond to emotions will be summarily slapped, I don't make the rules), and it will harm them. Like it's awesome that you speak out against the world's ableism, but examine and educate yourself too or your pain will hurt your child.

against parental guilt (emotional harm, child endangerment mention) 

In fact, can I just say parental guilt in general is bad unless it's traced to specific actions that they can apologize for and try to make amends for? Generalized "guilt" for stuff the parent knows isn't true ("My child might speak better if we'd started speech therapy earlier") or is too amorphous ("I wish we had the resources to give you more opportunities") is just another device for dumping parental grief and discontent on children and it's not fair to them.

Like, I feel guilty about not securing a window of our 15th-floor home that he managed to open as a toddler and was playing next to when I caught him (he was ON the windowsill omfg!!). That was a specific wrong I did, and I reacted by installing locks on that window, and then securing and regularly checking all the windows of the house. I'm not going to sit around beating myself up about what a bad mom I am--but I am grateful every day that my carelessness did not result in tragedy, and deeply aware of how lucky we all were.

I know parents can't be happy and healthy all the time, but to the extent we can control it I believe we owe it to be happy about our children. Doesn't every child deserve to know they are a source of joy, not sorrow or guilt?

parental hardship narrative, emotional abuse & control 

I am in general extremely cynical about the saintly self-sacrificing parent narrative because I grew up with constant messages that I was a burden and sooo hard to raise because I'm so oversensitive and different.* I was also baldly told that I "owed" it to conform to certain expectations because of how much hardship my parent had in raising me. That was one of the final cracks in any kind of gratefulness or familial affection, needless to say.

If having kids is too much of a burden the only right thing is to do is not have kids, and most certainly don't expect them to be meek and grateful at being told over and over what a tiresome burden or source of grief and hardship they are.

* There was a grain of truth there because I was diagnosed with ADHD later in life, but if you can only experience a neurodivergent child as a burden then don't fucking roll the dice and have kids.


Reminder to ONLY be a parent if you genuinely and desperately want to nurture and love a child no matter what path they take in life, and if you can handle having a neurodivergent and/or disabled child. You do not get brownie points for making life decisions that make you and any child you have miserable.

only half serious 

@ljwrites yes, but, what do you do if your kid ends up a conspiracy theorist or anti-vaxxer??

serious answer, real murder case mention 

@meena this is something my husband and I talk about, actually. So many young men are openly misogynistic these days and it scares us that our child might be caught up in that, especially since these movements prey on vulnerable people.

I can't know exactly what I'll do if that happens, but my preliminary thinking is that I'll cut down on contact much like I do with my dad (who is in fact, a conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer as well as racist, sexist, and abusive--and Tater strongly resembles him physically lol). I'll do my parental duty while he's a minor obviously, and we'll always have the door open if he wants to reconcile, but he'll have to accept that he is not entitled to even his parents' company if he chooses toxic systems of belief.

(This would be in part a safety measure too, because there really was a case in the U.S. where a young man who got deep into conspiracy theories murdered his father after arguments about it.)

@GwenfarsGarden I hate hate hate the social narrative that having and raising a child is a moral and praiseworthy act in of itself omg

@ljwrites so much this.

I used to get so much hassle about having kids, and no-one liked that I'd made a considered choice NOT to have children, and that I thought it should be a considered choice for everyone.

@GwenfarsGarden Seriously! I think the default should be NOT having kids and it's the people who want to have kids who should face more scrutiny. (But in reality it's just concern-trolling of marginalized parents and would-be parents, sigh.)

@ljwrites Yes, indeed. And yeh, that concern-trolling shit can fuck off.

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