Saturday, June 22, 2013

Thinner Before People Started Accusing Their Disabled Children of Making Them Fat

In this post, I will be courteous enough to avoid dropping names. With that said, I am truly insulted by a thread I saw started in one of the Autism blogging groups I’m in. A woman was asking people if it would be considered “too vain and self-absorbed” if she wrote a post called “Thinner Before Autism.” Well, she got a LOT of feedback, and 100% of it was mother after mother chiming in to tell her that they knew EXACTLY what she meant. Well, here are my thoughts for you ladies.

Did your child’s Autism make you order pizza? Did Autism hold a gun to your head and say, “I will kill you if you don’t start eating pizza,” or did you decide that you felt shitty and just wanted some comfort food to make you feel better?

Did your child’s Autism make you buy donuts? Or were you rushed that morning (and every morning after) and decided, “Well, donuts taste good AND are a quick way to get food into my belly”?

Did your child’s Autism make you go to the grocery store and buy chocolate and Cheetos, to then go home and snack in private?

Did your child’s Autism make you order the large soda and fries, instead of just water and the main course?

Did your child’s Autism make you need to take meds that make you gain weight? Or did you have a condition that needed treatment, and there was a potential side-effect from the meds you were prescribed of weight gain?

Guess what guys, I’m Autistic. I’m also fat. I know what caused my weight gain, and what caused it was my own irresponsibility compiled with the meds I take. My Autism didn’t make me fat. And I’m 99% certain your child’s Autism didn’t make you fat. What I think is far more likely is you are making bad choices, or taking medication that have side-effects of weight gain.

I am truly angered that you would put that blame on your child and their disability. Would you like it if I said, “My neurotypical parents made me fat?” Wouldn’t you be outraged if someone blamed YOU for making THEM fat? Because one day, your child in all likelihood will grow up and discover the internet, and if I were you, the last thing I would want your kid to find when they go hunting around the web is you talking about how they made you fat, ugly, and miserable. They didn’t make you those things. You did that, all by yourself, one cookie at a time. But what they will come away thinking is that they are a burden to society, and that all they are good at is making people miserable and fat.

So to the mom considering making the blog post titled, “Thinner Before Autism,” try changing that title to “Thinner Before I Made Really Bad Decisions at McDonalds,” or whatever it was you got fat eating or doing. Your child has nothing to do with your waistline unless you are pregnant with them at this exact moment. Don't blame them for your mistakes.


  1. I think it was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing. Blaming your kids for your weight is a longstanding joke anyway. It isn't meant as serious insult against autistics, or kids.

    1. If it is a joke, it's one parents should be very careful throwing around in a community of Autistics. Autistics 1) might not understand the joking nature of this comment (I certainly failed to pick up on the sarcasm or joke indicators myself, though I am entirely willing to admit nonverbal language is something I'm still very much imperfect at interpreting and implementing), 2) may be carrying baggage where these remarks hit very close to home (personally, I tried to take my life several times in part because I felt like a burden to society-- because I felt like I made life harder on my loved-ones. You would be surprised how many off-handed remarks like that can be said, then internalized over time until a person feels hopeless and devoid of value).

      I certainly hope it was just a joke. I also hope that this person understands that a very real challenge for many Autistics is picking up on jokes, sarcasm, double meanings. In other words, the things they are delivering as passing jokes may be taken as serious insults by not only their Autistic readers, but by their children who are deaf and blind to these nonverbal cues and may be exposed to double-meaning comments regularly enough that they begin to question their own self-worth.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Since I was the one who posted the question, I'd like to clarify. I in no way intended to offend anyone and I do not blame my son for my weight struggles. I'm a healthy eater and try to exercise regularly, but I have to work VERY hard to stay at a healthy weight. Since my son's diagnosis, my time and energy has gone to helping him. Between work and therapy, my exercise time is almost non-existent. And while that's O.K. because clearly my son's well-being is our priority, it does take a toll on my self-esteem. I also worry about staying healthy and strong enough to take good care of him. So I posed that question because I was wondering if other ASD moms were having the same challenge. How can we take care of ourselves if we have to take care of our kids? And how can we take care of our kids if we don't take care of ourselves?

    I'm truly sorry if my post hurt your feelings. That's not what I intended. Thank you for reminding me to be more careful about my choice of words.

    1. I do appreciate your apology-- I don't think you set out to be intentionally hurtful, and I greatly appreciate you stopping by to clarify your point of view. Being a mother is one of the most stressful jobs in the world (which is exactly why the hubby and I are waiting 10 years before baby-making is on the table). I think stress is quite commonly a factor in weight battles, and mothers meet this criteria. I clearly took your post more literally than it was intended, so thank you for bearing with me there. I would just hate for your kid to make a similar misinterpretation and be hurt by its literal meaning. Again, thanks for dropping by and extending the olive branch. :)


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