An unnamed man on social media has shared his struggles as a single father of a baby girl, a situation that anyone would find daunting. But this man has an additional mountain to climb, because feelings – even the normal ones of a parent for a child – don’t really come naturally to him. That’s because the dad has Asperger Syndrome, which is described as being on the “high-functioning” end of the autism spectrum.
Many people with autism have issues with expressing, or even feeling, emotions, and with connecting to other people on a profound level.
So, when faced with a very difficult choice: whether or not to give up his baby daughter for adoption after his girlfriend cruelly left him to be with his (former, we presume) best friend, he chose to keep her. He chronicled the struggle in choosing to keep Faith, his baby, and raise her on his own.
“Faith (my daughter) changed my life . . .. Faith was the first and only time I understood what love was,” he wrote on social media of his journey towards connection.
He admitted that his girlfriend’s pregnancy had left him not only unmoved, but afraid for how it would change his life forever. But that was nothing compared to the actual birthing process. People with autism are known to be extremely sensitive to sensory overload, and not much would push all those buttons more than a woman in the throes of childbirth.
He described how it went on for 14 hours, with his girlfriend shrieking in pain as the hospital’s glaring lights tortured him. He said it pushed him to his absolute limit.
So he was surprised that when he actually saw his daughter for the first time in the hospital nursery, that he felt overwhelmed with love and all the normal feelings of being a father for the very first time.
“!! Love!!! Hope!!!! I WAS A DADDY!!! I was the proudest man on earth! !!!” he expounded in the retelling of that magical moment.
After his girlfriend left him, he said his own parents pressured him to give Faith up for adoption, but he just couldn’t do it. Instead, he quit the two jobs that he’d worked and applied instead for disability benefits.
While he never regretted his choice, he did say that he found the baby’s wails unnerving, a reality that many a non-Asperger parent could probably empathize with. But even though his senses felt overwhelmed and he sank into a depression, he never thought of giving up on Faith, he said.
Instead, he’d sometimes lock himself in the bathroom and just scream.
Ironically, he found one habit he had fostered all his life to help cope with his own disability was very helpful in creating successful parenting: creating a steady routine. He said making breakfast and dinner and going to bed at the same time each day worked for both him and little Faith perfectly.
While the man admits he still has plenty of shortcomings as a parent (who doesn’t?!), he’s mastered many things he never imagined he would, all thanks to his daughter. He now knows how to braid hair, go shopping for girlie things, and even watch movies together.
Amazingly, he was even able to study while Faith was a baby, and eventually went back to work, but at a much better job.
This touching story shows that where there’s a will, there’s a way, and no disability should keep anyone who wants to be a parent from fulfilling their dream.
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