My Journey as a Father of Twin Boys with Autism

Jun 12, 2023

Life has a way of presenting us with unexpected challenges, altering our course and redefining our understanding of strength. I vividly remember the day my wife and I discovered we were expecting twin boys. It was a moment filled with hope and anticipation, as we eagerly awaited the arrival of our little ones. However, what followed was a series of trials that tested not only my role as a father but also my resilience as a person.

Our journey began with a pregnancy that proved to be far from easy. The physical and emotional toll it took on my wife was immense, but we clung to the belief that the reward would outweigh the hardship. We envisioned a future filled with the typical milestones of childhood—laughter, playtime, and shared adventures. Little did we know that our path would soon diverge from the norm.

The day our boys were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Global Development Delay was a turning point in our lives. Suddenly, all the dreams and aspirations I had for them seemed to vanish overnight. The image of playing sports together, teaching them the importance of education, and witnessing their growth and accomplishments became a distant mirage. It was a heartbreaking realization that required us to recalibrate our expectations and embrace a new reality.

As my boys grew, so did the challenges we faced. The weight of responsibility as a father began to take a toll on my mental well-being. I found myself struggling to cope with the immense pressure and the constant adjustments required to provide the support they needed.

I'd sold my gyms, changed my work completely, and ultimately was doing something I didn't enjoy to make our new life work.

Gradually, the weight of my internal battles took their toll, and I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was a label I never expected to carry, a invisible problem that manifests in strange ways, daily.

In the depths of my despair, I resisted reaching out for help. I knew something wasn't right but, I couldn't articulate what and why.

Thankfully, someone close to me recognised the warning signs and gently nudged me towards the path of healing. I was referred to counseling, where I discovered the transformative power of sharing my struggles and learning to ask for help.

This is where my new story takes a turn—a tale of resilience, self-discovery, and the strength found in vulnerability. Through counseling, I learned that seeking help truly is an act of courage and self-empowerment. I discovered that embracing my own limitations and acknowledging my need for support was a testament to my strength, not a reflection of my shortcomings as a father.

In sharing my journey as a father of twin boys with autism, I hope to break the stigma surrounding asking for help and inspire others who may be silently grappling with their own challenges.

I have chosen now to write a story of growth, a life less ordinary, love, and the unbreakable bond between parents and their children. One of my goals now, is to openly share my story, and help other dads in a simlar place find the depths of strength that lie within them.

It's mental health week. So its worth saying again: asking for help is an affirmation of our enduring strength and human spirit. 

If you currently find yourself in a place where you don't need help, I sincerely hope you never do. However, if circumstances ever lead you there, as they did for me, please remember that reaching out is a pivotal step towards healing.

No matter how daunting your struggles may seem, it is essential to understand that you can overcome them. You have the power to rewrite your story, to find happiness, and to embrace a fulfilling life. Remember that you are never alone in your journey. There is always someone ready to lend a helping hand.

I wrote this for my wife Jess, and our two wonderful special boys, Gus and Jude.