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My name is Barbara. I am 33 yrs. old and have been married for almost 15yrs. I have three beautiful children. Christian age 13 and autistic, Jim age 10, and Pamela age 4. I have always been overweight. I remember being but on my first doctor's supervised diet at the age of 10. (remember the fiber cookie diet?) However there had been several attempts before then. I also believe at some point I developed a distorted self image. I always see myself as larger than I am...and that's BAD!!! Recently I have recognized that I weigh in the 300's but whenever I am reflecting on what I weigh or thinking about losing I think of myself as being 100lbs more than I am. When my oldest son was a toddler it was difficult. I stayed secluded because he was easier to handle when it was just us. After several doctors and about 2 years I finally got a diagnoses for my son. They told me he was severally mentally retarded, pushed the papers across a table to me and walked out of the room. It was aweful. I had fought for so long thinking if they could just tell me what was wrong we could fix it....and then to be told it was something that could not be fixed...it was heartbreaking. I even asked well what next...and was told nothing. I went home and didnt realize it at the time but went into a deep depression. I stayed busy, so I wouldnt have time to think about it. Just tried to survive the moments and ....I ate. A year later, 100lbs heavier I snapped out of it. I realized that I knew my child better than anyone and he was not severally mentally retarded ....the stuff this child could do...there was no way. I had asked them if he might be autisitc but after the testing only one of the specialist thought it might be a possiblity. I started researching autism more and had someone test him that had some experience with autism. Guess what...My baby is not severally mentally retarded and I am not crazy. Now you here more about autism but back then you never heard of it. My son was born right at the huge jump in this disease. And most children had not yet been diagnosed. We suspect my 4 yr old has some problems as well, but I am not as desparate for a label. I have learned that label or no label they are the same beautiful children I love before the labels and I still raise them the same as any parent.... with lots of love, dedication...and Trail and Error! I decided to be a stay at home mom because Christian needed me if he was going to be able to survive in social settings. It was the right...the only choice. Today, at age 13 he plays all the sports. He plays baseball, football...this year he was all stars!, basketball, and now wrestling! First tournament is tomorrow! He also plays the drums in the jr. high band!! Jim is in the 4th grade but is on an 8th grade reading level. He too enjoys all the sports. Pamela is in her 3rd year of dance and does the pageants.