A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brother can you spare a..... brother?

Little Bird is my only child. My first pregnancy, first born, only born. Since we discovered some of her "issues" at her 6 month check up, and started this journey when she was so young, I never really had the full fun, stress-free (or less stressed) mothering experience. Although, when I look back at photos of us from 0-6 months, it's really easy to see just how happy I was.

 I can easily see the change after that. Yes, I faked it pretty well, but I can still see it. Anyway, since it was kinda tough from the beginning, I never got to the point where I was ready to have another baby. Then five years went by and it just got harder and harder. Now I'm even further away from thinking of having another kid.

I'm writing this post for everyone who asks me at least once a week when and if I'll have another child

People really do ask all the time. Every time they do, I have to swallow the lump in my throat and remind myself to inhale and then exhale again. Of course I'd like to have another child. My husband would really like to have another child.  What holds me back from going for it is the fear that this could happen again.... or worse. I've seen way too much sitting in waiting rooms and googled so many horrible things that my little bird has been tested for over the years. In short, I know too much. Plus, how could I possibly take care of LB and another human being? I couldn't give to LB what I give now and another kid would get so gypped (my apologies to any gypsies reading this) for attention.  The biggest bottom line is that I cannot risk this happening again. Some (most) days I'm barely hanging on to sanity with one kid with sp needs. Two would send me over the fucking edge. 

I have often said that I'd rather regret not having another child, than having one. Sad. I know.

Sometimes I wish we didn't know until LB was older because I probably would've done it again. Then, she'd have a playmate, another at-home teammate, someone to learn from, someone to protect her as she gets older and gets teased in school or life. I know that my friends will make their kids be nice to her and (if she can go to school) protect her from bullies. But, it's probably not the same as a sibling. The biggest reason I wish she had a sibling is - breathe - because someone's gonna need to take care of her when she's a grown up. Of course, I also want desperately to have the experience of raising a typical kid: soccer games, birthday parties, dance recitals, playmates, fun times. Those pics people post of their little kids' recitals or soccer games, or the cute things they say, or them with their friends (REAL friends)- they fucking kill me. Don't get me wrong, I have fun times, they're just slightly bittersweet. I've changed my definition of fun and normal.

I'm the only mom of an autistic kid that I know without a sibling for that kiddo. I have a lot of friends with one kid with ASD and another who is neurotypical (NT). But, I know a lot of moms who had more than one with ASD. I'm just not willing to take that risk. Trust me, it makes me sad to even type that. If someone could give me a guarantee that a kid would be NT, I'd go for it today. I never thought I'd have kids, but I also never thought I'd have just one.

So I wonder: brother, can you spare a brother?


Crystal said...

A lot of autistic kids are only children. It's easy to see why. I feel your pain, but really wanted another one. I'm an only child and I know the loneliness. So, wish me luck! I'm even more terrified this time around...

My name is Erin. said...

As I was reading this, Keenan grabbed Abby's "kite" and as she was protesting, ripped it from its ribbon. Abby in her frustration then smacked him, which he responded to by trying to drag her around by her shirt collar. I had to put the computer down and referee.

I am thrilled that Keenan is NT, but there are times when I wonder how much "better" it is. Don' t get me wrong. I know it IS, but for every word he speaks instead of frustrated screams, he is climbing onto some surface to break something or find the pen that has been put out of his reach and then writing all over my school books (there goes my refund) or the check book or the paper to return to school or the wall or their books or.... he tormenting his sister and me. I'm exhausted today, but he is driving me batty! I literally just had to tell myself to calm down before I did anything stupid, because today, he is officially the most annoying human in my home. Abby just wants to twirl her ribbon/kite in her fingers and read books. Keenan wants to redecorate the house in "Hurricane Keenan" fashion. My point? Only that even when they are "typical" they drive you fucking crazy. Just in a different way, I suppose.

I've never been one of those people who thinks kids define you. You have to follow your instincts. Only you know whats right for you. Oh and for the record... I'm done. No more. One more would push me over the edge. I'm close enough to it as it is.

SRS said...

As your Typical Only Child (TOC), I have to say that you are doing the right thing. And even if she wasn't an ASD kid I'd still say that. Only children don't even THINK about having a sibling...why even comtemplate having to S-H-A-R-E? Ew.

Arlene said...

Dani, you know my story, two kids in the spectrum. Although the oldest is doing so much better, he still challenges me in so many ways and the second is the one you know and we always talk about, he is my constant worry, my constant fear. I will never have another child because: 1. two is plenty. 2. my two are plenty. and 3. I have seen plenty enough and I know that there's a big chance I'll have another one in the spectrum and that I CANNOT take. I often think what it'd be like to raise a child without so many "issues". Alain was in reality not a planned pregnancy, they are so close in age that by the time I got Jaison's diagnosis, he was already born and I knew, in that moment I knew I'd be doing that twice. But they are each other's best friends, even though they fight ALL the time, they can't literally live one without each other and they learn so much from each other, the good and the bad. I would have never planned this, but it is the way it turned out and I am thankful I didn't have to make the decision.

Staci C. said...

I just discovered your blog and came across this post. We just have one child... a beautiful boy who is about to turn 6 and is diagnosed with Autism. We are currently going through the "should we or shouldn't we" debate. :( You summed everything up that is racing through my mind on this topic.

Wendy said...

Wow. It's crazy. I came over from SITS playing the game they have today to comment on the comment above yours (and you were above mine)and yet...wow. I so understand this. My son had (has) Sensory Integration Disorder and the first four years of his life were so intense and emotional, that I could NOT do it over again. Now that he is six and so much easier, my heart hurts that I don't have more but I honestly do not think I could go through that again. I love him. I have to just say I am lucky and happy. But wow. Somedays...it just hurts. So glad to have found you.

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