A few months ago I answered some of your questions. I left a couple hanging, promising to get back to them when I was ready.
A question that sometimes plagues me: What are your (and your husband’s) thoughts on having another child? Is there fear of it, or are you worried that it would take time away from Sebastian and his needs? Thank you for asking this question. It is something I think about often! It is also something that I have been feeling ready to write about publicly, so I will be devoting an entire post to this question. Stay tuned.
Well, here is that post.
For several months after Sebastian’s birth I went through a grieving period, not a grieving period for his diagnosis, but a grieving period for the birth story that was far from perfect. After experiencing a traumatic birth, hearing or reading stories about babies being born brought back difficult emotions. Over time, I was able to get excited for folks again. Their beautiful birth stories became less painful and more celebratory.
I always knew I wanted to have more than one child. I grew up with three brothers. My mom was one of eight children. Although I didn’t want a half dozen kids, I wanted Sebastian to have a sibling. But after he was born I buried this hope and he became my main focus.
When Sebastian was three months old we moved to Egypt, about two weeks after his initial cerebral palsy diagnosis. Brave, right? I’m so glad we did it. I’m so thankful that he was in good health and seizure-free (at that time) and we could live the first two years of his life in a foreign land with great weather! For those two years we didn’t talk about having another child. We talked through other people having children. “Some day” was still there, but not some day soon.
During the past year I started to feel choosing to have another child wasn’t something that was easy for us to do. People around us were having their second or third, carefree. I love seeing my friends’ families grow and I hope that being on the same continent again will allow our childen to get to know each other and even grow up together. But I started to go through a period where I wanted to be ready to have another child and I felt that I didn’t have the luxury of that choice.
Why didn’t I have that luxury? Well, for the reasons you mentioned. How would I take care of another baby and Sebastian? How would I make sure that Sebastian still got all of the things he needed, the therapy and doctor appointments? How would we do it? Would it be ok? Would it be the right choice for him?
I want to have another baby. I feel it in my body. I feel it in my soul. I watched the pregnant woman wait for the bus every morning on the way to school. I watched her belly grow and I grew in excitement for her. I said a prayer that the birth would be smooth and her baby would be healthy. I did not know this woman. But I am her. I want to be her. I want to feel life growing inside of me again.
I watch Sebastian with his friends at school. His smiles and laughter. His focus on their speech. The sounds he makes in return. The motivation he has to play and interact with them. I watch Sebastian grow in ways that I cannot provide for him. I am his mother. Not his friend. Not a sibling. I am an adult. I can take care of him. I can even play with him. I can talk with him. But there is something different about being with your peers. Or a sibling. We have a close friend who started bringing her son around when he was a few months old. I have watched Sebastian grow comfortable with his different sounds and be happy to see him. They reach for each other. They communicate with each other in a way that us adults do not understand.
I want to have another child because I know what it’s like to grow up with siblings and I want Sebastian to feel that. I want him to have that love and that playmate. I’ve read books and articles about siblings of children with special needs. I have been inspired by friends who blog about their families and I see the photos of their children. So happy. So much love.
For a long time I wasn’t ready. My husband was ready. But I wasn’t. I wanted to be ready. So I started to think about how it would work. I would imagine bath time and bed time routine. I would imagine breakfast and waking up in the middle of the night. I would imagine taking Sebastian to school or therapy or to an appointment. I would imagine every scenario that we lived, with a baby as a part of it. For a while it stressed me out. And then one day I remembered Sebastian having an NG tube. I remembered Sebastian learning to nurse and taking a bottle. I remembered Sebastian crying from air bubble pain and reflux. I remembered the things that I never imagined with him. I never imagined that my son would be born without breath. I never imagined that my son would be in the hospital for 16 days after his birth. Blogging moms of kids with cp were becoming pregnant with their second child. I became more inspired. More hopeful. And one day I stopped worrying about how we would do it. Because I knew that we could. We take life as it comes and we do ok. We are happy. And we love.
So I told my husband ‘I’m ready! I want to have another baby!’ And guess what? He wasn’t ready anymore. There are a couple of stresses that need to balance out. Finances. Moving (in the Fall to a smaller place in the city). We know life happens. And it keeps happening. But we both need to be in the same place. It is scary. But we will get there. And I hope it’s soon.