Cerebral Palsy, Family, Love, Marriage, Our Son, Parenthood, Pregnancy

I’m Ready

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.

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26 weeks pregnant with Sebastian

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9 thoughts on “I’m Ready”

  1. Kara, you have captured so many of my own emotions in your post. I have a 3 year old with CP and I would love to have more kids. It’s a difficult decision. It is hard to watch others have #2 and #3 so easily … and ask when you are going to do the same. I never experienced my third trimester because my son came at 26 wees. I hope that someday I will get to experience that!

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  2. Kara xx I am sure it will be the best but hardest decision to make /do but the lifelong positives are so worth it xx much love to you all and I hope your family of 3 will soon become 4.

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  3. Kara, I too have spent a lot of time agonising over this issue, in the end we decided ‘it’s now or never’. Matthew is now 3 months old, his older brother is 2 and has cerebral palsy. I like you did not want my son to grow up without siblings (i am one of 5), I also did not want him to grow old alone.
    I’ll admit it’s hard work juggling physios and therapies when pregnant and then with a baby tagging along but it’s worth every minute of stress and mayhem.
    Having Matthew has also helped me accept what happened to John and appreciate even more how far he has come.
    I could ramble on forever but I’ll stop there and wish you well and I sincerely hope you are both ready soon. Someone told me along time ago that there is never a good time to have more kids, they just fit in some how.
    xxx

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  4. Thanks for sharing. I could have written this post:-) My son is four, and I don’t know what I’m waiting for. He desperately needs a sibling, but I don’t know how to juggle it all. I guess you just “do”.

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  5. As you know, we are days away from our second dream come true. It feels like the plunge has yet to happen. We want this baby, prayed for her, and I know there are still unknowns regarding her and her health. The weight of this, along with Oia’s needs, feels overwhelming, but in the end, Oia will feel sisterhood and we’ll have a complete family of 4. As far as juggling life with 2 kids… well, one day at a time. Oia has taught us how to master that slow and steady lifestyle and so I feel fully prepared to take it all in stride. Somehow, it will all work out… and it will for you too. Hugs and warm thoughts your way.

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  6. We had a second child… there was nothing easy about it and I felt guilt through the entire pregnancy for bringing another son into the difficult life we lead. Now, I see my second child as magical. I love my children equally. It was worth every challenging moment.

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  7. I read this of course when you first posted it. While I can’t relate I can say I am ready and my husband is not. It’s hard not to be on the same page. Whatever happens I know you are an amazing mother and an amazing wife and friend and your dream will come true. Seb is going to be the most amazing older brother when the time is right. Big hugs.

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    1. Thanks so much Gemma. You are so thoughtful and sweet. And your words are so encouraging! I really appreciate you taking the time to tell me what’s on your mind and be a part of our lives, it means a lot. I hope that you and Mike can get on the same page soon too. It will come. Maybe when you least expect it. It will just be that right moment.

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