When Siblings Have Special Needs

My beautiful Bronwyn.

Our siblings. They resemble us just enough to make all their differences confusing, and no matter what we choose to make of this, we are cast in relation to them our whole lives long. -Susan Scarf Merrell

When my husband and I decided to start our family, I knew one thing right off. I wanted my child to have siblings, and I wanted them to be close in age. Having been an only child myself, I envied my friends’ boisterous households. Say what you want about the benefits of being an only child. But playing with flashlights under bed sheet tents just isn’t as much fun when you’re by yourself. And now that I have mourned alone the passing of my father and am dealing with the declining health of my mother, I have a greater understanding of what a sibling really is.

So, within 11 months of my daughter Bronwyn’s birth, I got pregnant again. When she was 20-months-old, we were blessed with her brother, Callum. Having two babies under the age of two was quite an challenge, but I had all sorts of pre-conceived notions of how close they would be, how well they would play together, and how they would one day have each other when their father and I are no longer here. Visions of little league, dance lessons, scout meetings, and excited Christmas mornings danced in my head. And I briefly enjoyed the illusion that life would be what I had ordered up.

Continued at What to Expect, where I am guest blogging today…

One thought on “When Siblings Have Special Needs

  1. Wendy

    Love this post. I actually posted something slightly related to this on my own blog, and a good friend with two children with autism also talked about how her oldest child was more compassionate because of her life experiences. My struggle is raising TWO special needs children with different sets of needs–my daughter is “neurotypical” but has an unidentified form of dwarfism, so her needs are physical, and my physically typical son was just diagnosed with autism last week. Although I’m totally in acceptance of and at peace with all diagnoses, I can’t even envision our future and what it holds in terms of how my kids will react to others and how others will react to my kids. I can only hope that my daughter will react with the kindness and grace of your daughter.

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