Monday, October 11, 2010

31 for 21 Day 11: Fears Relating to New Child/Sibling

I haven't written about it much recently, but we are expecting baby girl #2 to arrive in early/mid February.  There are a lot of fears that go through my mind with regards to this...

They started out with being about the health of the new baby.  Would we have another "special" child?  I know that the odds aren't good for another "special" child, but heck, the odds weren't good that we would have a first "special" child either.  We did the CVS early so we could stop worrying and just enjoy the pregnancy.  The test results came back all good and that we were to have another little girl join our family.  Then around 16 weeks we did some other random tests that are pretty standard and again everything came back fine.  At 20 weeks I had the full ultrasound where they thoroughly check the baby out and make sure things are developing normally and again, everything looks good.  So you would think that I would be content and happy, but I'm not.

Now my fears are about how I'm going to be able to give Sweet Pea the time that she needs and be able to give a new baby the time that she needs to.  I understand from other typical families that it is hard enough when a new baby enters the equation.  I'm also aware that Sweet Pea requires a fair amount of extra attention and time than a typical 18 month old would so I'm afraid that we are really in for it.  According to the latest evaluations, Sweet Pea is at a 9 month level developmentally so by the time the new baby arrives she will be maybe at 11 months.  Having two kids under the age of one is something that I never imagined I would be doing!  I'm insane, but not that insane!  However, I am also aware of just how good a sibling will be for Sweet Pea (and for the sibling) and that things will work out.  We have wonderful family and friends and I know that when times get really tough and I'm at the edge of the cliff they will save my sanity.

Then there are the fears about how are we going to ensure that baby girl #2 feels special, equally loved, etc.  How do we ensure that we aren't putting too much pressure on baby girl #2 to be the child that we had always dreamed of and that we let her be who she wants to be?  How do we discuss Sweet Pea's diagnosis and make her aware that she is more alike than different, but that it will take her longer to learn new things?  How do we make her not feel or act like her sister's keeper when they will be so close in age and attending the same schools?  I don't want her to resent being Sweet Pea's sister either.

I know that some of these issues exist with typical children as well, but it seems to be yet another area that is magnified when you have a special needs child also.  In a way these fears are healthy because they are making me think about issues and if I'm aware of the potential issue I have a better chance of avoiding it.  However, there is a part of me that would just like to enjoy this pregnancy and the idea of our new baby without all this worry.  I didn't worry much at all while I was pregnant with Sweet Pea so I guess I'm making up for lost time. 

There is one thought that gives me a great deal of peace and hope...the siblings of special needs kids tend to be extra caring and thoughtful as they grow older.  From reading many other blogs I have learned that the siblings can be absolutely amazing!  They advocate for and love their special needs sibling with all their heart.  The fact that Sweet Pea has helped me to become a better person gives me faith that she will do the same for her sister.  That isn't to say that they don't have their sibling moments...but that is just part of being a sibling!

Hopefully by the time this new baby makes her arrival I will feel more confident and at least be ready (maybe I should say more ready) to love and adore a new baby girl, but still give Sweet Pea the love and attention that she needs and rightfully deserves.  Any advice and words of wisdom from other mothers out there?

I love you Sweet Pea & Baby Girl #2!


  1. I wish I could offer you some words of comfort, but I fear I am in the same boat as you. We're expecting twin boys on Nov 2 and Little Miss just turned 2, developmentally she's 1- 1 & a 1/2. I am SOOO worried about turning her little life upside down & she has no idea. We didn't do any testing, other than the level 2 ultrasound because results are very inaccurate with twins so although they haven't seen any markers for DS, the information could be wrong.

    Ultimately though, my little Miss and your Sweet Pea are going to make it work. They've proven thus far how adaptable they can each be and how much love they each have to give. I think even though you're's a good worried and your little girls are going to love each other more than you can anticipate. God won't give you more than you can handle, right...

  2. Luke (2 1/2) is our third child, but even though we had no idea about the DS, I have felt guilty about the older child/ren each time I have been pregnant with the next one. Worried about taking time away from the other(s) etc. So you're not alone there! Neil wanted to tell the others, especially our then 4 year old about Luke's DS pretty much straight away, and I thought that was a mistake. We did tell him, and his response was to say "But don't you love him a thousand already Mum? I love him a thousand." And Emily, who is only 21 months older than Luke, now 4, doesn't give a jot about it. Sweet Pea may get a little less of your time, but that comes with positives, like gaining some independence and learning to entertain herself, get into trouble and explore without Mum's eagle eye on her! Luke uses this time to the maximum effect! Sweet Pea is lucky to have had one-on-one time with you, which Number 2 won't get, and now she's lucky to be getting a sister :) Try not to worry (written by a worrier!), it never solves anything :)

  3. Oh, the memories are flooding back now! Lucy was only 16 months old when Brodie was born. I actually got pregnant with him two weeks after we came home from Lucy's open heart surgery. Talk about emotional roller coaster!

    I had so many fears. Would each baby get what he/she needed. Could I be enough of a mother for two? And of course, the oh-so-wonderful waivering back and forth between hopefulness and guilt. I wanted Brodie to be ok. I didn't want to wish Ds away. It was a really conflicting time, emotionally. I was really, really afraid of another heart defect. Heart surgery aside, we had a really easy road with Lucy. I was afraid that if we hand another child with Ds, we wouldn't get off so lucky a second time.

    It's hard. Pregnancy all by itself is hard. Pregnancy after a child with special needs is probably harder. Please, please, please email me anytime you have questions or just need to vent. muttering (dot) mama (at) gmail (dot) com.

  4. it will all work out ad i am sure once baby girl #2 is here you won't be able to remember your life any other way. when i was worried what we were going to do with a third baby in our 2 bedroom house my sweet husband said 'only good things can come from another baby'...well he was definitely right because that ended up to be our sweet maggie rae and i can't imagine my life any other way:)

  5. Everything is going to work out just fine. You all will adapt to having a new family member and Sweet Pea will only benefit from it. You will be amazed at how much she can learn from her sister and vice versa. I have some of the same worries about Nat and her "responsibility". I hope she doesn't resent me or Lucas but I think if we can show her how important family is and make both kids a priority, it will work out just fine. Enjoy your pregnancy, you will be amazed at how a second child will boost your confidence as a mother, I know it did for me.

  6. Your fears are all totally reasonable. Like you said many of those are what we fear when we add an additional baby to the mix regardless of special needs. When I was pregnant with Ella, totally oblivous to what all was in store with her, I was scared to death and SO worried about Hunter. Hunter was 2 1/2 when Ella was born and when I learned Ella had Ds I felt the worst for Hunter. HE would have to deal with this all his life. But you know, it somehow just all works out. Hunter is the most amazing kid, he is SO sweet, compassionate, caring, empathetic and helpful and I think a lot of it comes from having Ella in his life. Your new baby will only know life with Sweet Pea in it. Both of your girls will be better people because they have eachother. I can tell you not to worry, but I know you will, BUT it will all work out!!!

  7. Your fears are SO normal. I would be worried if you weren't concerned! After we got the CVS the DS fear mostly went away but then I had some other fears (that I wont even talk about) and when Hannah came out, my husband and I were looking her over for all of the "features" and the nurse said "stop it! she is perfect!".

    I am glad you read my post today and it helped. :) Please feel free to email me anytime! I am in CA too!!