Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Questions You Don't Think You Should Ask: Why Did We Have More Children

I like having this blog.  I like knowing that somewhere out there someone is reading my thoughts and letting me add my voice to thier own private understanding of special needs.

The irony in which we live is that we are free to express our ideas but are bound by a culture of silence made by the fear of political incorrectness.  There are questions I see in the eyes of those who meet us or hear our story. A precious few actually ask.  Many more quash their curiousity with Southern manners.  This post though is not intended to deride manners.  As a Southern mama of four, I hold manners in highest regard.  But manners are not meant to quash...they are meant to guide and offer genteel strategies for navigating the social jungle.

The point of all that:  Honest questions when asked in love are welcomed questions.

One question we have gotten over the years.  Why do you have four children?

My answer as to why we chose to give Isaac siblings centers around community.  We were already pregnant with my oldest daughter when we heard the first whisperings that Isaac's development might not be progressing typically.  I remember that first mention.  It was on my due date for my second child.  I had consciously filled the day with errands refusing to succumb to the notion that any child would be so punctual as to come on his or her directed day.  The due date was only a guess anyway.  Best to keep busy.  I had made Isaac's well visit appointment that day.  He was eighteen months old.  The doctor made routine inquiries and raised an audible eyebrow when I reported that Isaac was not yet speaking words.  He suggested there might be a problem and wanted to know if I would like to explore that further.  I suggested that I was approximately 40 weeks pregnant and that now might not be the best time.

He stammered off an answer.  About a week later, I had my little girl.  She arrived in the middle of the night and was absolutely beautiful.  My labor (without pain meds) had been hard but had been worth it. She had arrived and we were celebrating.  The children's doctor came to examine my new little one bright and early after the eventful night.  One of his first questions was whether I had thought anymore about Isaac's speech and development.  No... I hadn't nor did I want to after a night in which I had labored and completed a natural delivery of my beautiful 9 pound daughter.  GRRRRRR....


Time passed.  We took a few months to welcome our new baby and get accustomed to being a family of four.  I still don't regret it.  When our new little one was six months old and Isaac was two we began the journey that led us to discover Isaac's diagnosis.

More time passed.  We withstood the onslaught of therapies and professionals and evaluations.  We were doing everything we could for Isaac.  We watched his sister crawling through the hallway.  We thought of her need.  She would need community.  We were here but this little girl would need someone with unique understanding of what it is like to have a brother with autism.  She needed someone nearer her own age.  She needed another sibling.  So we had another child and then another.

Were there risks?  Yes, but there are when you have any child.  There had been no previous diagnosis of autism on either side of our family before we had Isaac.  Were we nervous?  Yes, but fear cannot be allowed to stop your life.  Were we vigilant?  Oh yes!  We watched our sweet ones and celebrated loudly when they made milestones others might miss.

 All of the children are richer for the experience of growing up together.  Isaac is too.  There is nothing like having to share a household to force lessons of waiting and transition.  We are a team.  The children love and lean on each other.  None is more important than the other.  The family flexes as different needs arise.  We love each of them and dote on them without favorites.  They are ours.  We are community and we help each other.

Please understand that I have given you the gift of my honest answer to an honest question.  The answer though is mine.  Other families choose different paths for different resons.  I can only give you my answer but I offer it anyway to shine a little bit of light on what may otherwise be an unaskable question.

Love you Sweet Friends!

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