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Does having a child with special needs affect the way you feel about having more children?

(83 Posts)
Socci Sat 15-Jan-05 00:32:51

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MissGalway Sat 15-Jan-05 00:35:29

Can u tell me what a NT childis please?

Socci Sat 15-Jan-05 00:37:08

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eidsvold Sat 15-Jan-05 04:59:10

our dd1 - 2.5 yrs old now was born with downs syndrome and a heart defect. There was never any question of us having more children - we were going to.... we never thought of dd being an only child. WHen i fell pregnant early last year MOST people were very supportive but others were surprised we were considering having anymore. In fact one of my closest friends was horrified that we were even considering having anymore children after dd1... I just asked her straight out why??? she couldn't really say but the inference was that dd1 was enough to cope with and surely we would not want any more children esp if they too had ds.

My risk of having another child with ds was higher than the average woman my age, that risk was further increased at 20 weeks when they found soft markers for downs syndrome.

Like your mum, my mum was sooo worried that dd2 would also have down syndrome... apparently she was a wreck the day I went in to have the caesar as I was delayed going to theatre ( as you do with an elective) and she told my sil that there must be something wrong with the baby and that is why we hadn't called. I made dh go and call her as I knew she would be worried. My mum was so relieved that dd2 was 'normal' that that is all she told a good friend of mine when she called - she forgot to tell her the name and weight of dd2

Dd2 does not have down syndrome.

We felt that really it was our decision to have more children and we would deal with whatever the outcome. In real day to day terms it is you who has to raise them and deal with them. ^If you and your husband/partner want more - sod what anyone else says.^ ( well that is how I felt...) Really selfish of your mother - 'i couldn't stand having to worry about it!!!!' If you want three - go for it!!

We are in the process of deciding if we stop with 2 or try for one more ( in a couple of years time!!!) just want to know what to do with the baby clothes dd2 has already grown out of.

that is just our personal perspective - hope it helps.

sparklymieow Sat 15-Jan-05 06:56:03

People have said the same to me, "don't have another one" I have two children with CP, son's CP happened in pregnancy, when he stopped growing and DD1s CP hapened after birth, when she had problems with her heart rate and breathing. Of course it was a pure accident that both have CP and I also have a DD2 who is NT, and me and DH would love another baby. We have been to see a Genitic doctor who said we had a 1 in 10 chance of it happening again which srill means I have 9 in 10 chance of it not happening again. TBH though I think she just said that as she had no idea why it happened twice IYKWIM.

Blossomhill Sat 15-Jan-05 08:19:10

Personally I won't be having any more children as personally I feel I have enough to deal with. It does frighten me slightly as dd has a language disorder but the paed. has said he doubts very much it is genetic as 1. My ds who was born before is nt and 2. she is a girl (obviously) and 3. no family history at all of language/communication problems
He thinks it could possibly occured after the birth that a certain part of her brain didn't develop enough, just a one off type thing.
Things are getting so much easier in my house now that dd understands so much more and I think I would be watching the poor baby like a hawk for about 3 years.
I think it's harder when you have a child who is nt first then have a special needs child as it is so obvious that something is wrong as you always have that comparison. Saying that dd is doing so well so I can't complain.
I have to say Socci do what feels right for you and your family and don't listen to anyone else

JakB Sat 15-Jan-05 08:21:25

Socci, I have spent many, many hours thinking about this. DH and I would love three or four children. I was pregnant with ds when dd's problems started to emerge so I didn't have to make a 'decision' about a 2nd. We've been told that we have a 1 in 20 chance of having another classically autistic child and a 1 in 10 chance of having a girl somewhere on the spectrum (including language disorders and dyslexia) and a 1 in 3 chance of having a boy somewhere on the spectrum. Thing is, we have the 'worst case scenario' of autism. DD is very severely affected and, do you know what, it's OK. She has brought so much light into our lives and we love her so much for who she is. Of course, it's been a struggle. Getting the right input, sussing out what's wrong. I would be the last person to say it's been easy. But I suppose what I'm saying is that even though dd is unlikely to develop functional spoken language and will certainly not live independently, another dd would be a gift. She has taught us that communication is so much more than words and she has unearthed strength in dh and I that I didn't know we possessed. I also feel as if another sibling, if NT, would provide support for ds. So, we are going to try for a third baby. But next year, when ds is a little bigger and dd is firmly established at school. And if they're autistic, they'll be born into a totally autism-friendly family!!

JakB Sat 15-Jan-05 08:30:05

ps Socci, do what you feel is right in your heart. My mother is very supportive and would love to have another grandchild and absolutely adores her special grandaughter. DH's parents think we would be completely mad to have 'another autistic one'. What? A plant? House? Car?!!!!!!
She is a person!!!!!!¬!

Blossomhill Sat 15-Jan-05 08:43:51

It's the same in my family JakB everyone adores dd as she has a larger than life personality!

lilsmum Sat 15-Jan-05 09:09:49

jakb, your post was so lovely....sob...sob xx

maddiemo Sat 15-Jan-05 09:31:15

I am amazed at how much I took for granted the development of ds1 and ds2.
Ds2 did need SALt but only for minor problems.

Ds4 was not planned and I fell pregnant with him shortly after realising ds3 was autistic. During the pregnacy I did not worry about lightening striking twice as I was just so worried about how I would cope as ds3 was such hard work at this time.

I did the earlybird course and one of the staff said parents of an asd child were more likley to have another child with sn. She was looking at me as she said it as I was the only one with a baby.
By eighteen months I knew ds4 wasn't hitting the milestones in certain areas. He is now three and we have just been told he has severe langugae difficulties. He also has a lot of autistic behaviours although he is not on the spectrum.

All my boys are wonderful

I hate the battle to get provision for the children. My LEA is hoping to do away with statements and does the bare minimum that it can get away with.
I also find other peoples attitudes get me down. We had a nightmare playgroup experience yesterday and it annoys me how judgemental people can be.

We have AS and learning difficulties in my family although not all of them are correctly diagnosed.

Socci, My mum makes very similar thoughtless to yours. My ds3 was in hospital recently and she constantly complained about how she could not sleep for worry and why did these things always happen to her.{shock]
She tends to speak as if we are in some way worse off than other people which simply is not true

My biggest problem in having four children is lack of time to give each child the help they need. Dh works long hours and I work two nights per week and I do feel that the children miss out. We have a lot of homework/therapy to do. The older boys also have their social activities. Getting things done seems to take a lot of planning and I do get very tired.
Rant over

Have the number of children that you and your husband want. They will be wonderful on matter what needs they do or do not have{grin]

onlyjoking9329 Sat 15-Jan-05 09:32:55

well its your family so you do want you want to do, as for us i had twin DD's and was pregnant with DS when we realized the girls had some difficulties, when girls were both DX with autism we were told it was NOT genetic my son was DX with autism 13 months later, we talked about having another child but for us we were worried about the stresses of having four kids with autism, and if we had a NT child we worried about how there life would be affected by being the only NT child and didnt want them to feel responsible for three siblings, we have never had comments about having our asd three but you can see people thinking why did they have three.

Socci Sat 15-Jan-05 10:41:15

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Jimjams Sat 15-Jan-05 11:43:19

I got pregnant with ds2 when ds1 problems were becoming apparent. We were finally told officially that ds1 was probably autistic when ds2 was 2 weeks old. I did watch ds2 like a hawk, but by the time he was 4 months I was fairly sure he was OK, by 12 months I was pretty convinced he was ok and by 15 months I knew with certainty that he wasn't autistic. DS3 happened rather than having been a decision. We are fairly sure that ds1 was not born autistic- but that things happened to him to trigger the (obviously genetic) tendency. We didn't vaccinate ds2 (thank god he didn't get thimerosil- he almost did), and we won't vaccinate ds3. DS1 regressed obviously after an illness at 11 months- one of those things which isn't something that can be avoided, but hopefully is unlilkely to happpen again.

At a week old what can I say about ds3? Well he turns to the sound of my voice, he can track items moved slowly in front of him, he makes eye contact, and he isn't too starey. So far he looks OK to me- oh and he startles - but not excessively (ds1 was always a bit startly). He loves being held (but so did ds1 iirc). So far so good.

with ds2 I really couldn't take him to many NT activities- too many memories- now with a few more years under our belts, and the confidence of having an NT child as well I will be taking ds3.

BTW Charlotte Moore in George and Sam writes about the worry they had when they found out that Jake was a boy- she was worried about him being autistic and was disappointed he was a boy. Now she says he's a far from a disappointment as you can get.

Socci Sat 15-Jan-05 12:10:20

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tallulah Sat 15-Jan-05 12:41:16

Well, you've all really humbled me. I have spent a lot of time bewailing the fact that 2 of my 4 kids have problems, & compared to yours my problems are fairly insignificant. (in my defence, everyone I know in RL has 3 or 4 NT kids & no problems & that's what I've had as a yardstick). I wanted another child- & still do, if the truth be told- but didn't feel I could with the genetic evidence in front of me coupled with my age (41). We have 3 boys, so chances are high that the next one would be a boy, & the dyspraxia/ADHD we clearly have in the family is more likely in a boy. I suppose it feels like we'd be really tempting fate & being greedy to even think of having a fifth. Does this make sense? I don't even know why I want to start again at a point where mine are all pretty much independent & I can do as I want, but wonder how I'll feel when it's too late if I don't. This feels like a mid-life crisis!

ThomCat Sat 15-Jan-05 16:43:46

Never been any question that Lottie will be an only child, and can't wait to be pregnant again, God willing. However I suppose deep down, hand on heart, i would really like the chance to see what it's like to raise a NT child, but what will be will be. At the end of the day I couldn't possible love Lottie anymore, she's the best daughter I could wish for and anyway a mothers love is unconditional. I'm sure if, when, I fall pregnant again thre will be a lot of people holding their breath until the child is born but like Lottie we'll all love him or her with all our hearts. It is a little bit scary I guess but we all know more thsn anyone else that a child is a child is a child and we love our SN children with all of our hearts and our lives are enriched for having them so at the end of the day how can that irresponsible? It's not irresponsible to bring a much wanted and loved child into the world is it.

Good post by the way JakB

Socci Sat 15-Jan-05 16:50:03

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ThomCat Sat 15-Jan-05 17:00:40

I know babes, it must be hurtful, but rise above the comment and remember that it isn't irresponsible, not at all, and your mum will always worry about you and always love you.

onlyjoking9329 Sat 15-Jan-05 17:10:55

is your mum not happy cos she thinks she wouldnt be able to cope with babysitting ect, my P.I.L dont do kids so our three three probably stay overnight there twice a year, do you think your mum is worried for herself, or worried having seen the difficulties you have come up againest

Socci Sat 15-Jan-05 17:27:34

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maddiemo Sat 15-Jan-05 17:41:12

She does sound like my mum Socci.
I had my first son at 22 and my mum was disappointed that I had not had the career she wanted me to have. My mum says that if she had her time again she would not marry or have children She is a great believer in plain speaking but does not like to be on the receiving end.
She can not even give a gift without a put down. Last week she said "I've bought you a present, its some spot cream, you look dreadfully spotty and your father and sister think you looked dreadful too"

My mum does love the boys but is very much on her own terms. Sometimes she seems more child like than the children.

Socci my ds3 is also very passive. He has become slighty less passive as he has got older but still needs reminding to eat at school as he tends to drift off task.

Socci Sat 15-Jan-05 22:08:45

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coppertop Sat 15-Jan-05 22:35:12

Ds2 was 9 months old when ds1 got his preliminary dx of autism. Ds2 will be 2yrs old when he has his assessment next month. Despite ds2 having a preliminary dx of autism I'm still not sure if he's on the spectrum. Whether he has ASD or not we're still keen to have another child, although perhaps not just yet.

Strangely the thing I find most worrying about having a 3rd isn't the prospect of having a 2nd/3rd child on the spectrum but the thought of going through another year or two of wondering whether they are or not. It's the uncertainty that I hate. If the midwife handed over the baby and said "Here you are. By the way, he/she is autistic" then that would be okay with me. Whenever dh talks about ds2 having ASD he describes him as being "one of the gang".

I guess this is one of the few times that having a non-believing family is an advantage. If ds1 isn't autistic (as they think) then the question of having another child on the spectrum just doesn't arise.

Davros Sun 16-Jan-05 09:05:20

I think that anyone who really wants to have another child, regardless of their circumstances, has that right and shouldn't be browbeaten by other people not to. Having said that, it really is a big decision when there is something that you KNOW could happen such as SN. THere's a big difference with fantasising about it and the reality and such a hard decision to make.
JakB, you're a better person than I am! I agree that having DS has taught us a lot, maybe made us better people but I'd rather not be a better person iyswim. To be honest, I don't think having a child with SN really changes people that much, my observation is that people behave and react the same when dealing with SN issus as they otherwise would. The moaners are the moaners, the passive ones stay passive, the helpful ones are the helpful ones etc.
I really think that having a child with SN first (and knowing) makes a huge difference to whether you have more or not and the type of SN also makes a huge difference imo. I had DD because I only had a child with ASD and, as some of you already know, that really is a parallel universe. Without wanting to depress anyone, I have heard autism described at "striking at the heart of what it is to be human", i.e. deeply affecting or preventing the ability to do the simplest human thing such as make a friend. There is also the issue with only a child with ASD of being not just a parent but a carer, forever. I'm afraid that I think there are very few compensations or rewards in having a child with autism.
I do adore DS and we have reached a stage of having a fairly smooth life with him but I'd trade it any day to have him, just as he is, without autism. People don't find him cute or engaging, much of the time they find him alarming as he bunny hops areound making funny noises, its got much harder on that score as he's got older and he's only 9 now!
WHen I had DD there was no way I was going to knowingly have another child with SN so had all the tests available and would have terminated but of course we had to take the risk of other conidtions that can't be tested for, including the most likely which is autism. We would have managed and hopefully reached the same stage of love, acceptance and a smooth life but would we have minded? You bet we would. Ideally I'd like another but will not take the risk AND I am going to be 45 in a couple of weeks!
I didn't find that other people were judgemental about me having another, although I had expected it. Everyone I know was delighted and excited for us. I don't have the problem of parents upsetting me, I wish we had parents to take the kids sometimes, even if they can be annoying. My mum is the only one alive and she is too old to be involved with helping out and would never have said whether she thought we should have more children or not.
I was chatting with some friends from DS's school the other day and one mum who has a severely autistic DS1 and a DS2 and DD who are NT said she felt she might like to have another. After we'd all finished chatting she said "remind me not to have another!" and we all laughed as only those "in the know" can.

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