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More Siblings?

(25 Posts)
Dadcam Wed 10-Jun-09 16:21:03


Intruder alert - yes I am Dad, but I am looking for some perspective from the female side. If you don't mind that is!

We have 2 wee girls (I think you call them DD1 and DD2?!) DD1 is 5.5 and DD2 just turned 3. DD1 is perfectly healthy and thriving in P1 at school, however, DD2 has Angelman Syndrome, diagnosed 6 months ago.

Whilst we are getting over the whole diagnosis and change in life, my wife is and has been wanting a 3rd child for some time. Whereas I don't.........

So, we are kind of in limbo - how do you resolve such a situation, its not like we can compromise!

For me, I am really happy with our family as it is and only ever envisaged having 2 kids. My wife was initially wanting 2, but after the birth of DD2 she felt she didn't want this to be the last childbirth experience she has.

We have discussed pros and cons and aren't much further forward so I thought I would see if anyone has any views that may change me my mind.

I have concerns that another child will distract from the significant time we now need to expend with DD2 and her condition. Clearly I/we want her to achieve as much as she can with her life as she possibly can, however limited that may ultimately be.

That being said, perhaps a further sibling may help her in other ways, I just don't know.

I also have (unfounded) concerns of having another child with special needs and the impact that would have on both DD2 and DD1 whose life is already impacted by DD2. On the other hand, another "normal" sibling would clearly benefit DD1 and would also give her support in later life when we're no longer here.

I hear everything my wife says and she vice versa so it kinda comes down to our own instints - she really wants one, I really don't and am not particularly keen on going through the whole baby dependancy thing again. Nice as it was, it is also nice being able to have a more normal life.

Help. Please!

Marne Wed 10-Jun-09 16:46:49

Hi and welcome to mumsnet.

I have 2 dd's, dd1 (5.3) has Aspergers syndrome and Dd2 (3.3) has Autism, I (like your wife) only planned on having 2 children but after the birth of dd2 i was sad at the thought of not having another, when dd2 was born we were unaware of either of the dd's having special needs.

We have been told that if we have another child there will be a 60% chance of it having Autism sad, i would still like another child but my husband feels we have enough to handle with both Dd's having special needs and it would be unfair to bring another child into the family with possible Autism. I can see my husbands point but some how i feel incomplete as i would love a son (i know if i did get pg it could be another girl), i would love a big family. I also worry that people would judge us for having another and think its unfair on the children we have.

Maybe you could sit down together and write down the reasons to have another baby and the reasons not to?

monstermansmum Wed 10-Jun-09 17:26:16

Hello Dadcam-Do I know you???

My DS1 Has Angelman Syndrome, hes 7yo. I also have DD1-11yo, DS2-3yo and DD2-2yo!!! There are also 2 other step children. I can honestly say that yes its most definitely hard work but tbh DS1 is probably easier than the toddlers or the pre teen. Ds loves the babies although he does tend to get a bit 'rough' with them at times. DD2 is a star with him even though shes only 2 whereas Ds2 is a wimp!!!!

Re your with A/S-her life will be as enriched by another sibling as much as an NT child, and you will find the time and energy to give her whatever she needs. Unless your dx was UBE3A etc then you have very little chance of having another child with A/S. We had DS2 tested at birth and didnt bother with DD2. DS1 is del+.

DH and I are both trustees of ASSERT, the UK charity for Angelman Syndrome-are you registered with ASSERT yet? You can call 0300 999 0102 or email me at if you want to chat abit more.

Good luck with whatever decision you make.grin

Dadcam Wed 10-Jun-09 17:43:32

Thanks both.

Monstermansmum (may I call you MMM?!) you have probably chatted with my wife in the past, I don't think we've met though! We've reg'd with ASSERT, thanks.

DD2 has UPD so we know there's no more chance of potential sibling having AS then any other family. Its just a general unease I have that IF the new one was to have something/anything wrong it would take even more away from DD2.

Marne - yes, we've drawn up a list of pros and cons which hasn't resolved the issue hence this posting!!

I think the word 'incomplete' hits the nail on the head for my wife. But for me our family is in every way complete and I don't want to upset the balance we have.

If we win the lottery and have more money and time on our hands then I would probably have more. But we can't pin our hopes on that by any means!

As I said, its not exactly something we can compromise on and I just don't know how we can resolve it sad

summitstar Wed 10-Jun-09 20:10:46

Difficult you say there is no real compromise, not like you can have half a baby!!

I can understand where you are coming from with your unfounded fears of having another child with special needs. I have the same fears when people ask if I would like anymore. Me and his dad are no longer together but genetic testing showed my sons differences were 'just one of those things....but the fear is still there all the same!!

Personally I would love another child, I would love the opportunity to experience all the things that I thought I would, but who knows if that will ever happen, my dp has children and wants no more, hes done his sleep nights and doesnt want that again,end off!

I often think about who will be around for DS when Im not if he has no siblings and that a sibling would be so good for him, all these points you raised in your email.

Another child would be hard work and very challenging esp with your dd2's additional needs however on te flip side what a blessing it would be.

I hope you and your wife figure something out!!!

mumgoingcrazy Wed 10-Jun-09 21:29:31

Hello, we are in a similar boat to you. I would like another child and DH is happy the way things are. DD1 is 4yr and NT, DD2 is almost 2 and is SN. DD2 has an awful lot of therapy but I honestly think the best therapy for her is DD1 being around. DD2's SN are down to the fact that she caught chicken pox at 6 weeks old, so we'd be very unlucky if that happened again. In my mind, I'm thinking of way into the future when DH and I are old or no longer around, is it too much pressure for DD1 to have to take responsibility for DD2, would it be fairer to her to have other siblings to share the load??? On the other side of the coin, if we had another that would take some time away from DD2 having all her therapy which she is doing very with and needs.

I'm not being much help, but sympathise with your dilemma. If you find any answers let me know grin

Dadcam Wed 10-Jun-09 21:34:30

Thanks Summitstar - drives me crazy, for every positive there is a negative.

The main positive I see is to help DD1, more especially in later life. I don't, however, want to bring a child into the world with what would then be, to me, the sole reason of assisting DD1, almost like bred for purpose! I feel that is somewhat unfair and too much pressure to put on a child who should have his/her own life to pursue.

DW reckons it would also give DD1 someone to do more normal things whilst growing up and then like going out/shopping etc, but what if they don't even get on?! There would now also be almost 7 years between them, plus say another 3 before the new one was interactive - DD1 will be approaching huffy teenage years and will probably largely ignore him/her!

But I don't want my wife going through life with a void.

So it seems we really do need the lottery after all or I need to come up with lots of real good reasons not to have another to douse this flame wink

meltedmarsbars Wed 10-Jun-09 21:41:18

Hi Dadcam, we have 3 dc's the 3rd one with severe learning and physical difficulties.

I am very glad that we had the other two first so we didn't have to go through the angonies you are currently feeling. My other two kids keep me sane when the hospital/therapy/medication/disability bandwagon gets me down.

It is sometimes hard work, but we have a wide circle of friends who help take the siblings to activities, act as a sounding board, and make endless cups of coffee.

I would have liked more children - I love seeing children grow and develop (maybe thats why I help out in school so much!).

My gut instinct would be to go for it - the baby bit is over in a flash, the rpe-school part is not long, and the third time around you are both much more experienced parents. Your second child will soon be at school and hopefully receiving lots of her therapy there - this spreads the burden.

My dcs are 10, 8, 7 - all born in 3 yrs 6 wks.


5inthebed Wed 10-Jun-09 22:13:14

Hi dadcam. I have 3 DSs. My DS2 has autism, and the weekend after his DX me and my DH decided that we would not have any more DC so we could focus on DS2 and also give DS1 some time as well as DS2 was taking up a lot of ours. I actually got pregnant that same weekend blush (even though had fertility treatment to get DS1+2 and was told could never happen naturally).

Both me and DH were very shocked, it happened at a very hard time in both our lives, ds2 just dxed and DH's father was terminally ill with cancer (he died 4 weeks after ds2 was dx).

Anyway, before I tell you my whole life story, when I was pregnatn with ds3, we were terrified that we were going to give ds1 even less attention than he was geting already and that ds2 would make having a baby really hard. As it turns out, we were wrong. DS1 gets just as much attention as we intended, ds3 gets the attention he needs when ds1+2 are at school, and ds2 has been fine (to a point) about ds3 being on the scene.

Still with me?

What I'm trying to say, is that sometimes you just have to go for it, because occasionally these things are taken out of our hands and we have to deal with what life throws at us.

Good luck in whatever decision you make.

busybeingmum Wed 10-Jun-09 22:52:13

Message withdrawn

slowreadingprogress Wed 10-Jun-09 23:27:21

I think you shouldn't factor in to your thoughts on whether to have another child, what the siblings may or may not do or be to each's just too variable. You simply cannot know so you shouldn't make it a reason IMO

I also think bringing a new life into the world so that you can have another 'childbirth experience' is a truly dreadful reason

(it's the only one you quote from your DW in the OP)

I think the only thing you need to consider in any way at all is whether you and your wife would dearly like to have and care for another child with all that entails. If it's what YOU both want then that's the only valid reason IMO.

marmoset Thu 11-Jun-09 20:51:18

I wonder if you should shelve the discussion for a year or more (if you can- biologically speaking!)

My ds1 has Down Syndrome and we had ds2 very soon after but waited another 10 years to have our dd who is 7m old now. That might sound like a total nightmare to some (!) but it has worked very well for us - our family now feels complete and the timing feels right. Dh and I both arrived at that conclusion independently by the way smile

Not sure if that helps but what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't feel that you have to make a definite decision right now just because the youngest is 3 and that would be the 'traditional' time to do it.

Dadcam Fri 12-Jun-09 10:29:32

Thanks everyone so far, you've given me a bit more to think about!

Slowreading - bad posting by me, wasn't really the phrase I was looking for. Well, she does want the pregnant/birth thing but clearly its the child she is ultimately after!! Can't imagine a few hours smarting in the labour ward is something to look forward to wink

Busymum - lots in there to consider, thanks! Clearly the big difficulty is what the future holds as no one can say. My position had been I don't want any more but tempered with a "but who knows in the future" which probably didn't help things, mixed message and all......I guess it still is - everything is very much in the air and the dx is still quite fresh.

Its not a decision to take lightly but DW is keen to get on with things, not that we're too far on in life, but neither of us getting any younger.

Keep the thoughts coming though, its all helping.

MojoLost Fri 12-Jun-09 11:26:18

Hello Dadcam,

I feel I shouldn't intrude in your personal life!! But being the opinionated being I am <<must remember to mind my own business>>, here are my thoughts:


You say:
"My wife was initially wanting 2, but after the birth of DD2 she felt she didn't want this to be the last childbirth experience she has."

If that is her reason for wanting another child, then I do think it is not the way forward and maybe counselling should be looked into. What would happen if the third baby happed to have SN as well? Would she then go for a 4th?

You say:
"I have concerns that another child will distract from the significant time we now need to expend with DD2 and her condition. Clearly I/we want her to achieve as much as she can with her life as she possibly can, "

That is a very very valid point. There are plenty of people on here that have more than 2 children and somehow manage, personally I don't think I could, so it does matter how much family support you have, how independent your NT children are, how resourceful you are, etc, etc.
My DS1 has special needs, he is 4 years how and it is getting easier, but like you I want him to achieve his full potential and that takes time,enery, and effort. I don't know much about angelman syndrome so of course I couldn't comment on your DD's particular situation, but in our case helping DS1 has been our main driver for these years (hard work and it is paying off).

You say:
"On the other hand, another "normal" sibling would clearly benefit DD1 and would also give her support in later life when we're no longer here."

What support? I am not sure I agree with this one. I now have DS2 NT, and I am not planning on having another child just to give DS2 support. That is just not the right reason to bring a child into the world. Hopefully you will do your best to ensure that DD2 will have all the support in place and DD1 can enjoy being her sibling and not her carer.

I think marmoset is spot on, in your situation, I would wait a couple of years and see how things progress.
Good luck smile

meltedmarsbars Fri 12-Jun-09 12:51:21

Another thought: my home help last night asked me what I thought my dd2 (the disabled one) would be like without her siblings.

My answer was: much slower, quieter, less able. The "busy-ness" and chat of a full family is invaluable. Imho, having 1 sn and 1 nt would be a bit like having 2 "only" children. Does that make sense?

I would not wait as the other posters advise: this would mean a much bigger age gap which could mean the siblings are less likely to have the same interests, and play together.

Ignore this if you don't agree!

donkeyderby Sat 13-Jun-09 00:24:38

Hi Dadcam. DD1 17 is NT, DS1 13 is undiagnosed but has an Angelman-like syndrome. I can totally empathise with your wife as I was desperate to have another child after DS1's SN dx, despite the fact I had previously only envisaged having no more than 2 kids. DH was adamant he didn't want another child, especially as we risked having another disabled child - DS1 is pretty full-on with SLD and challenging behaviours.

Accidentally-on-purpose, I got pregnant with DS2 who is now 7 and NT. It has been difficult at times and has added to our workload. However, it has been incredibly healing and has given me some closure on the painful, lonely years when DS1 was younger and we seemed to become isolated from everyone, (we were also new in town and having a severely disabled baby didn't exactly open up a world of possibilities socially). Then again, if DS2 had been disabled, I'm not sure how we would have coped.

It's a hard one. It worked for us, and it lifted the fog of chronic loss for us so that we could actually be better, happier parents for all our kids despite the extra work.

I hope it works for you whatever you decide.

juliaw Sat 13-Jun-09 23:24:24

Its a tough one isn't it, you just can't stop a Mum feeling broody. I have a friend with 2 children (no SN) who's marriage is in a bit of a state over disagreement with this very issue. She was part of a large family and herself has 2 siblings with SN. She feels very much that a big family is important to share problems that crop up and even though her 2 children have no SN she thinks there is safety (and companionship) in numbers. The resentment she feels that her husband has said no has not gone away over the years however hard she has tried to accept it. You can't be logical when it comes to longing for a baby. Its why Grannys stop in the street to coo over babies, you just can't beat the magic a new baby brings.

Our SN child was our third (now 2.5), the first 2 years he was entirely normal and then regressed (ASD). I pushed a bit for number 3, DH would have happily stopped at 2 but was not unhappy with 3 (his reservation was about sleep deprivation for the first year and the toll no sleep took on us as a couple). Had I known DS3 was going to have ASD would I have stopped at 2, possibly because I would have been frightened by what that would have meant for DS1 and DS2, but the yearning for another child would still have been there. As it is he is here and we love him dearly and actually his SN are manageable once we got over the initial shock. No child comes with a guarantee and who is to say DS1 and DS2 won't cause us equal amounts of anxiety overtime. Personally I feel so lucky that DS1 and DS2 have each other, they are the best of friends and I hope will be there for each other whatever life throws at them. I am sure they will better people and we will be a stronger family for having DS3 in our lives and I hope their bond with DS3 will grow to be just as strong as the one they share. Your children will benefit from having any sibling, be it one with SN or not. But yes I do feel happier that DS1 and DS2 will have each other to rely on in later life - but they also entertain each other now, which actually gives us more time for DS3. DS1 has a friend that has a brother with Aspergers and is in many ways a family with two only children, I do think this is harder for him than our situation. DS1 and DS2 have also widened our circle of friends through parents we have met up at school at a time when having a SN child might have made me very isolated. Just to reassure you that the baby bit gets easier every time, in my experience a third child is a doddle as you are such old hands at it, you do get by financially too. Also once life has thrown a real curve ball at you, you no longer sweat the small stuff. I find having DS3 has actually led me to be a more relaxed parent with DS1 and DS2, I see other parents micro managing every aspect of their (non SN) children's lives, comparing their achievements with others in the class (SATS being a recent example) and I just feel DS3 has given me a better perspective as to what is important in life. I just don't have the time to be a helicopter parent, which I am sure my children are grateful for, and actually DS1 and DS2 are doing just fine and have not really noticed that their parents have been on a rollercoaster ride for the past 6 months.

misscutandstick Sun 14-Jun-09 09:55:06

hi there

I have 5 sons...

DS1 is now 16 and has ADHD and the difference it has made to him to be big brother to 4 little ones has definately been the making of him. I REALLY dont think he would be as considerate and 'house trained' if he had been an 'only' child. Dont get me wrong he is still really impulsive, and often short tempered, but i do believe that because of his training he will make a lovely father one day when hes ready.

DS2 and DS3 arrived within 16mths of each other when DS1 was 5 - it was HAAAAARRRRRDDD work!!! But they have a brill relationship and definately worth the hard work.

Broodiness struck again when DS3 was 5yrs and DS4 arrived, shortly followed by a surprise DS5. By the time that DS5 was around a year old I felt that I was finished and our family complete.

It is only recently that its come to light that DS4 has ASD, and DS5 has global development delay and a host of other bits - meaning that mentally hes still VERY young for 3yrs. But that hasnt made me broody at all. I still feel 'done'.

I really do think that the 'done' feeling does arrive at some point. If you want to see others views on this particular feeling, pop across to 'larger families' they are a nice bunch who are happy to chat, its not as busy as this board tho, but raise some interesting thoughts.

Hope it works out for you both, I understand the broody feeling all too well and its not easy to ignore.

Dadcam Sun 14-Jun-09 23:00:42

Again, a lot of interesting points.

I guess it all comes down to instinct and I can't hope to know how broodiness feels!

Someone mentioned it above, and it was something else that I had forgotten that I feared - what if the 3rd becomes a 3rd AND a 4th?!! Twins, always lovely when they're someone elses wink

We're both reading all this with interest as some of you share/raise things I feel and others do for DW! Could come down best 3 of 5 in scissor, paper, stone..........

asdx2 Mon 15-Jun-09 08:45:42

I have five children my eldest has dyspraxia, my second and third are gifted and my fourth and fifth have moderate autism.
I would say that they have all had their moments even the NT ones. In fact son number two slept less and was more demanding at times than either of my two with autism.
Once we had our fourth child we decided that he would be our last. However fate intervened and I fell pregnant when number four was 8yo. Didn't think for a minute she would have autism but she has and tbh she has enriched our family's lives.
My son with autism has learnt so much by having a younger sibling, he can share and make allowances only for the youngest, he grew up a lot and became more independent and tolerant.
My oldest three benefited too the youngest is very different to number four who didn't like them anywhere near him whereas the youngest adores them all and I think she brought fun into what had become a very sombre household.
My advice would be to look not only at the difficulties another child could bring but also the positives. Good luck whatever you decide

HelensMelons Mon 15-Jun-09 16:51:54

It's a real dilemma isn't it - and there probably isn't a right or wrong answer.

You could write lists of pros and cons and try and be sensible, however, ultimately sometimes in life we have to be spontaneous.

I have 3 dc's, DS1 P5, DS2 (p4, ASD specialist unit) and DD3 P2. They are all funny wee articles and having a 3rd has honestly totally enriched our lives.

We have a noisy family and much as it is stressful at times it is also fun.

misscutandstick Mon 15-Jun-09 19:38:10

DH wanted me to add:

originally when we had just DS1, i really wanted 7. Yes thats right 7.

Once we got to 5, I felt 'done'. So the broodiness can go up as well as down (as they say grin).

DH was happy at 3, until DS3 was around 4yrs, and the broodiness set in when he saw friends children start to arrive (we were the first to have a family in our group of friends), and at that point he (tells me now shock) that he rather liked the idea of another 2 after seeing how close DS2 and DS3 were to each other.

We are lucky i suppose we both have the big family we wanted and feel done at the same time.

Hows it going your end DADCAM?

Peachy Mon 15-Jun-09 19:48:03

My advice would be to give it time and see.

We have four, we always wanted four though. DS1 has ASD, but wasn't picked up until years after ds2 was born: indeed we ahd ds3 at the time of diagnosis, although obviously we knew first.

DS4 however came after ds3's much more 'typical' asd (I won't say severe as although it technically is, he's no more challenging as ds1 is aggressive).

The gap from 1-3 is 3 yeras, from 1-4 8 years.

I knew I wanted the four we agreed on pre-marriage regardless, but DH changed hismind and needed lots of time- years- to come to terms with the whole new path of his life before committing, esp. as DS4 has a big increased risk of ASD.

Everyone assumes we wanted a girl but that's actually not true- makes things easier though. I expect there are poeple who think we made a foolish decision, nobody ever had the guts to say it to us but as a family ds4 has brightened our lives immensely and seems at 14 months (though ds3 regressed) to be very NT indeed.

We were given a 20- 80% risk of ds4 having asd: ds2 is at the start of dyspraxia screening so presumably that bumps the odds even higher but that's OK now, might have changed dh'smind pre conception, but now we're all smitten and actually ds4 brings out a whole new side in ds1

Peachy Mon 15-Jun-09 19:50:58

'You say:
"On the other hand, another "normal" sibling would clearly benefit DD1 and would also give her support in later life when we're no longer here."

What support? I am not sure I agree with this one. I now have DS2 NT, and I am not planning on having another child just to give DS2 support. That is just not the right reason to bring a child into the world. Hopefully you will do your best to ensure that DD2 will have all the support in place and DD1 can enjoy being her sibling and not her carer.'

there's a phrase, coined I think by jimjams as was, but basically I want the boys to care about ds3, not for him

Dadcam Mon 15-Jun-09 22:57:41

MissCut - things are good my end thanks! Going on hols soon, can't wait as we haven't had a break since Xmas which was when we got the Dx so not exactly a holiday - been a strange old time ever since as you all no doubt have shared in with your own kids.

Shh, don't say to DW, but there's a part of me mellowing slightly with having 3 - I grew up in a 2 child family as did practically everyone I know, including DW so I guess it was maybe just ingrained that 2, not 3, is the magic number.

However, my work is quite pressured and highly time consuming at home and the thought of a baby is a million miles away from where I want to be just now. I get to see little enough of the girls sometimes as it is never mind with having a baby. Plus I really want time to see how DD2 settles down - perhaps she won't be as time consuming as I fear as she is said to be high achieving within the spectrum. And therefore there may be some scope for another "bundle of joy".

But DW is super keen to push on and have another. And I guess the sooner you start the sooner the dependancy bit is over.

Regarding the care thing though, I do think there is some merit in it. Not having another specifically for that purpose I mean, but it must be hard for a sibling when their parents are no longer around and if they have no other siblings to share what could be a burden. But yes, we would certainly hope to have support in place for her so DD1 can live her own life regardless.

I think Peachy/Jimjams are right - care about, not for, is what you would hope for.

Of course, my thus far 100% record of gettin her preggers may elude us this time wink

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