There is something I haven’t really heard anyone ever talk about in the world of parenting disabled children. There are brief mentions of it in passing with doctors but no one says much about it. For me, talking about it at all is taking a huge leap of faith and exposing my soul. For some reason, I feel drawn to write about it now. Maybe it’s for my own good and a way to help let go. Maybe it’s to help someone else feel they’re not alone in this. I don’t know. I only know I need to write what’s in my heart.
I have always loved children. It’s no mistake that for my chosen profession before having my children, I was a Nanny and a Preschool teacher. 0-3 have always been my favorite ages to work with.
I had my children just 17 months apart. I was very overwhelmed with 2 kids under two and a husband deployed to Iraq. D’s major constipation issues had just been discovered (autism was still unknown) and he was screaming and crying all the time. Having any more kids were going to have to wait a few years.
The plan was never to just have two kids. I’d never had a set number, but 2 was just not it. Fast forward a few years. I found myself heartbroken with the truth that while I ache to hold another baby in my arms it isn’t going to happen. R has been lobbying for a younger sibling for years, praying every night that it will happen. D is in a very difficult place and I do not have the mental and emotional strength to be able to deal with another child full time.
There is real and deep grief that comes with this. Tears have watered my pillow many nights. I don’t feel our family is complete. But I also know it would put me completely over the edge if I was dealing with a 3rd child on top of all I deal with now. I spent over a year furious with God that this was the position I found myself in. I have found that it is not a lack of faith or a lack of bucking up and pushing through, it’s a process of coming to know myself and God’s plan for my family (even if I don’t understand it at this time), and accepting my limits. And that is hard.
Sometimes I see beautiful little babies and I ache to hold them and sometimes their mother’s willingly oblige. Sometimes though the opposite hits me out of the blue and I am so jealous that the sight of that mother and baby are too hard for me to endure. Grief doesn’t make sense. It’s just grief. Sometimes, like Sunday, as a kind mother shared her baby with me and I cuddled it, another, well-meaning person says, “Looks like it’s time for another baby for you.” And my heart hurts.
Many families like ours have had to deal with making this decision. For some, the risk is far too great that the next child will have the same or worse problems and there is diagnosis’ out there far worse than what we face. For others, they are just stretched to their limits and that is as far as they can go. Whatever the reason, as I see people speaking up about miscarriages, rainbow babies and secondary infertility which I have dealt with; I want to recognize all the parents out there who’s plan was never to stop where they are, who would give anything to be able to cuddle a brand new life that is all their’s again. I see you. I understand. I’ll pray for you to find that elusive peace too.