I awoke this morning to the sounds of my two boys laughing together, moments before they burst into my room to snuggle together on my bed. Observing their love for each other, my mind slipped back to my pregnancy with J.
I was just out of my 1st trimester with J when we learned about M’s autism diagnosis. Now don’t get me wrong: I was thrilled to be having a second baby. Never had I thought that my life plans would include my doctors clearing me for a second pregnancy, and I didn’t take that opportunity and gift lightly. But honestly? I felt a lot of guilt.
I worried we were going to ruin M’s life by having a second child. M would need a lot of therapy: how could we balance all of that with the needs of a newborn, not to mention a newborn that had a 50% chance of having medical issues itself? And the new baby! Would s/he get everything it needed if we were so busy taking care of M? Would s/he resent elder brother for his differences?
Other parents at M’s autism school tried to reassure me that siblings are good for each other and that a sibling would probably even help M develop new skills. I wasn’t so sure though, particularly after we had such a rocky start when J was finally born.
I wish a crystal ball could have shown me the life we’re living now. My sons adore each other. Sure, they squabble a kazillion times a day, as most young siblings do, but they are truly best friends. It was the highlight of my day Saturday to hear how protective M was of his brother at the adoption conference. He made sure all the babysitters knew about J’s food allergy and he played with J and comforted him when he was sad. Finding a balance with therapists and doctors’ appointments has not been perfect, but I feel like we’re in a good place.
I wish I hadn’t spent all that time worrying.