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A second child or not???

Benko1 Community member Posts: 6 Listener
I have a beautiful son who is nearly 4 years old and am very proud of him. He was borm 10.5 weeks early and suffered an IVH and was subsequently diagnosed with PVL and CP. We were lucky in some ways as we pretty much knew from birth the likelihood of CP so have dealt with it and have had both good and bad times in the last few years.

We are now at the point where we need to decide if we have more children or not. I have always wanted 2 as i think having only one can lead to a spoilt child. However i find my feelings all over the place - I do want another child but part of me feels guilty - like having another one may seem like we are not happy with the one we have and we are having another one to make up for it. I don't want my son growing up thinking that - that he wasn't good enough. Also, would it be fair on either of them - as our time will be split between them and time is precious as it is. But at the same time I don;t want my son to grow up and eventually be alone (after myself and my husband are no longer here).

And on a practical note - how would i be able to leave the house with them both - i.e. I would have a buggy to push (and a some point probably a wheelchair) for my son and then a pram for the baby. I would always need someone with me. I do have a very supportive family - but I don't want to lose my independence. Also not sure how i would manage even just being heavily pregnant lifting/carrying my son and putting heavy buggy up and down etc.....

As you can probably see - lots of mixed feelings.

Just wondered how others have made a decision and how they have coped practically,.....


  • Evette
    Evette Community member Posts: 2 Listener

    Whilst i was reading your post i found myself smiling as all of your concerns were those that i have had in the past and sometimes still do....

    I have a daughter of 3 1/2 with Cerebral Palsy who dosent stand or walk. I now have a son who is 14 months old (and is now walking around.)

    I will be completely honest with you that some days are hard work. Very challenging. I believe its like having twins! 2 children that dont walk. 2 trips down the stairs from bedrooms at the beginning of the day. When we go out - 2 trips to the car with each child - unloading 2 children and putting them in a double buggy. Hard work but all worth every minuite.

    Potty training was a challenge too - when we were out and my daughter needed the toilet trying to get a double buggy into a public toilet was a nightmare. But we managed i! Stressful as it may have been then i look back now and smile.

    Yes sometimes you need to lean on people - family & friends. But nobody ever questions this. They understand and see how difficult things can be having 2 children let alone one with a disability. Every age has it pros and cons but somehow we as parents just deal with it... I would say defintly have another child if that is your wish! Its worth every minuite. I wouldn't change it for the world!

    Good luck and dont think too much about it i am sure whatever decision you make will work out just fine,

  • callieco
    callieco Community member Posts: 4 Courageous
    Hi Benko

    I can't give any advice on what it's like to have another child when you have one with CP, but come back to me in a few months and I will. My son is 3.8 years old, so not that far off your son's age and has diplegic CP, and also can't stand or walk unaided. I don't know what PVL is, sorry, so I can't judge if your situation is worse than mine - my son can use a Kaye walker for a period of time. He wasn't diagnosed until 21 months though. He was also prem, born at 31+4 (I just got past that two days ago with this pregnancy, which I was very relieved at). I have all the worries you mention - how am I going to manage to get out of the house (I'm currently trying to find a double buggy big enough for my son to fit in because he is very tall and heavy for his age, unfortunately). I too have had the 'will it be taking time away from him' dilemma of having a second child, given the extra attention he needs, but I have never had any doubt that having a second child is what I wanted. Anyone with more than one child has to split time between them. You should not feel guilty for wanting more than one child - you say that was situation before you had your son, that you planned to have two. Most parents want more than one child - why should you be any different? Your son may feel the lack of a sibling more than having one, possibly. I always knew I wanted more than one, and if I hadn't had fertility issues, in an ideal world I would have had three by now. I started trying to have another very early on, and it was possibly a good thing that I didn't get pregnant when I hoped given my son wasn't diagnosed until quite late (although it would have made the double buggy hunt easier!), but since I have known about his CP, I have felt even more strongly that I don't want him to be an only child, for exactly the reasons you state - I don't want him to be alone when my partner (who is much older than me) and I are no longer here. I get panicky just typing that thinking about it. At present I have no idea what level of independence he may or may not have when older but I will worry less if he has an able-bodied brother or sister around, assuming that this baby is ok of course - that's another lot of worry altogether. I'm also hoping that me having the baby will make him more independent, which will be a good thing for him. A friend of mine has a son with a very similar diagnosis to mine, who is now seven and an able-bodied daughter exactly the same age as my son, and she said she found he made big leaps forward once she had the second one. There's about the same age gap as there will be between mine, a few months less maybe.

    As for the how we will cope part of it, it's going to be hard, there's no question of that. I don't have any family living immediately to hand. My mother (a widow) is 30 miles away and already has a lot to do with my single parent sister's children. My other sister is 150 miles away with two children, one of whom also has special needs. My partner has no living parents and his brother and sister are even further, and to be honest wouldn't be much help even if they were near. Not ideal. You say you have good family support, so I assume you mean nearby. Use it. That's what families are for, in the best circumstances. We have got so used to being our little nuclear families that we forget that until very recently families were more like tribes taking care of each other, and that's how it still should be in my opinion.

    I hope you can come to a decision that you are happy with. All I'd say is, don't deprive yourself of something you really want, or you could end up resenting your son in years to come for it. You would definitely be going into it with your eyes open from the sound of things. It might be hard when the baby is little, but they only stay small for a relatively short period of time as you know. I wish you good luck with your choice.
  • b8s
    b8s Community member Posts: 33 Listener
    This is the hardest decision you will ever make, but it really has to be your decision. In some respects I was lucky as Alice is my fifth child, and I was already 24wks pregnant with my sixth before any concerns were raised over Alice's development, I was never faced with the choice you are now.
    What I can tell you is that all of your concerns are totally justified. Alice is now 31/2 and Henry is 2yrs 2mths. Due to the type of seating Alice needed I was unable to use a double buggy and have had to carry Henry firstly in a sling and then a back-pack, to say it was hard is an understatement. He now faces all weathers riding on a buggy board attatched to her wheelchair. I often wonder how he feels about the amount of time he spends occupying himself, but he's never known any different and the older children are really great at replacing me. Alice thrives on Henry's company and they have a great relationship.
    No-one can advise you what to do, but the reality is if you do have another child it will be hard, both physically and emotionally, equally not having another child, if that is what you really want will also take it's toll.
    once you are certain of what you want be sure to let people know how you are feeling, and if you have another child be sure to ask for any help you need, struggling does not make you stronger, just exhausted.
  • Benko1
    Benko1 Community member Posts: 6 Listener

    I appreciate all of the very honest replies received so far - it does make feel better as I know I am not just being a drama queen and others have felt the same things too. Reading all of these posts too makes me realise how lucky I am to have my mum and sister both living within a mile from us. They are always there to support us and have never let us down - I guess I just sometimes feel like they shouldn't have to help out as he is not their responsibility (even though I know they don't actually think that)!

    I know it will be very hard for at leat the first 12/18 month until the baby is walking and I do think it is a relatively small amount of tme compared to the many years later which should in theory be much easier. I am pretty sure i do want to go ahead and have another child - maybe the hardest part now is to convince my husband :)))
    Thanks again xx
  • phillips123
    phillips123 Community member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi Benko1 I am writing this with my 4 month on my lap and my 4 year old upstairs asleep who has CP.

    I when through all of what you aure now before Louie came along, but it is the best thing we did.

    It was really tough being heavliy pregrant with Kai, he can not walk,talk sit up unaided, so he needs help with everything.

    I too have a fantastic family, my mum and my husbands family so they were there for me through it all. Days it was tough them came around to help.

    Had a C section so couldnt carry Kai for 6 weeks, that was tough, but you know what time flys!!!!! NOw I look back and all the worries you have, I had too!!!

    Your son will be at full time school so that would be a great help. Kai starts on Monday so I know I will have time to do things with Louie. Then when we pick Kai up, that will be our time.

    You can get a Puggy pod to attach to pushchairs, still looking into it so will let you know. I always need someone with me if I want to go out, but to be honest it takes all day to get sorted!! Or I get mum around and pop out on my own, gives me a break!!!

    I have to say it was the best decision we made. So great to have a little boy doing all the things Kai was suppose to do. Has been heartbreaking at the same time, but long term will be great for Kai too to have a brother to watch.

    We are already thinking of number 3, thats how amazing it has been for us.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Take care, Gill
  • joden
    joden Community member Posts: 12 Listener
    hi, i have a 5 year old and a eleven mth old. Yasmin was due last oct and dennis went back to school sept so timimg sometimes is a good thing! Dennis has severe cp and 100% dependant on me so went through all the questions you did, but now i know having yasmin and him having a sister was the best thing. I took yasmin out in the days dennis was at school, but if he was ill we would all stay at home, by the time these summer hoildays came rould yasmin was able to sit in the bottom bit of a phil and teds buggy and dennis sits in top bit with his feed bag in basket underneath. Thats how ive got through these summer hols! i know it wont last past this year as their both be heavier but hopefully yasmin will more waking by then.
    I do find it hard when dennis is ill and needs me 100% and i cant do alot with yasmin and tiredness gets taken to a new level but the good things outway the bad.

    Good luck with your desision

    Josie x
  • navergater
    navergater Community member Posts: 1 Listener
    now 63 years of age siting hear alone if onley i had a siberlin
  • Benko1
    Benko1 Community member Posts: 6 Listener
    Rob - I am sorry to hear that - that is exactly what i do not want for my son. Thank you for your honest reply ;))
  • rachelalger
    rachelalger Community member Posts: 3 Listener

    my name is rachel and my son is 6 now with quad cp totally dependant on us for his care,it was a hospital neglagent case,we had deciced to have a second child by c section so we did and he is now 4 and then we enjoyed them both so much we now have a 3rd he is 2 next month,yes it is hard work i only had my mum to help my family disappeared when he was born,we survived and we only in the past year have had couple of evenings help and my husband works very hard and long hours but we are now starting to enjoy getting out and going places,you will do what you feel you can cope with and good luck to you,but when we did have the 2nd we did feel a bit guilty he would be lonely but that wasnt the only reason we had another we just enjoyed them and 3 boys what a hand full!!!

    but i wouldnt change it for nothing

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