Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How do you know when you're ready?

Zac and I have been discussing future children a lot lately. Originally we had planned on having a large family - 4 or 5 kiddos....now, we're not so sure. We also wanted to have the really close together....now we're not so sure. So after you have a child who is diagnosed with T21 or any disability for that matter, how do you decide if and when to have more children.

I don't think it would be a big deal if our 2nd child was diagnosed with T21, but I think I would have a personal problem with it, like something was "wrong" with me...and not sure how I would handle that.

We have also wanted to adopt someday, but right now I think if I wanted to adopt I would want to adopt another child with T21 and I think I would feel guilty adopting a child that was "normal"....but we do have a desire to adopt....

I do have the desire to know what raising a "normal" child is like. What it is like to bring a baby home from the hospital in a couple of day, what it is like to not have appointments to go to weekly, this list could keep going forever.....

So how do you know? I have come across several other blogs of families who have children with T21 as their first child and go onto have more children....how did you decide? I sometimes feel bad that I did this to Addie, that I made it harder for her than all of her peers...she has to work so much harder...why? Why did God chose her for that extra chromosome?

I know I'm rambling, but if you are a T21 mom I would really REALLY enjoy some advise, insight, whatever....and feel free to send to my email.


  1. Your daughter is beautiful! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    As far as having another child after having one with ds, we are on that journey now. I also knew I wanted 3-4 children but I must admit I was a little nervous about having another one. I wasn't afraid of the possibility of having another child with DS it was more of entering the pregnancy journey again. We didn't find out Matthew had ds and duodenal atresia until after he was born although some of our tests came back peculilar but the doctors assured us everything was going to be fine. I'm 6 months into this pregnancy (due April) and I still get a bit antsy. Matthew will be almost 3 when our baby girl arrives. I'm looking forward to having another sibling for him. Sorry I'm rambling (and probably not making sense). Good to "meet" you in the blog world:)

  2. I would love to have another baby, so I do understand how you're feeling. I doubt we'll have any more, however, because we have 6 (!!) now, and yeah, Finn's Ds and my age (which is probably responsible for Finn's Ds) are big factors. I struggle with it though. There is a part of me that feels sad that this was my "swan song" so to speak. Sometimes I think that if I could have one more healthy, "normal" baby, there would be a measure of healing in that. And yes, I feel guilty for feeling that way.

    Anyway, I know I've been no help in your decision, but just wanted to say that I understand.

  3. We always said we wanted 4 kids. After Kennedy was born with Ds we questioned that decision. Even though our chances were still low for having another child with Ds we weren't sure it would be fair to Kennedy. Didn't she deserve as much attention as we could give her? However, we decided that we were ready when we knew without a shadow of a doubt that we would be THRILLED even if our next baby had Ds too. Keeghan is exactly 3 years younger than Kennedy and he is GREAT for her! She is great for him! I love watching them play together... fight together... laugh together... much like my older two did when they were toddlers. I definitely recommend it, when you're ready! :o)

  4. Erin,
    There is an award for you on my blog:)

  5. Since the only one of our kids that was truly planned was Makela- I don't know what to tell you. I would love to have another babe but my dh isn't in such a hurry to increase family size again. So Dom may be our last babe....Do it when you're ready, we waited a long time between kids and feel that it was best for us. We had the chance to be there for them during the younger years, without there being too much competition for attention. (oldest is 14, then 8, then 4)....As they get older, the gap is more challenging but it works for us.

  6. My youngest daughter was diagnosed with down syndrome at birth, she was our fifth child. I am so blessed to have fallen in love five different times!!! Each time was different as each soul is different. I know that our family is complete, but I can honestly say it never felt that way before.... If the birth order was different I would hope that we would have continued to complete the family we were meant to have!

  7. Hi! I have a son and a step-daughter...and just had little Emily in October...I saw you blog and have to say that I am in the same situation. I wanted to have another one but now I am not sure. I am stll dealing with the fact that my daughter has DS. Just remember, God picks only the best for special angels. Here is a poem I found

    God Chooses a Mom for a Disabled Child

    by Erma Bombeck

    Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit. This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen ? Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

    "Armstrong, Beth; son; patron saint, Matthew."

    "Forrester, Marjorie; daughter; patron saint, Cecelia."

    "Rudledge, Carrie; twins; patron saint... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."

    Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."

    The angel is curious. "Why this one, God ? She's so happy."

    "Exactly," smiles God.

    "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who does not know laughter ? That would be cruel."

    "But has she patience ?" asks the angel.

    "I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independance. She'll have to teach the child to live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

    "But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

    God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."

    The angel gasps, "Selfishness ? Is that a virtue ?"

    God nods. "If she can't seperate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, there is a woman I will bless with a child less then perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it ! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.

    "I will permit her to see clearly the things I see --- ignorance, cruelty, prejudice --- and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side."

    "And what about her patron saint ?" asks the angel, his pen poised in midair.

    God smiles. " A mirror will suffice."

  8. Erin, this is a popular question. I've received alot of emails and such since we announced we were pregnant earlier in the year.

    For us, we didn't really discuss it. I thought I wanted to have more, because I didn't think it was fair to Braska to leave her an only child. And honestly, very soon after she was born, I felt we should have one close to her so that she could really model after someone and have a sibling to grow up with. It turned out that the girls will be 27 months apart, and that's pretty good. I wouldn't want them to be farther apart, in my opinion, just so that they can be close enough to grow together through the preschool years.

    I have seen quite a few stats about the benefits of kids with DS that have siblings fairly close in age, either older or younger, as they have constant stimulation and motivation to learn and grow. Kind of like built in 24-hour therapy. :o) I think it may make ALL the difference for Braska and her feeding issues, for example.

    We aren't afraid at all about having another kid with DS, in fact, my husband wanted to "order" one if he could. We've learned that we can handle anything, with God's help, and it's not scary at all, no matter what the diagnosis might be. We expect Kinlee to be as normal as she can be, but we don't really think about it, honestly.

    Addie will be a GREAT sister when the right time comes. All I can say is please don't let fear make your decisions... look how far you've come, and imagine how much you've learned to take into this next phase! :o)

    That's just my 2 cents!

  9. No advice here, just maybe some encouragement. Not many of us are ever really positive when to or if to have another child. Even when I was pregnant with the 2nd and the 3rd (and they were planned), my emotions ran the gamut from excited and happy, to nervous and worried ("what have I done!"). But they're all here and I wouldn't trade a thing! Somehow it just works out. Addie will be a wonderful sister, and you guys are already terrific parents; I know you'll be happy whatever you decide.

  10. We're one of the ones who had a first child w/T21 and then just recently had a 2nd child. I always wanted more than one child, and figured I would have two. After Kayla was born, I did have doubts. I did have some fear about having another child w/Ds, or any other trisomy, but doing some research I found that it's really rare (not to say it doesn't happen) to happen again. I remember people making comments after Kayla was born about our 2nd child etc and inside I was seething, thinking how can you talk to me about having another child?! But I might have felt like that even if she didn't have Ds, since I had just given birth! Anyway, we did eventually (obviously!) decide we still wanted a second child, and I had hoped for them to be closer in age, but it took over a year for us to get pg, so they are almost 5 yrs apart. I don't think there is any "perfect" age difference, there are pros and cons for having them 2 yrs apart, or 5 yrs apart. I don't think there are any sure signs for knowing when you're "ready" - it just seemed to be a gradual understanding of ok, let's do this! LOL I just knew that I wanted Kayla to have a sibling. Good luck with your decision!