Special Needs

Is it selfish to still want more children?

My sweet first born was dx a few months ago. He is mild on the spectrum and is making huge strides already. Language went from under five words to maybe 200 in two months and finally starting to use them communicatively. He now calls "Mommy!" its like music to my ears. He receives Two ABA sessions daily and will add three more soon. We are making plans to send him to a SE preschool in fall, but therapists think he may not qualify and may only need an aid at a typical preschool. We are still researching and exploring best options...regardless he will still receive a few private ABA sessions at that time. So, my question is: is it selfish to give him another sibling? We want three and feel like a larger family will only add to his potential social difficulties. Although he hasn't displayed those behaviors yet. I am just torn, and we are both getting older so decisions should be made soon (I'm 35-dH 43). I am also worried about the 5 percent increased risk...although odds are in our favor. Luckily DS is hitting milestones perfectly and is very engaged, we keep a watchful eye. Any experiences with these feelings?
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Re: Is it selfish to still want more children?

  • I cannot find edit, but I meant DS2 is currently hitting milestones.
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  • funchickenfunchicken member
    edited January 2014
    My older DD (5.5) has an ADHD and SPD diagnosis. She also shows signs of anxiety, and that's the main thing we've been having to address at school right now. My younger DD (almost 3) is NT, and I'm due with DD3 in 6 weeks. Honestly, I feel like DD2 is the best thing that could have happened to DD1. DD1 has had to learn to be more flexible and patient. It's done a lot for her tactile sensitivity--before DD2 was born DH and I were the only people she was physically affectionate with. It was amazing to see how comfortable she was/is hugging and kissing DD2. I don't know how things will play out as they get older, but right now I'm really glad they have each other. ETA: to answer your question--I don't think it's selfish to want another :)
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  • Thank you so much for sharing. I guess it is normal to have doubts.
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  • My oldest is mostly nt (minus some mild sensory issues and was a late talker) and my youngest has asd and epilepsy. There has not been a single therapy tool better than her sibling. He's unintentionally always pushing her to learn new things. She's learned play with kids her age can be fun. The one downfall is that he does speak for her a lot--it's been a tough habit to break. We are considering one more but we are going to see how she does once we have half a year of preschool under our belts. My one big fear is that if the third is disabled that will be a lot on ds when he's an adult--sure we can save money for their lifelong care but DS will still likely have a big role in that care. That's been my biggest concern even though I know the odds are in my favor I wouldn't have another child with asd. It's a really difficult decision with pros and cons on both side. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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  • -auntie- said:
     don't know what 5% figure you are citing. Studies coming out of IAN puts the risk of a second child on spectrum at around 20% (this is an average that isn't adjusted for age or gender); some studies I've seen go as high as 30% (not sure I buy this number).

    @-auntie-, is it possible it could go as high as 30% adding in other factors, such as advanced age of the father, or other family history? In our case, I can't help but to add it all up: one child already on the spectrum, DH is over 40, DH is from Australia with a long family history of anxiety, depression, and who knows what else (estranged brother and eccentric uncles who are all unemployed and live off SSI disability).

    To the OP- I feel the opposite, selfish for not wanting another child. I know DS suffers from extreme only child syndrome, and would really benefit from sibling interaction. He has even asked for a sibling so he isn't so bored. My son is "mildly" affected, but even in mainstream kindergarten we are going through an extremely rough period. "Mildly" affected still means a struggle every single day.

  • Wow. Thank you for all of the information. I am now reading closer to 20 times more likely than a child in the general population. I guess I have a ton more research to do. I would take five more like my son if I could, but at the same time only want to do what's best for him. Sigh...
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  • I think it's so utterly personal that it's really hard to say. 

    We had DD2 before we got DD1's dx of ASD. We got DD1's official dx on DD2's first birthday, in fact. DD2 is NT. 

    DD2 has had an incalculable impact on DD1, positively. Having a playmate/a near-peer to push her, to disrupt things, to play with day in and day out -- all great things. We try to pay very close attention to DD2's needs as well, but honestly, they get along quite well about 85% of the time and the times of conflict are important for both of them to work on social skills/sharing/etc. DD1 adores her little sister, and DD2 really looks up to DD1. 

    That said ... I really have a very hard time considering a third. DH would be on board in a second. But I feel like it would really be my future at risk. DH would never have to quit work to be a caregiver. It would be me. His life would be affected if we were to have a severely disabled/profoundly autistic child, don't get me wrong, but he wouldn't have the majority burden of caregiving, arranging and transporting to/from therapies, and all the day-in-day-out grind. 

    At this point, we can do most things that typical families do with very few accommodations for DD1. We are at a point currently where DD1 is thriving with little private therapy, which eases some of the financial concerns, but who knows how long that will last? I have a ton of fear around what might happen if we were to have a third, and I don't think I'll ever be at peace with rolling the dice. 

    I understand why people do, though. Our odds aren't any worse than they were with DD2, we just didn't know at the time; we got a wonderful, NT child and the odds are very good that that would happen again. Another NT sibling would be awesome, fantastic. I do not want another child with SN. I don't think I can handle it. Because I feel so strongly about that, we won't be having a third. 

    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
  • We are one and done. Factors like my DH's own Asperger's, our ages (35 and 40) too many cousins with dx to count tell me my second child would absolutely have autism, and likely be more severe than my DD. 
    I know logically that isn't true but in my heart I believe I couldn't do it. But you have to do what's best for your family. Only you know the answer but, no, you are definitely not selfish by any means.m
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  • JoJoGeeJoJoGee member
    edited January 2014
    To answer your title question:  I think it is always selfish to want a child.  But, that doesn't mean it's bad.  In fact, if you are having a child for some other reason (to appease your spouse or your parents, or society), then you are having a child for the wrong reasons.  Just MHO.

    But, I understand your dilemma.  You have more than you and your spouse to think about now. The only thing I have to offer is... Only you know what you can and cannot handle.  And, aside from your DS, you alone know what he can and cannot handle.  Sorry, no real advice.  We are currently having a similar discussion in my house.  I always wanted a large family.  Now, I'd be satisfied with two.  But, there is a 20 - 30% chance of developing HELLP again and needing to deliver early.  Could we handle another child like our DD?  Certainly (hell, we already have the ramp and half the equipment).  Could DD handle another child in the house?  She would be a fabulous big sister!  But, could we handle a child who is more impaired than DD?  I'm sure we would adjust.  But I just don't know how well.

    GL in your decision!
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  • I have two sons exactly 2.5 years apart. My oldest has been diagnosed with LCH (Langerhan's Cell Histiocytosis - rare blood disorder at 6 weeks old), Apraxia of speech, SPD, ADHD, and finally PDD-NOS (ASD). My younger son is completely typical. I often comment to DH that parenting the 2nd is like have my first all over again because I have experienced milestones according to the text book. Having the 2nd child was absolutely the best decision.  
  • Our oldest DD is 6 and NT though she is showing signs of mild learning disabilities and having trouble with phonics and reading.  Our DS 5 is on the Autism spectrum but very high functioning, bright, and affectionate.  We still had trouble with the same thoughts you are having.  It took us over three years to decide to try for another child.  We are expecting a DD in April.  I want you to know that you are not selfish you are being a good mom by thinking of every outcome.  Both our children are delighted to have a sibling on the way.  We got our reassurance by exposing our children to infants in true family life through a daycare and through their baby cousin to observe the outcome.  I do think that it is a little different to add a third than make an only child a sibling.
  • It's a very personal decision.  DH and I were on the fence about trying to have baby #2 when Chris first entered Early Intervention.  At that point, maybe (probably) we were in denial, and we thought he'd get some therapy, his speech would pick up and he'd catch up.  So we got pregnant.  I was I think 3 months pregnant when he received his PDD-NOS (this will probably be ASD but we can't call it that yet) dx.  I don't know what would've happened if Chris dx had come 3 months earlier.

    FFWD 2+ years and we've got 2 little ones.  Chris and his little brother who we'll get evaluated soon.  He seems NT to me but it doesn't hurt to check.  I'd say that's probably the scariest part of it all - wondering if your next child will also be special needs and what that would mean.  Has DS2 been the 'best therapy' for Chris?  Some days yes, some days no.  He tolerates his little brother but gets very distressed when his little brother cries - which makes the fact that his little brother has entered the tantrum phase all the more interesting.  They fight over toys like typical siblings which is cute but it can be hard some days.

    I do wonder what DS2's life will be like down the line - having myself grown up with a special needs twin sister.  It was hard and not something I ever wanted for a child of mine and yet here I am.  If you do decide to have more children, this will be something to consider, especially if one is SN and the other(s) is not.  You need to be mindful of the impact of that on all siblings.  It's rough but not insurmountable.  

    Best of luck with your decision!
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  • Interestingly enough, this popped up on my news feed today.  It's about deciding whether or not to have another child when you have a child with special needs.  I thought it was lovely.

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