Loving Two

It took time.

My second child, a girl, was born in January 2015. I felt the same instant rush of love I felt with my son two years previously – the same desperate need to protect, whatever the cost. Though, I know, this doesn’t always come at first.

But I would be fooling myself if I said I felt *exactly* the same about both my children instantly. My son was already a person – walking, talking. He had favourites and things that made him happy and things that made him sad.

My daughter cried. A lot. She had severe silent reflux and would sometimes scream from 2pm until she finally wore herself out at around 11pm. It broke my heart – but I found it hard to… enjoy her…in the same way my little boy brought joy with every new thing he learned. He found it incredibly difficult. He cried whenever she cried, retreated into himself.

And then, when my daughter was only 6 months old, we realised there was something we needed to address with our boy – peculiar ways of speaking (which I still think are wonderful) obsessive behaviours, developmental delays with his fine and gross motor skills.

In August, he was diagnosed with Autism. We are still awaiting the results from his genetic tests. That knowledge has hung over me for 3 months. For 3 months, it has felt like it has been harder to catch my breath – like I imagine being at high altitude might feel. It still feels that way. I am not sure it will ever stop – when the results come, when he’s a grown man.

I felt unbearably guilty. Guilty because my son needed me, all of me – I thought, and I had brought another little human in the world to disrupt his routine and take away the support he needed 24/7.

Unbearably guilty because my daughter was my child too. I should love her the same. I shouldn’t resent her needing my time, resent her. But I did. Just a little bit. I am not proud. I was terrified for my little boy and I just wanted him in my arms all the time. Often I couldn’t hug him at all because his sister needed me and he wouldn’t come near me while she was there.

There’s a poem that does the rounds when you are expecting your second child called ‘Loving Two’Β . I read it when I was pregnant and it comforted me. But as the situation developed with my young children I began to fear that I would never feel the way it said I should.

My son needed me so much – would I always feel like I wanted to prioritise his needs, but couldn’t, then feel guilty, then rush to my daughter, then feel resentment that I was so torn?

And then, just a few months ago, my son made my daughter laugh. Not just a giggle, but a long, drawn out, belly laugh that made her little face turn pink with joy. Her laugh made him laugh and so he did it again. And she laughed again.

My daughter laughs often. She slides around the bath like a wet ferret, giggling uncontrollably to herself and hissing and clicking and clacking and gurgling as she learns to use her voice. And I love her. Desperately, madly – as my child, as a person.

I love the way she loves my son – another who will love him unconditionally and maybe help to alleviate the loneliness I fear he might face. He still struggles with her. He doesn’t understand her, I think. But we are moving forward together and his acceptance is coming slowly.

I love my children. Differently. Equally. Infinitely.


For an update on this story you may enjoy ‘What if he never loves her?’

Loving Two- adapting to two parents. A look at how having a second child can change your parenting and family.

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30 thoughts on “Loving Two

  1. Beautifully written. So very simple and eloquent. Looking from the outside in, I think there is still so much fear and lack of understanding around autism. It seems that you have nailed a very basic principle though of starting with love. Looking forward to reading more.

  2. How lovely that laugh must have sounded to both you and your son. It sounds like your daughter may be a tonic to both of you. Please don’t feel guilty. We can’t be everything to everyone, much as we would love to be. You’re doing great xx #ShareWithMe

  3. How wonderfully written. It is such a battle of emotions all round isn’t it. I hope you do not have to wait too much longer for the results. But be warned you will probably ride another roller coaster of emotions either way they go.

  4. Such a lovely heartfelt post. I have two and it is definitely hard to juggle sometimes but I know what you mean – I love them both with all my heart, yet in a completely different way. x

  5. Oh this is really beautiful. Toby too had terrible silent reflux and I don’t think even now we’ve fully recovered emotionally from the days and nights on end of screaming. It’s wonderful that your son and daughter have developed such a lovely bond and she will undoubtedly help him with the difficulties that come with autism. Love and best wishes to you all xxx

  6. Beautiful post and I understand, balancing two can be so hard and you really do flip flop back and forwards between who needs you the most and guilt about who brings you theist enjoyment at that moment. It must be even harder with autism thrown into the mix. Watching the love they have for each other really does help though and seeing them have fun together does are it worthwhile xx #ssaa

  7. The challenges that are bought about by one or more of your children having autism can be huge, and it does feel like they need ALL out your time and attention. I sympathise with you for feeling torn between the needs of your son and daughter, but glad that they are now building a bond.
    Thanks for sharing with us, Tracey xx #abitofeverything

  8. a lovely read. i don’t (yet) have two but you have eloquently and honestly detailed some of the difficult things you have faced this past year.

    i can imagine the guilt you must have felt at being torn between your children who both had unexpected needs. just the reflux or autism diagnosis alone would have been tough and demanding but having to cope with both at once plus your regular life takes supermum and you’ve managed to fill those boots πŸ˜„.

    it seems like your dedication is starting to pay off with both children learning how to interract with each other, make each other laugh and enjoy one another. yes your son may find it hard to form relationships with people during his life, but, like you say, they will love each other unconditionally. how lovely it must be for you to see that sibling relationship start to blossom.
    looking forward to more xx

  9. Oh hun what a beautifully written post so heartfelt and honest. Many feel this way you are not alone at all. Sounds like their relationship is building. It’s hard going back and forth between the guilty resentment you are only trying to do it all and be all for them both. Having two can be hard and we love them the same and differently for every child/baby is completely different. I have two 20 months apart and I know a little of feeling torn between the two. My son has life threatening allergies asthma attacks and skin problems and other healthy issues that make me sometimes focus a lot on him especially if we are out and not my daughter I feel so guilty that I am not giving her what I am giving him in terms of my attention and time. They are both loved by you and cared for that’s all that matters they will know that. You are doing a great job. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me blog hop. I hope to see you again this week for another great round. #sharewithme

  10. This post has me in tears, and I have had all of this thoughts, still do. Our little lady came along after diagnosis, in-fact we were told not to have anymore children. I’m glad we didn’t listen. But I have terrible conflicting emotions, she doesn’t get enough attention as he needs so much etc. But in her own right she now demands so much of me. I love them so much and love mow much they love each other.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

  11. Reblogged this on homemade naturally and commented:
    A beautiful story of Love and yes trials of being a parent. My grand daughter is autistic so maybe this resonated even more because I understand how I felt as the grandmother of two equally wonderful grand daughters

  12. My oldest son was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3 1/2 years old and I was terrified to have another child for the same reasons you mention. I knew my son needed me fully committed to whatever therapies, doctor’s appointments, and IEP meetings that had now come into our lives. I even took two semesters off from college to take that time to study Autism because I knew nothing about it and do what needed to be done for him. When I found out I was pregnant a year later, I was nervous but I also wanted to have a sibling for him. I grew up with three younger siblings and wanted to offer him that bond. The moment his little brother was born, My oldest just loved him and cared for him! I remember every time his little brother cried he would stop whatever he was doing to go check on him and comfort him. He didn’t speak very well then but he just next to him and held his hand until I gave him a bottle or changed his diaper or whatever he needed. I also worried that I wouldn’t love my youngest son as much as I love my oldest but when he was born, all those doubts left me. The love I feel isn’t less or more, it’s just different. They are two completely different boys with different needs (my youngest has ADHD). Now my oldest is fourteen and my youngest is nine and the bond they have warms my soul so much! The five year difference hasn’t dampened their bond in any way. Their very different needs hasn’t dampened it in any way either. My youngest looks up to his big brother and his love for him is unconditional as is my oldest son’s love for his little brother. I love watching them with each other because their closeness is something amazing. I believe your kids will have a strong bond and an unconditional one:) #momsterlink

  13. This is a beautiful post. Though I can’t pretend to know how it must feel to deal with autism, I get the I love my children. Differently. Equally. Infinitely. part as we have one biological kiddo and one adopted. And you’re right. They’re different, but they’re also the same. Good luck on the tests.

  14. Your thoughts put into words so beautifully. I can almost picture the moment of laughter you describe when your two beautiful children had a moment of laughter, a connection…and I’m sure a moment of pure and utter joy for you as their mother. It always amazes me how different each persons story is told when having a child with special needs. How much they all move me. You sound like a wonderful mommy who’s just trying to find what’s best for both her children …which is exactly what we as mothers can only do. Thank you so much for linking your story with #momsterslink. πŸ’ŒTrista

  15. What a moving post about a very complex situation. Ultimately, the bond between them will bring you all so much happiness in the long term, I’m sure of it. Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub xxx

  16. Aww this is such a lovely post hun.that im sure alot can relate to.
    we had similar my little girl was really advance in speaking. .. and spoke from a early age. My little boy started walking at 8 months which was amazing. But words seemed to not be coming we kept putting it off trying to not compare the 2 children. A year passed and then 2 years then other things started becoming noticeable too in his behavior. We started to wonder if was something else going on and then when he started nursery they picked up on it too.
    So far we have seen the senco, and the health visitor she’s referred him to the paeds and speech therapy. So hopefully won’t be too long before our diagnosis. P

  17. So beautifully written and my own story is so similar . My son was 4 when my daughter was born ; she cried an awful lot, which he hadn’t . It was when I was at home with them both on maternity leave I started to think there might be something more going on with my son than bad behaviour , and he’s just got his ASD diagnosis . They are such different personalities , I love them both the same amount , but differently .

  18. Incredibly moving post – made me cry a little bit. I’m new to your blog so I’m not sure how things are for you now, I must do some more reading, but I get how it feels to be utterly torn and guilty, like you want to split yourself in two so you can be there equally for both children all of the time. I love your description of your daughter in the bath 😊

  19. Reading this helps others so much! I have two smallies also and it is a tough ride at times. It sounds like you are doing great though!

  20. Beautiful. What a lovely, heartfelt post. I had a wee tear reading it. Though my circumstances and age difference were slightly different I can still relate to adjusting to two. Loved this πŸ™‚

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