When are you having second child? Does Angel get lonely? People ask me these questions all the time. Some even tell me that I am depriving Angel of having a playmate. In essence, they all want to know when my six-year old son will get a brother or sister. All I can say is: “I don’t know.” When Angel was born, my husband and I never asked IF we would have a second child. We asked WHEN.
We did not know what path our parenting journey would take. Then, Angel developed some medical issues that had us making constant visits to various specialists. While all of this was happening, we started to worry about his overall development. At a certain point, I needed a notebook to keep track of everything. When Angel was diagnosed with autism at four-years old, I wondered where a second child would fit in. I still wonder about it now.
Here are the 10 factors we think about when considering a second child:
- Autism: According to the Center for Disease Control, we would have a 2% to 18% chance of having a second child who is on the autism spectrum. The National Institutes of Health puts our chances at “approximately 5%, or one in 20.” They even add that “this is greater than the risk for the general population.” Having one child with autism is something we have accepted. Yet, we wonder about these statistics and what our lives will be like if we had a second child who was also diagnosed with autism. .
- Parenting: I know many parents do it. Some of them have multiple kids with different developmental abilities and they make it work. Yet, I still wonder how this will work for our family. Will we be able to give another child the attention he or she needs while attending to Angel’s special needs?
- Passing On: We are in the process of completing Angel’s supplemental needs trust. The process has been daunting and I wonder if a legal guardian will be willing/able to look after two of our children. I know we would not want them to be split up.
- Sibling Responsibility: We do not want Angel’s sibling to feel responsible for him. That would not be fair to a child who would be so many years younger. We will need to put a plan in place and provide the proper supports for both children.
- Finances: Things are tough right now as we try to manage on one steady income while I start my special needs advocacy business. So yes money is a big factor. Kids cost money.
- Biological Clock: I am in my mid-thirties and according to the textbooks; time is not on my side. Enough said.
- Support System: There are very few people who we can rely on to help us with Angel. I can count them on one hand. This is why I wonder about help, child care, and support.
- Friendship: Angel will have a friend for life who can love him and look out for him. The sibling bond is priceless. I know because I have siblings.
- Bigger Family: We will be able to expand our family and have one more person to love. Each child is different, so our parenting experiences will be expanded and enhanced.
- Social Development: Having a sibling will help Angel’s social development. I can tell a big difference in his language and social interactions when we are around extended family. He really blossoms.
As you can see, our thoughts are many. There is so much to consider. Time will tell if our family of three will become a family of four as the clock continues to tick.
BMWK: What considerations did you think about before having your second child?
Check back every other Tuesday for additional articles from Kpana Kpoto as she shares her experiences and what she learns as she raises her son that has been diagnosed with Autism.