When I was told that my daughter would never gain the skills to walk, let alone talk, my world fell apart. I grieved for my beautiful daughter and all I could think about was all the things that she would never be able to do. Then I began to grieve for my eldest daughter too, the games that they would never be able to play together as sisters, the conversations they would never be able to have. The childhood that was never going to be the same.
My mind was stuck on a perpetual cycle of loss, grief, anger and fear.
It didn’t matter what soothing words of support or encouragement came my way, the only thing that I wanted, was for my child to be well. After all, I was just like any other mother in the world, who wished to birth their child into the world with a foundation of health.
The ripple effects of a child diagnosis expand far beyond a mother or father’s heart, there are siblings, aunties, uncles, grandparents, cousins, friends and community. Everyone is touched in some way.
So that brings me back to siblings, the warrior souls who find themselves living through some pretty intense times of worry for their brother or sister, yet who seem to understand, accept and bring about so much joy together. Yes, there is both a positive and negative impact on the sibling to a child with high needs. Yet I’m here to focus on the positives, because there in lies so much potential for huge transformation.
As a mother to a beautiful young girl with a life-threatening condition, I have witnessed first hand the connection of special needs siblings. My daughter’s incredible intuition when it comes to her sisters needs. Her ability to tune into and respond with compassion and wisdom well beyond her years.
Most importantly I get to see the joy that she effortlessly unlocks, the joy that in my adult self, I might not have been able to access as easily had she now shown be how it’s done.
The kind of joy that was not robbed of a mind focused on all the ‘never’s’ and ‘can’ts’.
The kind of joy that embraced diversity and saw no differences.
The kind of joy that moves beyond any limitation.
This is the kind of joy I see between special needs siblings.
So here’s an important message for all those incredible siblings living with a brother or sister with additional needs:
“She won’t be able to read with her sister” they said
“They won’t be able to have fun together” they said:
“She won’t understand why her sister is unwell” they said:
“She won’t be able to lift her” they said:
“They won’t be able to dance together” they said:
“The ongoing hospital appointments will distress her” they said:
“She will worry when her sister has a plaster cast on” they said:
“They won’t be able to swim together” they said:
“She might get teased at school because of her sister can’t walk” they said:
“She will worry when her sister has boots and bar on” they said:
“She is my sister and she is perfect” – Grace said!
Let’s celebrate all the siblings of children with additional needs, who are doing a brilliant job in acceptance, adventure and FUN!
How are your experiences? Good or bad? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.