Does He Understand That You Are Pregnant?

‘Does Cooper understand that you are pregnant?’ I get that question all the time. Even more as my pregnancy progresses.

My honest answer is I don’t know. I truly don’t. Maybe? Maybe not? In our house we assume competency. Cooper is a very smart kid. He is always listening. But, this is a tricky topic for him too.

We talk about it every day. We include him in conversation the best we can. We point to my tummy. We are even going to buy a baby doll and start practicing. We are showing him everything we buy. We are going to start the nursery soon so he can get used to it. We are even starting therapy around it.

We are doing all of the right things. And yet, we still don’t know if he is understanding.

Cooper is seven. He should understand. He should care one way or another. His five-year-old brother is ecstatic. We talk about it daily. ‘How big is my baby brother mama?’ And, ‘How much longer until he gets here?’

With Cooper it is different. He doesn’t care about most people, especially children. He also is a very literal kid. And I think we can all agree that the idea of pregnancy is pretty complicated.

Cooper was two when Sawyer was born. And he never, and I mean never, acknowledged my pregnancy or his new brother after he was born. He didn’t touch him. He didn’t sit near him. He didn’t hug or kiss him. But those were pre-autism days. We could get by with the fact that he was a boy. Or delayed. Or whatever we wanted to tell ourselves at the time.

It got harder though as they aged. As Sawyer fell in love with his brother who never acknowledged him. I remember trying to get a photo of them together and Cooper would completely melt down. He’d scream and kick and run away.

The first picture I have of my boys sitting together happened when Cooper was four and Sawyer was two. It was staged. It was forced. But they were near each other. I still treasure that photo.

Today, they are seven and five. Cooper still does not really acknowledge his brother. Not in the traditional sense. They don’t play or interact. They don’t snuggle. They rarely communicate. It almost feels like I am mothering in two entirely different worlds.

They more co-exist.

So the question, ‘Does Cooper know you are pregnant?’ comes with a lot of baggage.

I want him to understand so badly. I want him to care. I want him to be excited. I want him to touch my belly. And ask me a million questions. I want, I want, I want. But in our world, we can’t force it. We just go with the flow I guess.

If you follow our journey, you know that Cooper is in love with photos, especially of his family. He finds them. He hoards them. He lines them up. He hides them under his bed. He spreads them all out, looks at them each closely, and then moves on. He will do this many times during the day.

If he leaves the house, he always has a pile of them in his hands. We find them everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

If he is visiting your house, he will steal your photos. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve found photos that are not ours. He will take frames off of our walls and mantle. If we move them, he finds them. The love and obsession runs so deep that photo albums are now considered contraband in our house. They are hidden and locked up.

But, he finds them. He always does.

This behavior is cute. I’m not going to lie. It’s also like a constant flashback to our past. Want to see our wedding? Sure, I have a photo right here. Bachelor party in Vegas? A ridiculous party in college? The guy I dated when I was 18? I have all of that right here.

His favorite photos are of me, trains, water, and boats. It’s pretty adorable.

But, this behavior is also messy. And destructive. So, we really do try to manage it the best we can.

Lately though, I’ve noticed his photos have taken on a new theme.

One that tells me that maybe he understands that our family is about to grow by one more.

Baby photos. It started slowly at first. I’d be walking up the stairs and see a photo of newborn Sawyer. Or get in my car and see a photo from Sawyer’s baptism on the floor-mat.

At first, it didn’t seem all that strange I guess. Not a lot is in our world. But then, more and more baby photos. I found them everywhere. Sawyer’s birth. His first bath. First diaper change. I found them everywhere.

It dawned on me that Cooper is communicating the best way that he can in this moment. A way that makes him feel comfortable.

Last night I sat down with him and attempted a conversation.

‘Cooper, are you getting a new baby brother?’

No response.

I waited. And waited some more.

I pointed to a photo of Sawyer sleeping in his bassinet and said, ‘Cooper, are you excited to get a new brother.’

And he smiled. Squealed. And pointed to a photo. And then immediately began shoving the photos under the entertainment center.

I smiled and engulfed him in a hug. This kid.

He gets it. We may never have a conversation about it. He may never feel his brother kick in my belly. But he gets it. Super Cooper is going to be a big brother.

Last night, as I put him to bed, I took note of his treasures lined up.

Baby Sawyer right in the center.

I can’t wait friends. I seriously can’t wait.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Comments

  • April Middleton

    July 13, 2018 at 3:58 pm
    Reply

    Hi, I have a child that is non verbal, I know how you feel. I have recently got him a AAC device so he would […] Read MoreHi, I have a child that is non verbal, I know how you feel. I have recently got him a AAC device so he would be able to communicate with me and his brother and daddy. He is very smart. I’ve had him tested for austim and they said no but I disagree with them. If you want more information about the device please call me at6016602822 I will help you get your son one. God bless Read Less

  • Pauletta

    July 13, 2018 at 9:52 pm
    Reply

    You are amazing.

  • Jill Waldman

    July 19, 2018 at 9:34 am
    Reply

    Hi there. I follow your story and I know you said Cooper has been regressing lately. I just wanted to share my experience […] Read MoreHi there. I follow your story and I know you said Cooper has been regressing lately. I just wanted to share my experience - my typical daughter started displaying some serious OCD symptoms right before my second was born. She was refusing to pick food up with her hands, bed wetting, lots of regression. It got A LOT better when the baby actually came. If Cooper is aware that a baby is coming, that might be causing some of the behaviors - I know you know Cooper best and have probably thought of this, but I just thought I'd add my two cents. As a friend of mine said about the experience of having a new sibling: "it's as if you come home one day and your husband says, 'hey guess what! I have a new wife! It's cool though I still love you just as much.'" A new baby is so life changing for everyone - especially kids. Hang in there, lady. You are such an inspiration to me and to so many parents. Also you are so frigging gorgeous even when you're pregnant - so jealous! Read Less

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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