The Decision To Have More Children

I had always dreamed of having many children. For the longest time my magic number was six. As I grew older, the number changed but I still wanted at least three kids. And my husband felt the same way.

We married young and spent our first few years just having fun. We wanted to wait a few years before we started our family. A few years into our marriage we were surprised with my pregnancy. But we were so happy. We were finally living our dream of having a family.

I can honestly say, my pregnancy was the smoothest pregnancy and I had never been happier in my entire life. We were both so excited.

Lillian came exactly a month early. We weren’t totally prepared for that but she was ready to meet us. She was happy baby, rarely cried, slept well, met all of her milestones except for her gross motor ones.

She couldn’t crawl or move at a year and that’s when our pediatrician told us to get involved in Early Intervention. We had the best therapists working with her and we are so thankful.

She started walking at age two, but it was an uphill battle and today she still struggles with her gross motor delay and she is almost 11. She can’t run very well, she still has trouble with stairs, and she can not climb anything at the playground.

We were so involved with Lillian that we put off having another baby for awhile. Then I was laid off and we decided it was best for me to stay at home with her for awhile to help her. We noticed other things that weren’t quite typical. She had many sensory issues, and was constantly rocking all the time.

Early Intervention came and went and preschool started. I started observing her on the playground at school and she would stick to herself. She had many repetitive behaviors and obsessions it seemed.

At age four she was diagnosed with autism.

We didn’t believe it of course because we didn’t know girls could present differently than boys.

Again, we thought of having another child, but at that time, it wasn’t financially possible. So ,we put it off even more.

It was starting to look like we may end up being a family of three. And Lillian was terrified of loud noises, especially babies crying. She was never able to handle anyone crying.

We tried getting help for Lillian in many different ways and some of it helped. But we were constantly busy with appointments and life just kind of went on.

When Lillian was six, we started thinking again about growing our family, and we started trying to get pregnant. Months went by and nothing came of it. And soon we started noticing more changes in Lillian. She started having awful meltdowns and at first we thought it was just bad behavior.

So, we would try to discipline her but it wouldn’t work and she would scream and yell for hours at a time. Nothing could calm her down. We couldn’t figure it out, but it was an awful time for our family. It was very hard.

She couldn’t keep any friends and was very socially awkward. More repetitive behaviors came about.

We noticed she was extremely literal and couldn’t understand sarcasm. We started thinking about autism again and we researched more about it. Turned out that girls can present differently. So, we went through testing again and it came back that yes, she indeed did have autism as well as an anxiety disorder.

We didn’t know how Lillian would do with a sibling. It had always just been her. And we knew she would have a very hard time with a baby in the house. Plus we were going through a lot with the diagnosis and trying to get her more help.

I had always said, “I will never have an only child.” Not that I didn’t agree with having an only child, I just didn’t want that for my family.

I wanted a lot of kids running around. But having a child with autism is a lot of work day in and day out, and I was struggling with mental illness on top of that.

So, we finally decided it was best to just have our little family of three.

It has it’s advantages and it of course has it’s disadvantages, but I love our little family, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

It was a tough decision at first for both my husband and myself. And every so often, I think about it and think about what it would be like if we had more. But now we can focus on her completely, and her therapies, and her education.

She needs us to focus on her. And maybe we could have done it with one or two more kids. People do it everyday. But it just didn’t really work for us.

And that’s ok.

Written by, Jenn Karboski

Jenn’s daughter Lillian was diagnosed at age four with Autism. She shares their journey on the Facebook page, Autism and Lillian: A Girl’s Journey and hopes to bring more awareness and acceptance to girls on the spectrum.

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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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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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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