I’m Not Lonely Anymore Mama

The decision to have a third baby was huge for us…as it is for any family.

A third baby is a lot.

Plus, our boys were 7 and 5. Did we really want to start over?

Midnight feedings, lugging a car seat around, and nursing.

Our living room wasn’t filled with baby gear. We had no bottles or diaper bags.

And, to address the elephant in the room…one of our boys has autism. He needs so much more all the time.

More patience. More therapy. More one-on-one time. More everything.

And he will most likely be with us forever. We will be caring for him forever.

Plus, we had other worries.

Would Cooper be able to handle a baby crying? Would he regress? Would we be able to give him what he needs when a baby would take so much of our time?

And then there is Sawyer. My five-year-old. The best kid any mom could ask for.

Sawyer begged us for a brother. He loves babies so much.

As his parents, the logical ones, we saw two very distinct possiblities.

This baby could be totally fine and Sawyer would have the companion he dreamed of.

Or, this baby could have special needs as well. And add another layer of stress to Sawyer’s life.

Two disabled siblings. How could I do that to him.

As you can tell, Jamie and I agonized. We thought about everything. Every scenario.

And then we realized, we have no control over this.

And ultimately decided to have another baby.

Baby Harbor is here.

Harbor Edwin Swenson

Cooper has a new brother! Welcome to the world, Harbor Edwin Swenson — born Oct. 9 at 4:17pm, weighing in at 8 lbs 7 oz. Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers. We are settling in at home! Sawyer is over the moon excited and asking to hold him every five minutes. Cooper is cautiously excited and slowly warming up to being near him. He laughs every time he squeaks and gets very nervous when he cries.

Posted by Finding Cooper's Voice on Thursday, October 11, 2018

Having him is the best decision I ever made in my life. And for so many reasons.

But the best one is Sawyer’s love for his new brother. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Every morning Sawyer stumbles downstairs and asks for his baby.

He wraps his arms around him and kisses his head.

When he arrives home from school he does the same.

He holds him. Feeds him. Soothes him when he cries. Snuggles him constantly.

He talks to him about the forts they are going to build.

He is going to teach him to hit a baseball and skate.

I am brought to happy tears daily watching their love develop.

It’s the same love I saw Sawyer have for Cooper four years ago. Sawyer would stare at Cooper like he hung the moon.

Cooper never acknowledge him. It was crushing.

I am so thankful that I could give Sawyer another brother.

Yesterday morning, as Sawyer and Harbor were snuggling, I asked Sawyer a few questions.

‘Sawyer, are you happy we had another baby?’

‘Yes mama.’

‘What do you love about him?’

‘He’s so cute and small. And he’s a boy.’

‘Is there anything else?’

‘Yes.’ (silence)

‘What is it buddy?’

‘I’m not lonely anymore mama.’

I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach.

My old soul in the body of a five year old boy.

How did I not know he was lonely? Jamie and I do everything to keep his life full of friends, learning, fun and activities. And I will admit some of that comes from guilt.

But lonely?

I knew it was hard to be a sibling to a severely autistic boy. I saw every part of it. Sawyer trying to play with Cooper only to be ignored. Sawyer asking him questions only to be ignored some more.

If I was to describe it, it’s almost like they forgot about each other after a few years. Living two separate lives.

But still…lonely? Lonely in our loud, busy home?

I felt terrible. I didn’t know.

I also saw Jamie and I bending over backwards to give Sawyer as normal of life as possible.

Which we do very, very well. Often at the expense of our sanity.

Sawyer and I sat there for a few minutes longer. We played with Harbor. I thanked him for telling me his feelings. His very real, valid feelings.

We talked about Cooper and how special he is to our family. How he shows love differently.

I acknowledged how hard this all can be.

While developing a relationship between Cooper and Sawyer is one of my top goals in life, I am so thankful he has this baby.

Harbor breathed life into our family.

He is the perfect addition.

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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  • Janet

    January 19, 2019 at 11:30 am
    Reply

    You are such an amazing mom! My children are grown and I have three grandchildren. I haven't had to navigate the life of autism. […] Read MoreYou are such an amazing mom! My children are grown and I have three grandchildren. I haven't had to navigate the life of autism. I recently retired from an elementary school where I worked with families, trying to get them involved with the learning process. I have seen so many families in crisis, mostly from drugs. Reading your stories and those of others, gives me new found hope in this world. Thanks for sharing your beautiful family! Read Less

  • Maureen

    January 19, 2019 at 6:10 pm
    Reply

    The photo of your’s and Jamie’s three sons is one of the most beatiful I have seen. Sawyer hugging his baby brother and Cooper sitting […] Read MoreThe photo of your’s and Jamie’s three sons is one of the most beatiful I have seen. Sawyer hugging his baby brother and Cooper sitting with them, being present. What a joy for your family. You all work so hard to achieve these precious moments. Thank you for sharing, Kate. Read Less

  • Jennifer Broderick

    April 5, 2019 at 10:21 am
    Reply

    Kate, You are an amazing woman! An amazing communicator, an amazingly open parent, an amazing advocate, and an amazing beacon to those who feel they are […] Read MoreKate, You are an amazing woman! An amazing communicator, an amazingly open parent, an amazing advocate, and an amazing beacon to those who feel they are in the dark. Although my own children do not have Autism, I am a teacher that works with children of different abilities. Every time I listen to you speak, I am inspired. I laugh with you, I cry with you, I pump my fist into the air with you. And I know that others do too. Whether your child has severe allergies, difficult medical conditions, or is your child for this school year. Keep doing what you do! Keep sharing with others, keep being honest, keep advocating for Cooper and yourself, and everyone else effected in one way or another by Autism. Keep smiling! Most importantly, keep being you! Thank you for sharing your amazing world with us! Sincerely, Your Secret Admirer 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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