Can a Baby Heal?

One of the unique parts of autism that I try to share on this page is the relationship Cooper has with his brothers.

I’m often asked, ‘Do they play together?’ ‘Do they acknowledge each other?’ ‘What is their relationship like?’

The answer was no, no and non existent.

For a lot of years it was so puzzling.

If I was to describe it I would say that Cooper quite literally thought he was an only child for the first five years of his life.

He was two years old when Sawyer was born.

From day one he didn’t acknowledge his brother. He didn’t touch him. He didn’t look at him.

He wasn’t mean to him. He wasn’t jealous of him. In his eyes, he didn’t exist.

And for the first three years of Sawyer’s life, that was devastating for me. And him.

He tried so hard to be in Cooper’s life. He crawled after him at first. Then toddled after him.

He tried to get his attention. He tried to be in his world. He’d stand in front of the television. He’d pull on his shirt. He’d take his things.

Cooper didn’t get angry. He just didn’t care. Which in my mind was worse.

It did a lot of damage to Sawyer. He could see his brother. He could touch him. But he couldn’t reach him.

It broke my heart.

I described it as mothering in two entirely different worlds.

One was therapies, autism, pictures and meltdowns.

The other was Nerf Guns, Legos, games and baseball.

I’d try and talk about it with people. No one understood. There were no baby books to help either. We were on our own island.

I’d see other families with kids my children’s age and marvel at how close they were. How mom could sit down and have a cup of coffee while the kids played.

I was so confused. Devastated actually.

I’d comment about how different my life would be if my kid’s played.

Jamie and I did everything we could think of to bring them together.

Around age three, Sawyer stopped trying. He stopped acknowledging him. He started associating things with Cooper as well.

Home was boring. We are home because of brother. We can’t go anywhere because of brother. If we leave brother at home we can go have fun.

Jamie and I became Sawyer’s best friends.

Looking back, those were tough years.

And then we made the decision to have another baby. Some called us crazy. Some said we should focus entirely on the children we had.

Some said we were crazy to ‘risk it.’ Some said we would have another autistic child.

We did it anyways.

For many reasons.

I wanted another baby. That’s the simple reason. I love babies. I love being a mom. I wanted a bigger family. I wanted more love in my life. I wanted Sawyer to have another sibling. And ultimately, another person to love Cooper.

During my pregnancy I was scared. I thought about the possibilities. I’d break it down into different scenarios.

This baby could be fine. And Sawyer could have the sibling he always wanted and needed. He could help care for his brother.

This baby could be autistic. Sawyer could have two autistic brothers. He could have to care for two siblings.

The scenarios helped me prepare. They helped me process. They got me through 9 months.

I was scared too. Would I be able to give all three boys what they needed? Could I love them all enough?

Flash forward. Harbor is 17 weeks old. And he is an absolute joy.

Thankfully, he is an easy baby. He sleeps. He eats. He is content.

As I was nursing him this morning, I started thinking about all the joy he has brought to our family. And how I can’t really remember a time before him.

In a way, he healed us. He healed the wounds that aren’t necessarily visible on the surface.

He’s the brother Sawyer dreamed of.

Sawyer spends so much time kissing him. Holding him. And talking to him.

He’s told me, ‘I’m not lonely anymore mama.’

And then there is Cooper. The one I was the most nervous about. How would he react to a baby in the house?

Well, he’s been amazing. Never once has he shown any aggression towards his brother.

He’s starting to sit near him. Just a few days ago he tickled him for the first time.

He loves his hair. And his sounds. He grabs his car seat for me when it’s time for us to leave. As if to say, ‘the baby comes with us mama.’

Now, I find our family gathered around the baby at night. Cooing at him. Making him laugh.

Sawyer and Cooper even seem closer. Their relationship seems to be emerging as well. The baby seems to be their common thread.

Can a baby heal?

When I was pregnant, and worried, I had no idea the answer to that question. I was so worried we were making a mistake. That another baby would be too much.

Now, I know it is yes.

Harbor has brought so much joy to our lives. He’s united our family in a way that I didn’t even know we needed.

He already looks at his brothers like they hung the moon. And they look at him the same way in return.

He added laughter. He even fixed some of the heartbreak that we aren’t supposed to talk about. The grief. The sadness.

He healed us. He brought us hope.

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Comments

  • Sherri

    February 7, 2019 at 6:14 pm
    Reply

    Kate, I love this. I have been following you for about 8 months and this is by far my favorite story. I am […] Read MoreKate, I love this. I have been following you for about 8 months and this is by far my favorite story. I am so happy for you and your family that you took the leap of faith, because that is truly what is was, and your family came out stronger. I admire the beauty you find in the biggest of challenges and continue to push forward despite the obstacles your family face on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing your family with all of us. God bless. Read Less

  • Miriam

    February 7, 2019 at 7:22 pm
    Reply

    Crying tears of happiness. Maybe that’s the key that my family need too?

  • Laurie

    February 7, 2019 at 8:24 pm
    Reply

    Beautiful

  • Marlene Hoffman

    February 7, 2019 at 8:49 pm
    Reply

    I think you are just a wonderful, lovely, honest, loving person....and I don't even personally know you. You are an inspiration and a breath […] Read MoreI think you are just a wonderful, lovely, honest, loving person....and I don't even personally know you. You are an inspiration and a breath of fresh air. Thank you for sharing so honestly and I am so happy to have found your page. Be well and enjoy you wonderful family. Xoxox Read Less

  • Trish Testrow

    February 7, 2019 at 10:23 pm
    Reply

    Congratulations on describing the love in your family so beautifully Kate. Whilst reading this i could hear the love and picture the joy and happiness […] Read MoreCongratulations on describing the love in your family so beautifully Kate. Whilst reading this i could hear the love and picture the joy and happiness on your face. Read Less

  • Carmen

    February 8, 2019 at 3:22 pm
    Reply

    Yes indeed a baby can heal💝 my youngest daughter healed so many wounds. I would be a different person today if she hadn’t brought so […] Read MoreYes indeed a baby can heal💝 my youngest daughter healed so many wounds. I would be a different person today if she hadn’t brought so much light during my sons hardest most challenging years. She is a beam of love and joy to our whole house. I should have listened to my husband when he wanted to name her Angelica. It would have been the absolute perfect name for her bc she is an angel. Our angel. Sounds extreme but it’s a fact what can I say? Your story is beautiful and so is your family. Praise be to God 💝 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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