Siblings

Does Your Sibling Impact Your Decision to Have Children?

Having kids of my own…should I or shouldn’t I? Does your sibling impact your decision to have children? You want to know the truth? Having a sibling with Down Syndrome does in fact impact the route that one takes in relation to having kids. Different siblings make different choices. Take for example my older sister…she got married and has a son…my wonderful nephew that I love and who loves me and his Aunt Shadeeza to the moon and back. My older sister, knowing that she would have to help to take care of Shadeeza for the rest of her life decided that she was willing to take that on and all that it entails, plus the ups and downs that come with having a family of her own. She made her choice. She chose her route.

Me on the other hand….I’m not sure if I should have kids…not sure if I even want to. Why? Lots of reasons.

Kids are Not for me…

Does the Fact that Your Sibling has a Disability Impact Your Decision to Have ChildrenFirstly, the fact that I felt responsible for my sister’s care at such a young age and have been caring for her for almost all of her life…and basically all of mine…has left me feeling as if I have already trodden the “parenting path”. I helped raised my sister from childhood to adulthood. I feel like I have ran once around the parenting track…to run a second lap…I’m not so sure. Honestly, I am just not sure if I have it in me to raise anymore children. It’s like there’s some kind of parenting ability quota and I’ve used up all of mine. It  might sound crazy, but I do feel like this at times.

Secondly, suppose I have a child and that child has Down Syndrome or some other disability? Why would this even worry me you ask…why would I even care? Well, because my experience of raising a child with DS has been difficult…obstacle after obstacle…and frankly I really do not wish to take another journey on that train. It is hard…not just financially but especially emotionally…staying positive is an art form. Right now, my sister is an adult and I still haven’t worked out how to make her independent, how to get her to the point where she can live safely and happily without her sisters. Probably, if I had that figured out, I would be okay with having a child with DS. I don’t want to feel helpless in relation to my child and right now I feel helpless in regards to a lot of things relating to my sister.

Lastly, how will having a kid impact my relationship with my sister and my ability to care for her? Will I have less time for my sister? Is this going to be a negative? How will I balance caring for her and my child? Will I just be adding more stress to my life and making it even more complicated? I have to watch my mental health.

…Or Are They?

Then there are the moments when I do dream of having kids…plural because I had my older sister growing up and it was good having her then and even greater having her now for support. So I am of the belief that a kid should have at least one sibling. There are moments when I really want to have a daughter. I have nothing against boys…love them too. I guess I just want to see a smaller version of myself. Does the Fact that Your Sibling has a Disability Impact Your Decision to Have Children

No Regrets

Well…I think for someone in my situtaion, the first thing that needs to be established is whether or not you actually want kids. Some people honestly do not want children and I get that…it’s cool. But some people want kids. Which one are you?

If you do in fact want kids, for whatever reason…to leave your legacy/inheritance to…to continue your lineage, etc. then have them BUT ensure that you are in a position to properly care for your kid(s) (financially, emotionally, physically). Yes, you can make it work. You will figure out how to continue to support your sibling whilst raising your family. Weigh the pros and cons and prepare for the worst. But do it. You only have one life. Don’t end up having regrets. You don’t want to get to 40yrs old and then say “You know what? I should have had that kid”.

Does the Fact that Your Sibling has a Disability Impact Your Decision to Have Children

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10 Comments

  1. Teresa says:

    Thinking about having children has always been a challenge for me as it’s one of those situations whether you’re ready physically, mentally, spiritually or financially. Basically, if you always thought like this, then you’ll never be ready.
    Your situation is heartfelt because your sister having DS has prompted you to re-think of ever having kids.
    I had my child later in life and wished I had them earlier in life. So yes, don’t live in regret when you’re in your 40’s. Have them when you can!
    I hope you do decide on whether to have kids or not, but one thing I can say is that they are a blessing and a challenge!

    1. Hi Teresa,

      Thank you for sharing your experience and thank you for your advice.

      Take care!

  2. You show a lot of interesting thoughts here, that I also struggled with before I decided to go for it. The one thing that made me take the decision to have my first kid was actually the answer to the question: “Do I want to have own children in my life when I am 40? Yes or no?”

    The decision to have my second kid was easier. I have one brother myself, so I know how it is to have a sibbling. I have always thought that people with sibblings are easier and more social people, than the ones without sibblings. So yes, I think my sibling impacted on my decision to have children, at least the second time. 😉

    I know I am lucky since I have been blessed with two healthy kids. I just want to mention that the parental love for your own kids, is in my mind, something totally different and far more powerful than any other love.

    If you do want to have children, don’t wait too long. I guess you know the statistics for DS if the parents are older…

    Marika

    1. Hi Marika,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. It’s encouraging to see that other persons have a lot of the questions that I have. It’s also encouraging to see that you guys went ahead and had your families.

      Take care!

  3. Monique says:

    I like how you don’t sugarcoat anything and I totally agree.. you have to be ready in all of those aspects if you are thinking about having children. You see too much people with children nowadays where neither of them is happy and it’s quite sad. I like your article.

    1. Hi Monique,

      Indeed it is not a decision to take lightly. I am happy you could appreciate my candidness. If I have kids, I indeed want them to be happy…and I want to be happy also.

      Thanks for visiting HappyDowns.

      Take care!

  4. Justina Wolfe says:

    I have a cousin who is 9 yrs old and has special needs (not DS). He still has not learned to walk as yet. We all love him although I know my uncle and aunt are going thru a lot more stuff than anyone realizes but I don’t think they ever regret having children.
    I have 2 sons who I very much love and I’m looking forward to maybe having more one day. I don’t want to be old and not have any relatives that care to come visit me.
    I hope you will be able to decide what you want in your life!

    1. Hi Justina,

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and also that of your aunt and uncle. The point about being old and having no-one is something I do think about…good point to make.

      Thanks again for your perspective.

      Cheers!

  5. Shoshanah Howell says:

    What an interesting website, I’ve never thought about a how having a sibling with Down Syndrome could affect another siblings decision to have children of their own. However, after reading and thinking about your post , I can understand how that could be a factor. I wonder if checking your DNA would help make that decision easier. You know sometimes those test can tell you about predetermined illness or if you’re likely to have children with Down Syndrome. I’m just wondering, definitely something to think about. I think your site offers important and valuable insight for those dealing with this issue. Very nicely done, you gave me food for thought.

    1. Hi Shoshanah,
      Thank you for stopping by HappyDowns. There are prenatal tests that can be done to know whether or not your child has a chance of having DS – point to note, not everyone thinks these tests are a good idea…for many reasons…plus the test can be wrong…so there’s that. Not sure if persons can test themselves to know whether or not their children will have it…I should probably research that and write an article.

      What I do know is tests or no tests, persons have to decide what they can or can’t handle/deal with/manage and so make informed decisions.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and hope you stop by again soon.

      Take care!

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