There is a big myth that flies around that siblings “suffer” when they have a brother or sister who has Down’s syndrome. It’s simply not true. Nope. Not true at ALL.
I am glad I never came across this little nugget of stupidity when I was pregnant with Seren because it would have made me really fearful for what I was about to do to Ava – if the lie was to be believed, I would have thought I was about to ruin her life. Oh my goodness, how stressed would that have made me feel?!
There is nothing about having Seren in their lives that make Ava or Violet suffer. Seren has Down’s syndrome and all this means is that she has a learning delay and an intellectual disability that she will have for life. It takes her longer to learn things, but she generally gets there in her own time. Seren may (or may not) need extra support when she reaches adulthood, to help her access activities and to live as independently as her ability will allow. She will get a job, she WILL get a job, because she comes from a family of workers and this is one of my main life goals for Seren. Not all people with Down’s syndrome can and do find paid employment, but that’s ok! There are a huge bunch of neurotypicals out there who don’t either. Seren has a great life, she has a family who have loved her unconditionally since before she was conceived and we delight in all her achievements, as we do Ava and Violet’s achievements too.
Children with Down’s syndrome get ill, get vomiting bugs, colds etc the same as anyone else. Sometimes children with Down’s syndrome (like any other child!) are diagnosed with other conditions and I am lucky that my children are all healthy (at the minute, but let’s be honest, no one knows what tomorrow holds) and don’t have other conditions to contend with.
Seren has been my greatest teacher and also provides such a valuable life lesson for her sisters – acceptance, patience, humility, pride, understanding. I mean really, the difference in their upbringing that Seren provides will have a profound and positive effect on them during their childhood, which will hopefully set them up to be understanding and compassionate adults. I can’t emphasise enough how amazing it is to have Seren in our lives.
Going on to have a third child was a no brainer for us. Seren was such an easy baby and the thought that we would be bringing a third child in to the world to “suffer” from having Seren as an older sister never crossed my mind – not least because it’s utter nonsense. My girls are close in age and in their relationships. They get on so well and they all support each other when needed – this includes Seren looking after, loving and supporting her sisters when they need it, emotionally or otherwise!
I sincerely hope my girls remain close and give me an easy ride when they are teenagers, but I am not holding my breath! For now I am enjoying every minute of them and relish in how proud they make me every day .