My Favorite Pair of Genes
ONCE UPON A GENE – EPISODE 012
My Favorite Pair of Genes
As my daughter Esme’s first birthday is approaching, it’s bringing up a lot of feelings. This is an episode of deep thoughts with Effie.
I’ve wanted to be a mother my entire life. I was blessed with an exceptionally nourishing mom and I had 12 siblings. Naturally, I wanted to have a bunch of kids myself and I wanted to give my kids siblings that would be by their side no matter what. When I met the man of my dreams, he shared my desire to be a parent. We were so excited and planned to have three kids as soon as possible.
My pregnancy with Ford was beyond perfect. Casey and I would chat about our future son and what he might be like, how kind he would be, about him going to prom, graduating high school, leaving to find his own path in the world. Our beautiful son Ford has changed our conversation of what the future might be like. I don’t know what dating or graduating high school or leaving to explore the world will be like. I’m sure it will be much different from what Casey and I used to dream about. We will most likely be caring for Ford for the rest of our lives.
After we got a diagnosis for Ford, people would ask me if we were going to have more children. I had to put my game face on when I was asked that dreaded question. I never knew if it was coming from general curiosity or if they were hoping I would say no. I would always answer with a firm absolutely. We didn’t feel like our family was complete and we wanted to give Ford a sibling.
Esme is a beautiful, funny little girl who loves her brother. Ford lights up every morning when I take her to his crib. This is a complex topic I have to take day-by-day. How do I make this experience fair for Esme? How do I protect her from the pain it may cause her throughout her life? How do I put the burden of caring for Ford on my little girl? How do I help her discover her brother isn’t a source of frustration, but a unique person who has his own gifts to contribute? I imagine all of these questions as stages of grief passed onto Esme. How do I not give her another sibling to share this emotional burden with who can help carry the load? Casey and I don’t know if we will be able to have another child or if we even should, but the doors are not closed.
I think about these fears, questions and life decisions a lot. I still don’t think I comprehend how having a brother like Ford might shape Esme, but I have faith that she will wield all her powers for good. I need to make sure she never feels like she’s left in the dust, as our day-to-day tends to revolve around Ford. I wonder how to manage the delicate balance of taking care of both Esme and Ford and not putting pressure or burden on my little girl who doesn’t deserve such heavy worry.
A friend recommended the podcast, Finding Fred to me. Listen to Episode 4: Beth, a story about a little girl with an extremely serious condition called Rasmussen’s. In this episode, Mr. Rogers went to the hospital to visit this little girl and brought a special present for her brother. He knew how important it was to make the little boy feel less scared and more special. That little boy was the one who knew how scared his sister was, how stressed his parents were and how much pain the family was in. Mr. Rogers made sure to let the little boy know that he saw him. This episode really stuck with me has created a baseline for my parenting.
I’m excited to learn more about siblings from my future guests on this podcast. Even if it feels like it, it’s not all about Ford– but don’t tell him that! I’d love to hear from other siblings and parents who share some of these same thoughts with me. Please message me to connect.
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