Would You Change the Birth Order of Your Children? Typical vs. Special

You First

We’ve had the conversation a number of times…well, long ago. It comes up every now and again, when we reflect on where we are and from where we came…where it all began. The question is one I pose to you. Because I wonder if another has thought of this, if it matters in the end…not that any of us can change a single thing but…

If you have more than one child, with at least one having special needs…do you think you would have been a better parent if your typical child came into your life before or after your child with special needs?

We were opposite, C and I. I thought our order worked for us. J is our eldest and our child with special needs. My thought was this –

Given what our journey is to be in our lives, it was good that J came first because we didn’t know any better, because we wouldn’t look at him through eyes of typical development. We wouldn’t push him past his capabilities or get frustrated because he is unable to. We would develop our ideals with him, as he developed his abilities. We would listen to our guides, therapists, doctors, and help J reach new goals. I believe in this still yet, part of me agrees with C.

C’s thoughts were that we would be able to diagnosis J faster, recognize the help he needed, recognize that J needed / needs help. We would have had the life of a typical family, for a time, to know that life, to understand that life…one we will never fully experience.

But, though I believe in part of C’s thought, the ability to recognize faster, I still hold firm to my initial thought, even 8 years later. J was our first, as he should have been. We recognized very quickly, 5 months earlier than a pediatrician was willing to confirm. We fought ferociously, still, and we may have been distracted with our ‘typical life’ if we had that first. Possibly our mourning would have been greater. Possibly…

How did birth order affect your family dynamics? Your understanding of life, development, special vs. typical? I’m curious…

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