Deciding to Have Another Child Feels Much More Complicated
A PEAS Specialized Parent Support Perspective
by Howard Termo, EIS
In Parent Support Groups and on PEAS home visits, parents share that having a child in developmental services has affected their lives in many ways, including how they approach building their family. They’d considered having 2, maybe 3 children, but now they are not so sure. Though many parents are quick to clarify that they cannot see life without their cherished child, they also admit they are managing much more than they ever would have expected. Naturally as families resume conversations about family planning, they may reflect on traumatic experiences and conclude that the decision to have another child feels much more complicated now.
One way parents choose to inform their decision about having more children is to research their child’s medical or developmental scenario. Often they find that the odds of occurrence or of re-ocurrence are actually rather slim. However, this may provide only scant reassurance, for as one dad shared about his family’s first birth, 4000 to 1 turned out to not be slim enough. For some, the odds are still greater.
Though statistics can be critically important, measuring the odds is but one factor in deciding whether to have another child. Family culture, finances and the like play important parts, but parents share that another factor has now taken a prominent position. They note a shift in their perspective that includes a pointed focus on the benefits or drawbacks of siblings. They wonder what effect having another child might have on their child with developmental or medical needs. They wonder what effect their child will have on a new baby and a growing sibling. And, they wonder how they will provide each and all of their children the attention they deserve.
It takes courage to continue to pursue the family dream and may take continued support to enjoy the process. Partners, trusted medical and mental health professionals, family, and friends can all be part of a family’s support system, as can PEAS Parent Support and Parent Support Groups. If you know of a family who could use some emotional support as they navigate the life of having a child in developmental services, please continue to let them know about PEAS. We are always ready to listen, support, share resources, and make helpful referrals to community partners.
PEAS is a short term and flexible service available in English or Spanish to Sonoma County parents with young children receiving developmental or special education services, birth to 5, or not yet in Kindergarten. Thanks to an MHSA grant, services are provided at no cost to families and are available in the privacy of parents’ homes or other quiet settings, making parent support private, confidential, and accessible for busy parents.