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Stories

Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

Brothers

Jenifer DeMattia

My husband was out of town for work close to the end of my second pregnancy. His flight came in at 10:00pm. I went into labor 2 hours after he arrived home, two weeks earlier than expected. We called his parents and they quickly came to the house since our three-year-old son was sleeping unaware. My first reaction was complete and total fear. It had been a difficult day before my husband came home. I attended the final meeting for our son to discuss the results of his developmental and psychological assessment due to difficulties he began to have around age two and a half. At the meeting I was told that Sensory Processing Disorder was most likely a factor contributing to his behavior and that he displayed several “red flags” for being on the Autism Spectrum. So, when I went into labor with my second son, my thoughts were only of my first. Yes, he knew he was getting a brother, but of course he didn’t really get it. As we drove to the hospital, with each contraction, my mind was racing with thoughts of my poor son who would wake up and not see his mom and dad. And then in an instant, his world would be turned upside down. Was his behavior going to get worse? Would I be able to handle it? Would he love his brother, or resent him? The nurses possibly thought I was loosing my mind. Every time someone spoke about the baby coming soon I cried, hard. They looked at me with concern. “I want this baby”, I think came out of my mouth at one point. They didn’t know what I had been through earlier that day and that I was scared for my son.

But giving birth to my second boy was incredible. Seeing him. Holding him on my chest. I was completely his for those first hours. When my husband brought our son to the hospital to meet his brother he had a perma-smile on his face the whole time. Not so much a sweet smile. More like a weirded out smile. It was concerning, but much better than expected. Basically, he has adjusted well. He now has a younger brother and it’s part of his normal life, and it’s great. “Put it in the swing”, is really the only thing that has come out of his mouth in protest so far.

I have quickly come to realize that my fears were normal, and heightened by a day consumed by huge emotions. Not only do we fear for our first borns loss of attention, but for our ability to be there for them both equally. Giving my son’s a brother, a sibling, I now believe is the best gift I will ever give either of them. There is no amount of money that can buy a gift like that. I have changed the course of who each is because they now have each other. Through the fighting and tears that will most likely happen between them, they will hopefully grow to value their relationship that truly has the potential to be something sacred that only the two of them will understand. A bond that surpasses friendship. My fears about the negative impact getting a sibling would have on my first born have dissolved, only to be replaced by the fears of all the trouble they will one day get into after discovering what they have. A partner in crime. An alibi. A magnificent and mischievous brother.

 

Music by Jenny & Tyler "As Long As Our Hearts Are Beating"