Last week, I was asked by someone I know if I ever wish I hadn't gone for the third baby, "since he is so much extra work." The question floored me, and I had to remind myself, as I do often, to choose love over anger. I have to assume the question proposed still could have been laced with good intentions. Perhaps this person was trying, in a strange way, to say that he sympathized with the busy days and emotional overload that comes from raising a child with extra needs. Too shocked by what was uttered, though, I could only respond a pathetic, "no" before walking away.
If given another chance, this is what I would say: I do not ever regret having a third child. The hours spent at therapies or doctors' offices exhaust me, but they are not an interruption to my life. They simply ARE my life. The joy that has come from my son outweighs any difficulty. I would feel this way even if the needs at hand were far more severe than they are. I know this in my heart. Everything he accomplishes is a miracle because we never know how far he can go and it all feels such a glorious surprise when he learns a new skill. Yes, I feel bad that things are hard for him, but isn't life, in certain ways, hard for all of us? And think of this: While he may struggle to run and jump and maintain endurance, he is learning, at a tender age, to stop and smell the roses. He appreciates the shape of a leaf, the feel of a raindrop on his skin, or the warmth of the sun. Truly, the observations he makes about things we often overlook astound me.
Due to some portions of his neurological and medical issues, I will admit that in my darkest hours, I worry for his future. Will his left side always be weak? Will his stomach ever learn to handle more food intake? Will he always walk "funny"? Will he require a wheelchair? Will he live to be an old man? But then I come back to this thought: All that truly matters is now. This moment. This child. This life. This miracle I have been entrusted with.
So it isn't about regretting having a third child. It is about what I would have missed if I HADN'T- which is everything.