With a Special Child 
19, 2002 - by Lucy Test, Sim Dale
I have heard some reports
that Sim families are the least tolerant of less than perfect children,
sending them to military school if they donít like the look of them, or
even allowing new born babies to be taken by welfare services for not being
the desired gender. As a mother to three wonderful children I was shocked
to hear this and thought that maybe, by writing this article about life
with a special needs child, it will encourage young families to be more
tolerant with the gifts they have been given.
My Husband Alex and I met
on vacation and our holiday romance blossomed into real everlasting love.
We married when I was just 22 and Alex
was 24, and discovered we were going to be parents almost one year later.
Our son Jack was born after a very traumatic labour and emergency caesarean.
When he was three months old the doctors told us he had suffered from oxygen
deprivation during the birth. This means he has learning difficulties
and special needs, but he is still a very precious child. I work
as a Journalist and Alex is in the army. Over the next few months
I will be giving you a look into our family life and I hope you will enjoy
getting to know us all.
a r t o
One of the most overwhelming
desires a woman can have is the desire to become a mother. When Alex
and I married we never doubted that we would have a big family, I have
three sisters and Alex has two brothers and four sisters. We had
decided to wait a while as we were moving homes and we were both very busy
with our careers. I think it was more down to me than Alex, he would
have been happy to start a family whenever I wanted, but I was so unsure
of myself, and a little selfish, and more than a little apprehensive about
how a child would change my life. When I found out I was pregnant
all that seemed to melt away, and a feeling of contentment settled over
me. I spent my days dreaming about pushing my baby in the park instead
of worrying about the front page of the newspaper I worked for. I
had no doubt that I would be the perfect mother to a perfect baby and along
with Alex we would be the vision of a perfect family. When our son
Jack was born, he had dark curly hair like his father and big blue eyes.
I adored him from the moment he was born, singing to him and cradling him
in my arms, it made me wonder how I had ever considered being anything
but a mother.
Jack was three months old
when we took him to the doctors for a routine check up, a day that was
to change our lives forever. Dr Mele, our paediatrician, said Jack
had suffered from a lack of oxygen during his birth and that he was slightly
brain damaged. He said it was nothing that would have an effect on
Jack in any serious way, but that he was likely to be a difficult child,
needing special care and attention. I cried all the way home, I had
a vision and Jack didnít live up to it. I became distant from my
son, and I didnít want to hold him, I felt I had betrayed him. Alex
cared for Jack for most of the next few weeks, with my mom coming over
to help twice a week. It was because of her that I realised that
I still loved my little boy. He was fretting and didnít want to feed,
She came over and placed him in my arms, and he stopped crying, he looked
at me with his big innocent eyes and I felt the same rush of love I had
felt when he was born. I fed him and rocked him and sang to him,
I loved him.
Often Jack would scream and
scream and nothing I did could quieten him, I would get very despondent,
feeling a failure but I learnt patience and understanding, he was screaming
because he didnít know any other way to express himself. He was slower
to develop than other babies, at six months he still couldnít sit up on
his own. But he was so bright; his eyes would dance with laughter.
He loved bright colours and would turn to look at them; red and yellow
were his favourite. Both Alex and I were exhausted but neither of
us would swap what we have for the world.
Next time, In part two:
A new baby for the family - how does Jack react to a new sibling.