Neglecting a sibling
My name is Maritha and I'm mother to Milla, who has severe asthma and serious allergic reactions.
When Milla was only 1 year and 8 months, she got a new baby brother.
Early on, I felt anxiety that I couldn't handle two children where one of them had major and unknown medical needs as well as special dietary requirements and demands on adapting her living environment.
The difficulties began to present themselves clearly and my worries were confirmed when Milla and I arrived home again following days of hospital treatment for her asthma.
I think her baby brother was around a year and half, and he and his dad were standing on the step waiting for us.
Baby brother looked straight through me.
Didn't even see me.
I ceased to exist for him after once again disappearing from his own little world.
I was so hurt!
Of course, I had to work to re-establish our bond and dedicated extra time to him for a time.
But having to handle an acute illness is nothing you can put off until later. You need to deal with it straight away so this is something that happened on several occasions.
His mum was maybe there at bedtime but in the morning both she and his sister were gone again.
I had to prove time and time again that I was worth his trust and love and my bad conscience lay heavy on my shoulders like a blanket.
A luck would have it, we had a safety net of close relatives who could provide support, but I am aware that many in similar situations don't have this luxury.
As the children have gotten older we have talked about feelings and situations that come with the illness.
That there is no direct link between providing care and attention and giving and feeling love.
Often, both aspects are found within a family as all children need both attention and love.
With an illness, care is an aspect of family life that may take a lot of focus and require a great deal of time.
But this does not mean that you love one child more than the other.
Today I feel that the children have a good relationship with each other.
They probably would not have had this without understanding that it can still be fair even when focus is not split down the middle.
I believe this and hope for it.
Fairness easily becomes a point of honour for children and we adults get a bad conscience way too easily.