Happy birthday, Braedy! Mothering special needs + typically developing kids

Almost three years ago, Jonny and I took a little anniversary trip to Nashville. As country music lovers, it was on our list of places to experience together. We had an AMAZING experience and cannot wait till we can fly back and soak it up again. We lived it up in the city that week, feeling like lovers without a care in the world, indulging in all that Nashville has to offer. 

Needless to say, we brought home a piece of the city that would change our lives. A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant with Braelynn. This is a story she is going to have to live with hearing time and time again because after all her middle name is Nash for a reason. 🙂

During my pregnancy, I felt a new excitement that I had never felt. I knew this time would be “different” because I had a deep faith that I would get to experience what it was like to have a typically developing child. Yes, of course, I wondered if she would be born with a disability, too. But I remained so hopeful and prayerful that I didn’t allow that question to overshadow the joy that I felt. 

And on Feb 5, 2019, a healthy baby girl was born: Braelynn Nash. You can read her birth story here! Her name means strong, virtuous, and honorable. 

From the moment she nursed for the first time, I had this overwhelming sense of relief. This experience was truly different from my experience with my first baby (more on Jaxlee’s birth and first weeks of life here).

As I soaked up those first moments, hours, and days holding Braedy in my arms– never having to give her away to a nurse or doctor to take care of her– I was immensely grateful. Grateful that this time– our story, her life– was different. To this day, this is something I don’t take for granted or overlook. 

From her first smile to the time she said mama, to the moment she took her first step, the “awe” I felt and continue to feel never gets old. 

Over the past two years, as I watch her grow and develop, I think about all she has brought to our family. Every morning when she wakes up, her first word is “Jaxlee”. She loves her sister and is so attentive to her needs. Braedy will bring Jaxlee water and snacks, pat her back when Jax coughs, and she even will spoon-feed Jax at the dinner table. I’ve caught them holding hands in the back seat while I’m driving a few times and I could just melt. The level of sisterhood I see them both experiencing at a young age will only grow as time goes on. 

Braedy has helped me bridge the gap between being a “special needs mom” and the mother of a typically developing child. Before Braedy, I felt isolated around moms other than a special needs mom because no one else understood my hardships and trials. (If you’re a mama who just got hard news about your child or pregnancy, read this.)

And frankly, I couldn’t understand parenting a typically developing child either. I couldn’t understand why a mom of a typically developing child would complain about things like their kids eating too much, or getting into everything, or having to discipline them all the time. 

Now that I have both worlds, I can identify with each mom on a different level, sympathizing and understanding each of our struggles in motherhood.

I believe miracles come in all shapes and sizes… and perhaps the miracle our family needed was Braedy!! The day Braedy was born, I stepped into a new joy I have never experienced. All the “normal” stuff that, by God’s grace, I can say is my story this time around.

After Jaxlee was born, I endured some of the deepest pain in my life. I was grieved by the uncertainty of her health and her future. 

I believe when you endure deep pain and trials in your life it increases your capacity to experience joy and gratitude. 

I embrace the fact that I could not have one without the other. I don’t take for granted what we have been through with Jaxlee, and I revel in each moment we’ve been given since the birth of Braelynn. 

Every single day, I have deep gratitude in my heart for both of my girls and the mom I get to be to both of them. 

Happy 2nd Birthday Braedy Nash!!

xoxo,

Emily

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  1. Cherish says:

    So beautiful!💝

  2. […] When I got pregnant with my second, a friend who also had a special needs child first said that when you have another child, you’ll just put them in the car and take them to therapy appointments and hang out in the waiting room. From the very early stages of life, our typically developing kids are experiencing what it’s like to have to struggle and work for things like walking and climbing. They’re learning about sacrifice and inclusivity, as they watch their brave sister. For a bit more on Braedy’s story and what it was like to add her to the family, check out this blog post. […]

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