To my children that don’t have special needs. 

When a parent has more than one child, they don’t stop loving the first child to accommodate the second. More love just comes. Like oxygen. There is just enough for everybody. 

What doesn’t always come is more time, more resources and more money. Raising a child with special needs sometimes takes everything. Because sometimes, special needs don’t care – they demand to be met with no regard for who gets left behind.

And so this is my apology.

I’m sorry for the times I don’t put you first.

Every parent without second thought puts all of their children before themselves but although I didn’t plan it there have been times when I’ve had to prioritise needs between my children. Like the times when we were in the supermarket and you were excited because you saw the toy that you’d been searching for for ages, and you ran up to me, your eyes beaming with excitement….but your brother was experiencing a sensory overload and I just couldn’t share in your excitement…and even after the meltdown was over we had to leave straight away and I never got to buy the toy for you.

I’m sorry for making you sacrifice

Sacrificing is what parents do. It’s second nature. But it shouldn’t be for you. You’re still young and innocent and shouldn’t yet have learnt the habitual dismissal of your own wants and needs for another person. But you do, don’t you? I remember when you really wanted to go to your classmate’s birthday party, but we were home alone and there was no way I could have possibly brought you with your brother. So you didn’t get to go, and the only way I found out that you were invited to the next party was the crumpled invitation that you’d left at the bottom of your school bag, not bothering to show me because you figured you’d be disappointed again.

I’m sorry for forcing you to be a carer

I don’t force you, but it’s inevitable. As we go about our day, we encounter problems and you help out, and chip in when needed. You share space and time with your sibling and with that comes a degree of responsibility. When I have to clean up a mess he’s made, you switch the TV onto a channel he loves, but you don’t like, you still sit with him pretending to be interested. That’s care…

I’m sorry for speaking about him more than I speak about you

You hear me speaking about him to consultants, nurses, teachers and friends. You sit in the shadows as I explain what kind of an exhausting day we had with every detail of your brother’s tantrums and meltdowns. You overhear the phone calls about him and watch as I battle and fight for him. You must think that I don’t even acknowledge your existence. But I do…

I’m sorry for all of the times that life will seem unfair

For all of the above and more, life will sometimes seem unjust. No parent specifically asks for a child with special needs, we love and embrace the children and the life that we are given. But for a child with special needs, who didn’t ask for anything at all yet has things “taken” to accommodate a sibling life must seem unfair at times.

With no excuses or explanations. I am sorry.

With love

Your Parent.

I wholeheartedly believe that the siblings of children with special needs are the ones that will grow up to change the world. The qualities that they already exhibit in childhood lay the foundations for adults that will be tolerant, kind and care for their fellow human beings. Even though I sometimes feel guilty, and wish that there were two of me, so that my time and resources could be more evenly spread, I don’t regret the amazing people that my children without special needs are.

Miranda Philip lives in London and is a mother of four, substitute teacher, blogger and wife to her better half. When she isn’t mothering, teaching or blogging she enjoys as much travel and retail therapy as is physically and financially possible with four children and a two-year-old Shih Tzu.

She blogs at but posts more frequently on