It can feel all too often like I have one real child and one invisible child, despite the fact they are twins.
One of my children has significant additional support needs and at seven is unable to speak, can not read or write or play with other children and needs full support from adults to meet all his needs.
As my children get older their lives are becoming more and more different and at times I find myself mentioning my son and people look at me like I have an invisible child.
My daughter's school teacher never gets to see him or speak to him. My daughter rarely gets time to speak about her twin despite him being a huge part of her life.
One child gets invited to birthday parties. Her invisible brother doesn't.
When we are out, people talk to my daughter but many ignore her brother like he is isn't there.
At a meeting with professionals recently there was a discussion about helping the children socialise. Places were suggested for my daughter but nothing was suggested at all for my son.
In the street my daughter is known because she attends the local school. My son has to be sent many miles away to a school by taxi with no other child in the area and therefore people in the street and community hardly know he lives here.
A friend came to my door the other day with a bag of children's clothes. Everything was for my daughter as she wasn't aware I also had a son.
They send him to school miles away with children who rarely have parties and whose names I don't know.
Even when his school does do anything 'in the community' it is not the community my son lives in so he never gets known.
He can not attend scouts or dancing or football so will never experience the joy of being part of a team or organisation. It is impossible even for him to go outside to play to make friends.
In fact the only time he is ever away from me, apart from school, is for a few hours respite.
He is a huge part of our family. He IS known to his therapists and school and respite workers. Yet in the community he lives in, he is often unheard of.
I carry photos and videos of him on my phone. I delight in telling people about him though part of me wishes he could introduce himself.
A staff member of my daughter's school saw me recently with my son for the first time as I tried to calm him down after a meltdown.
"This is my son." I said with a smile.
"Wow. I never knew!"
It's like I live two lives with two different children. One minute I am the visible mum to the child people know and then I am the mum to this invisible child that people still seem shocked to hear about seven years after he was born.
I am a proud mum of twins. Both of them deserve to be known.
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