A brother, or a son? A look at the effects of autism on a sibling.

I am not a mother but I have experienced motherhood from a very young age.

My brother was diagnosed with autism when I was five years old. It was not a shock but it was devastating. Twenty years later we are at breaking point, all unable to cope with the constant challenges that come with autism. We love our child but we can’t carry on much longer. It’s been twenty years of ,what feels like, having a newborn. It’s a combined family effort, watching his every move, to keep him out of harm’s way.

I wish I could say autism was this beautiful eye opening journey that I was lucky enough to have experienced for the past twenty years. It has been nothing but the opposite. It feels like we have lived a never ending nightmare, one we’re still trying to wake up from. The constant worry, the persistent watching and cleaning up of bodily fluids. It has been exhausting.

I have never lived a day in my house where my life hasn’t been affected by autism.

This isn’t a sob story. It’s a reality check. I want to be brutally honest about what life is like with autism. I envy the people who say they’ve experienced a magical , life altering journey. I wish I could say the same. I can’t.

My brother came into my life when I was 2. I look back and actually miss the person I could have been. The person, who I wish had experienced a childhood, the person who could leap without looking, speak without thought and act without consequence.

I became a mother the day he was born. The third parent. I’ve learnt so much about being a mother in the 22 years of my life. I have learnt that it really is the most selfless job. It is a case of putting their needs above your own, twenty four seven, 365 days a year. I am both sister and mother.

I knew this was the case when ‘mummy’ became one of my titles.

Part sister and part mother, I have been wrapped up in this mixed identity. I love my brother as a sister but care for him like a mother. I have sacrificed and given more of myself to him than I have ever given to anyone.

The silver lining is that I am a much stronger person. I have built a sort of resilience that comes with living in my circumstances.

The saying is true, what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

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Seana Eve

Wannabe lifestyle blogger. Sister to a child with Autism. Working in the Film and TV industry.