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Mom Tells Pregnant Daughter She's 'Not A Priority' Over Special Needs Son & Refuses To Help Her Out Because She's Too Busy

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Distraught sibling of a special needs child

Having a child with special needs presents all kinds of challenges, especially when you also have other children as well. One mom posted online about her struggles with balancing the needs of her neurodivergent son and adult daughter has resulted in tons of conflict. 

A woman told her pregnant daughter she's 'not a priority' because of her special needs son needs round-the-clock care.

Siblings of special needs children often face unique challenges, according to mental health professionals, because they frequently by necessity end up in their siblings' shadow. For one mom online, that situation has extended even into her children's adulthood—and despite the fact that her adult daughter Cristina is now pregnant and needs her mom's support more than ever. 



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The mom has refused to support her daughter through her pregnancy and join her in doctor's appointments.

The woman has two children, 26-year-old Cristina, and a 16-year-old son named Dwight who is neurodivergent and "needs my attention (and my husband's) all the time since there's a lot of things he can't do by himself." She notes that is his "primary caregiver."

Cristina is married and nearing the birth of her first baby, and the mom writes that Cristina "wants my attention all the time." She is constantly asking her mother to help her with things like doctor's appointments. "I told her several times that I can't unless it's an emergency," she writes, "since Dwight gets severe anxiety in hospitals and I can't leave him alone."

Cristina is upset by this, arguing that her mother could simply leave Dwight with his dad or his nurse for a few hours while her mother joins her on her appointments. But the mom says this is impossible, and she thinks "the pregnancy hormones may be affecting her too much and she wants to 'fight' for her mom's attention."

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The mom's daughter has accused her of neglect and favoritism, and they have fallen out over her refusal to help with her pregnancy.

Things came to a head between the mom and Cristina as she neared her due date. "She asked me to go stay at her house for a bit before the birth and some weeks after the baby's born," the mom writes. She refused, again citing her need to care for Dwight.

Again, Cristina suggested Dwight stay with his dad and nurse, but the mom still refused. "She needs to understand that my priority is taking care of my son now," the mom writes. "Now that she's an adult and doesn't need me, she's not my priority."

Cristina protested that "she's my daughter too" and that she needs her mother's support, but the mom replied that once Cristina is officially a mother herself she'll understand her mom's need for priorities. The mom writes that Cristina "cried and insulted me" and told her "she'll never be able to forget that I chose her brother over her again and during such a hard moment for her."

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Siblings of special needs children are frequently neglected by their parents, according to experts. 

They suffer from a whole host of difficulties, in fact. A 2013 study at the University of Arkansas found that people with a sibling with a disability have significantly higher rates of mental health conditions, difficulties at school and interpersonal challenges with their peers. 

Another study at Brown University's Alpert Medical School found in 2011 that in addition to mental health challenges, siblings of special needs children also tend to have problems in their parental relationships, just like Cristina and her mom.

Siblings of special needs children also frequently feel cast aside and neglected by their parents, as high school student Jamie Guterman, the sister of a special needs child, shares in the video below. 

Therapist and psychology professor Dr. Avidan Milevsky says that siblings are often deprived of attention amid the "family focus on the child with the disability" as parents' available time to spend with their other children is limited.

"Parents may spend a great deal of emotional energy on the child with the disability," he writes, "leaving little emotional energy to support the sibling." This also often leads to a phenomenon called "parentification," where siblings of special needs children are given extra responsibilities that result in them "overlooking their need to act like children" and can cause emotional problems.

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Many online felt like the mom was being cruel and insensitive in her refusal to help her daughter through her pregnancy.

"Jesus, she just wanted a mom," one person on TikTok commented, and that seemed to sum it up for many people. "Sounds like she hasn’t been the priority for 16 years!" another person wrote.

Even parents in similar situations to the mom felt that she was handling things all wrong. "As a mom of a neurodivergent child and one who isn't," one mother wrote, "yes you are [in the wrong] and you need to prioritize BOTH your children." Another mom of a special needs child agreed.

"I am 40 years old and still need my mom," she wrote. "My son is autistic and I have a daughter as well. Both kids need me and I try my best to split my time with both of them"

Others warned the mother that she will have deep regrets down the road for not being there for her daughter. "She is reaching out for you to be a part of this special time in her life," one person commented. "You will regret it if you don’t."

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers parenting and human interest topics.