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What It's Really Like Growing Up With a Disabled Sibling

What It's Really Like Growing Up With a Disabled Sibling

Posted on: Sunday 12 July 2015

I umm-ed and ahh-ed over the title of this post for ages because actually I can't tell you what it's really like growing up with a disabled sibling, I can only tell you what it's like growing up with my disabled sibling. 

The reason I wanted to write this post was because whenever people find out that I have a disabled sister one of the first things they say is 'oh that must have been hard for you growing up.' Well I'm writing this to tell you that no actually, it wasn't at all hard for me growing up. I suppose some people may think that it was hard for me because I might have got less attention than my sister, but I never felt like that and I reckon it takes some pretty skilled parenting to achieve that so a massive hats off to my mum and dad.

Bethany was born when I was five. I'd been wanting a little sister for ages and I was completely over the moon. She stayed in hospital for a while because she wasn't breathing when she was born and the doctor told my parents she would only have days to live. The doctor was very wrong!

Bethany was in and out of hospital for the first few years of her life, which must have been really worrying for my parents. For me though, it was a chance to make friends with other girls whose siblings were in hospital, sing on the hospital radio station and play Sonic the Hedgehog in the playroom for hours on end.

I think children tend to see the best in situations and for me as a child, the best thing about every worrying situation involving Bethany was that I had a little sister that I adored and that fact overshadowed all of the negative.

Our relationship as sisters is obviously much different to most sibling relationships. I've always felt fiercely protective over her and these days I feel like I have the same type of unconditional love for her that a parent has for a child. Nothing makes me happier than making her laugh and if I ever see her upset or in pain (which luckily is not very often at all) it physically hurts me inside.

There is nothing hard about growing up with a disabled sibling because whatever experiences you may have because of it or whatever you might have to do or compromise is all made 100% worth it by the fact that your sibling is there and they are the most important thing in your life.

I suppose I'm not really saying that it's not hard, it's just so worth it that it doesn't seem so.

Luckily her hospital visits are very rare nowadays and she's generally a very happy person. She is immensely brave and takes everything life throws in her way completely in her stride. She can't walk, talk or do a lot of other things for herself, yet she's still learning and developing all the time.

I was lucky enough to attend Bethany's prom with her on Thursday evening and I was so proud. It's been nothing but a joy growing up with her and I can't imagine my childhood any other way. 

Amy x


  1. This is a beautiful post... I have no experience of growing up with a disabled sibling, but I am Mum to a disabled child, and I know my other children adore her, as you clearly do your sister.

    She's very lucky to have you...and you her :)

    1. Aw thank you! All the best to you and your children, sounds like you have a lovely family x

  2. What a lovely post, it's really clear that you love your sister very much! She's very lucky to have such a caring and thoughtful sister!

    Ashley |

  3. This is such a beautiful post Amy and so well written. My aunt is severely disabled so I grew up watching my Mum with her, so I can definitely resonate with this. Your sister is beautiful, I can totally see why you're fiercely protective of her! <3


    1. Thank you so much that really does mean a lot :) I'm sure you'll know exactly what I mean if you've seen the same relationship between your mum and your aunt :) xxx


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