A single mother-of-seven has shared how her teen son takes good care of his siblings after her husband left them.
37-year-old Emma Lowe has given birth to three children with Down’s syndrome – a daughter named Molly and twins Alfie and Arthur, 6. Molly sadly passed away when she was only 5 months old.
Their lives became more difficult when her husband decided to leave them after her youngest child, Elsie, was born. Harry, now 14, spends up to 19 hours a day taking care of his siblings.
“It was a very daunting prospect, especially with two disabled children,” Emma expressed. “But Harry stepped in and became the man of the house. He is absolutely incredible and I couldn’t cope without him.
“Most 14-year-olds are out with their mates, having fun, or lazing around. But Harry never gets a minute to himself.
“He looks out for the twins all the time, just like a parent would. I would just like him to get the credit and the recognition he deserves.”
Emma is also a mother to 13-year-old Benjamin and 20-year-old Thomas who is away at college.
Her heartache started when Molly was born in March 2011. She had underdeveloped lungs, a hole in the heart, and was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome. She passed away 5 months later.
When Alfie and Arthur were born in July 2012, she was shocked when they were also diagnosed with Down’s syndrome.
“The chances of having three babies with Down’s Syndrome were a million to one. But when the midwife held Alfie up, I recognised the features, just like Molly,” she said.
“The condition itself didn’t scare me because I knew I could cope. But I was scared, after losing Molly, that the same thing might happen again.”
After a year, Emma gave birth to Elsie. Her husband then decided to walk out without any notice, leaving the mother wondering how she would deal with everything alone.
“Harry naturally fell into the role of young carer. It wasn’t what I wanted for him and I certainly didn’t push him into it,” she said.
“But he loved caring for the boys and he quickly became invaluable. I really couldn’t cope without him now. Harry and Alfie in particular have a very special bond. Alfie is completely non-verbal except for one word: ‘Harry’.”
Harry gets up at 5:30 to bath and dress his siblings. He also helps feed them while getting ready for school.
In the evenings, Harry changes their nappies, cooks dinner and washes clothes.
“He helps put the twins to bed with me and then, late at night, we will reheat our evening meal and eat together.
“It can be midnight by the time our tasks are all finished. Even during the night, if the twins wake up crying, he is there with them. I try to make sure he gets his sleep but he wants to look after them.”
In addition to taking care of his siblings, Harry is also involved in charity work and support groups.
“Harry has even given talks on his brothers. He wants to make people more aware and more accepting. People have no idea what life is like for him – and other young carers,” Emma added.
“He adores his brothers but looking after them is demanding and difficult sometimes. But I know he wouldn’t change them for the world.”
You have a heart of gold, Harry!
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