3 Reasons I Love Having 3 Sons With DMD

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by Betty Vertin |

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Before COVID-19, I used to travel a lot and participate in several in-person meetings and conferences related to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

Unfortunately, having three sons with DMD is somewhat rare, so I was sometimes shy to share this fact when introducing myself. When I did, the room would often go quiet, and everyone would then comment about how difficult it must be for me.

People always asked how my family managed to cope. But the truth is that having three sons with Duchenne is all I’ve ever known as a parent. I don’t know what it would be like in any other scenario.

I don’t like it when people assume that it must be worse to have multiple sons with the disorder. In fact, I have discovered many positives within our situation. So, I wanted to share three silver linings of having three sons with DMD — one for each boy.

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1. They help one another

Seeing my boys help one another is one of the greatest gifts of my life. They share a remarkable sacrificial love.

It deeply touches my heart to watch Charlie, 10, the only one who can still bend over, pick something up off the floor and hand it to one of his older brothers. Or, when Charlie, who shares a room with his nonambulatory brother Rowen, 12, wakes his dad or me up to tell us that Rowen needs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Or, when they help one another navigate a new building and share pointers on finding a ramp or an elevator.

My three sons will forget their own limitations to help a brother who has more. The examples of their love could fill pages.

2. They can rely on one another

My boys are never alone during appointments or clinical trial visits, or even in everyday life. For example, Charlie is often scared about getting his blood drawn or having an IV placed before a cardiac MRI, but having his brothers with him in the waiting room or the exam room has made all the difference. They explain to him what’s happening and how it feels in their language, and they help him to stay calm and brave.

Max, 16, Rowen, and Charlie also spend time with one another. Their other siblings are often busy with friends and sports, and although they spend time at home with their brothers who have DMD, they are more active.

If I only had one son with Duchenne, he might be left home alone with Mom and Dad. But because we have three sons with DMD, they can hang out with one another. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the three of them playing video games or talking during the weeks we were home for Christmas break.

3. They have 3 times the fun

Sure, I could focus on the fact that having three sons with DMD requires a bigger van, three times as many appointments, and three times as long to do stretches and put on ankle-foot orthoses at night. Instead, I’ll count the extra roars of laughter, smiles, snuggles, adventures, and achievements.

As I write this, I’m thinking about the shenanigans that go on in Charlie and Rowen’s room as we tuck them in at night. So much laughter and joking goes on that we must make sure their little sister, Mary, is in bed and asleep before we start their nighttime routine. Otherwise, she would never get to sleep!

This is the kind of life I’ve always wanted to live — one full of love and laughter. All of my children bring me that, but our three boys with Duchenne multiply it in our family exponentially.


Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


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