DOTING Becky Kenyon has three children with three different disabilities — the odds of which are one in nine million — but refuses to call herself unlucky.
The full-time carer, 40, says: “My babies are alive and full of love — things could be a lot worse.”
Becky’s eldest son Ben, 15, has Asperger syndrome, middle lad Harry, 13, has Down’s syndrome, and Charlie, eight, is autistic.
She says: “Knowing they were going to need lots of extra support and lifelong care was very difficult to take in at first.
“I threw myself into it and researched every condition and just told myself they needed me.
“Other mums feel sorry for me but I just shrug off their sympathy.”
And she adds proudly: “I love my boys so much and nothing was ever going to change that.”
But Becky was unaware of just how unusual her situation was until Sun Doctor Carol Cooper worked out the staggering odds.
The medic said: “While estimates vary, on average there’s around a one in 100 chance of a child developing autism.
“Asperger’s is a closely related condition, so once you have one little one with any autistic spectrum disorder, the chance of having another one is roughly one in ten. With odds of having a baby with Downs at about one in 1,250, the chance of having children with all three conditions is nearly one in nine million.”
The first lad to be diagnosed was Harry, who was discovered to have Down’s at birth.
Then just two months later Becky and hubby Andy, a building manager now 50, learned two-year-old Ben had Asperger’s.
Becky, of Rugeley, Staffs, had the older boy tested after noticing that he did not like being cuddled and struggled to understand the difference between “yes” and “no”.
With two children with big challenges, Becky admits she took time to adapt.She recalls: “I felt out of my depth, I was only 27, so I tried to teach myself as much as I could. I was shattered all the time at first, especially as Ben struggled to understand the word “no”.
“A month before his third birthday he attacked my friend’s son Joe because he had a toy Ben wanted. He struggles to control his movements when he’s upset or angry.
“He doesn’t understand what’s happening in those situations — it’s heart-breaking.”
But former music teacher Becky had no idea how much harder things were set to become when she fell pregnant with Charlie in November 2003. She says: “I remember people asking me, ‘What are you hoping for, a boy or a girl?’.
“All I’d say in return was, ‘Just a child who doesn’t have autism or Down’s syndrome, I just want my baby to be OK.’”Charlie was premature but seemed fine — until he was a toddler and alarm bells rang.
Becky, who gets by on carer’s and disability allowances, says: “He was 18 months old when he started walking on his tip toes, a classic sign of a disability, and I began to worry.
“Doctors diagnosed him with autism and honestly, I just didn’t know if I was going to cope. Every day was a blur. At one point Ben didn’t like having Harry around so I literally had to take Harry everywhere with me.
“Other mums would ask me how I coped but, in all honesty, I’d never known any different.”
Charlie’s autism means he struggles with speech and communication, shies away from social situations and gets extremely stressed by change.
Four months after Charlie was born Becky slipped into depression.
She explains: “I loved my boys so much but when it came to caring for them 24/7 I kept questioning ‘Why me?’.
“I remember thinking I had one job to do — to have children — and it was my fault this had happened.”
Becky saw her GP and got medication to pull her out of the depression.
But the strains were too much for her marriage and she and Andy split up in November 2008.
Becky only just kept her head above water — but things slowly began to improve on several fronts.
She says: “When Andy and I split up I spent 24 hours a day as a mum and carer. But as Ben got older things became easier.
“He and Harry both started school, giving me more time with Charlie.
“My only concern was being a good mum — my love life didn’t enter my mind. Then George come along.”
Becky met windows firm worker George Yates, 43, in a local pub last summer and they immediately hit it off. The couple have been together since.
She says: “It was completely out of the blue as I wasn’t looking for love. He was amazing and really took to me and the boys.
“He offered to help and more importantly, he looked after me too.”
Now Becky couldn’t be happier and is proud of all her boys.
She says: “Yes, I could’ve had ‘normal’ children but for each son I just had to take on a bit of extra work.
“I get so much more in return from them and while I used to think, ‘Why me,’ now it’s, ‘I’m glad it was me.’
“I was chosen to be their mum for a reason and the happiness they have brought to my life is worth every sleepless night I’ve had.”