Sunday, May 10, 2015

At First Sight

You have to watch this awesome video of a blind mom and her ultrasound of her baby! It was so special to watch. It got me thinking this Mother's Day weekend of my own mom. I think of her often of course but sometimes I get too clinical because I ponder things from a blind perspective or from a third party, an outsider if you will, insights. But after I watched this video, I simply just thought of her.

For those of you who are new to my blog, my mom is totally blind and has been since before I was born. She has never seen me. I never thought of her as my "blind mom". Blindness was quite noticeable in my life--we didn't have car (she was a single mom), I read a lot of stuff to her, it was hard for her to help me with homework or do my hair. It wasn't that blindness was a bad thing or something that held me back. It was simply just there. A way of life for both of us. She knew she was blind and I knew how to make countermoves to accommodate for it.

I have been in the field of blindness as a professional for over 10 years now. I love it. It is a way of life, a passion, dare I even say a special talent to understand blindness. I learned a tremendous amount from my mom although I didn't truly understand this until much later in my life. As I have said, blindness was just a way of life--nothing out of the ordinary or special to me. I give a lot of presentations on the Expanded Core Curriculum and work with a lot of parents. I like to share stories of my childhood. The stories are true and they are funny. Most of my life was spent just my mom and I and we had to figure things out unlike a lot of mother/daughter teams. We were poor and resources were slim to none. That's where I learned self-determination (an area of the Expanded Core Curriculum). I realized, not too long ago, that I learned my self-determination from my mom. My self-determination is easily my biggest strength. I am motivated, strong, determined, passionate and even a little too demanding. I could have easily gone another direction in my life. I could've skipped school, got into trouble and turned to a lot of unsavory coping skills but I didn't. My mom went down a lot of different roads in life but the one thing she stood strong on was that she could do things. She was wrong a lot--sure, but she was hell bent determined on what she wanted to do.

Then I saw this Huggies video about a blind mom and her first ultra sound. The mom wondered what her baby would look like and his features. It is a beautiful video. I wondered about my mom and her thoughts of me for the first time in my life. My birth story is unlike traditional stories. My mom didn't know she was pregnant until she went into labor. The whole thing was a surprise (although if you knew me, you would know that I can make an entrance...). My mother also has epilepsy as well as my father. This was quite dramatic thing to happen to two of them. She thought she was having stomach cramps and headed for the toilet. I don't think I need to go on further as you can imagine what she thought was actually happening. It wasn't until the paramedics arrived that she learned that I was looking to make my entrance.

And now I think of her sitting on a hospital bed alone with her newborn baby. It takes me a minute to connect to this as this if often 'just a story' about my birth that is retold to me. What an emotional mess my mom had to be?! She couldn't have dreamt a story like this if she wanted to. And yet there she was, sitting on a hospital bed with a baby girl, her baby girl in her arms. I wonder what it must have looked like for her to touch my face, my head, nose and ears. I was a full size baby of 6lbs. I was strong enough for her to hold without machines or tubes. Did she count my toes and fingers? I wonder if she pleaded with God to give her back her sight so she could see me or did she already know me by her touch? Blindness was all around her. Her physical blindness was obviously there but what about all the other blindness that would quickly approach her? The blindness of those around her that would tell her that she would't be able to do this as a blind mom. The blindness from her own lack of self confidence to raise a child that she couldn't see. The blindness of not being prepared to do this--no crib ready, no car seat, no list of potential names to give.

Well, it's definitely been an adventure over the last 35 years of my life! A lot of people could easily look at me and think I am the miracle. They even called me a 'miracle baby' when I was in the hospital. The definition of the word 'miracle' includes that it is a: "surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency." or "a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences." Motherhood for my mother the past 35 years has been a miracle. She has done an amazing job. She hasn't done it all alone. No mother has. My mother was humble enough to let others step in when she could not do it. She might not have been the one to teach me a lot of things but she was always the first one who was the proudest. I've always known that. She's doing the best that she can. Just like I am sure she swore she would do the first time they put me in her arms.

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