Being a Mommy
I often hear the phrase “there is no instruction manual on how to be a parent,” to which I agree 100 percent. Not to mention that for myself, I have to add on the fact that I am a parent with a disability which is an additional learning curve. As a mommy with a disability, I immediately learned that I would need additional assistance to be the best parent I could be for my son.
Take for instance, the procedure that many parents go through with their newly born sons: circumcision. After this procedure, it is critical for parents to keep a close eye on your child’s penis to ensure it is healing properly. This was stressful. Not only did I question what “normal” looked like in this situation, but I questioned the healing process more with my vision impairments. Luckily my son’s father was able to assist with identifying when it was healed.
Shortly after, the next task that I needed assistance with was clipping my son’s fingernails. Anyone, who has held a baby knows how small their nails are and how fast they grow! I am so grateful, and therefore need to give a special shout out to TJ’s first esthetician, Chelsie, who always made sure his nails were trimmed on my behalf.
On the move
Once my son began to walk, it felt like a constant game of hide-and-seek. On the one hand, I wanted to encourage my son to explore and play; on the other hand, I am not able to see things that are more than 20 feet away from me clearly. Clearly this has the potential for some safety risks and so once again I had to make accommodations and ask for help. I often tell my son to stop at certain landmarks and if I am with someone I ask if they see my son as well. I periodically call his name. It’s always a balancing act because I don’t want to be that helicopter parent on the jungle gym while my son is trying to make friends but I also need to be in close proximity to ensure his safety.
Being open and honest about vision loss
Honesty and transparency are traits I have had to model with my son because my vision impairment plays a role in our relationship. I have shared with my son on several instances my visual impairment limitations. I use age-appropriate language to help him understand. For example, I might say: “It is hard for mommy to see that. Can you bring it closer?” or “Do you see the bus coming?” Recently I gave him an example of how far I can see so that he understands.
Parenting with vision loss
My son has been a tremendous help with navigating this mommy journey. He is extremely helpful, patient, resilient, and independent which makes being a mommy much more manageable. Mommy guilt is a real thing and I feel like it is important to pat yourself on the back and acknowledge when you have a mommy win. Some of my favorite mommy wins are when both my son and I have on matching socks, when I remember to pack his spoon for lunch, and the best is when we make the bus on time after a hectic morning! I am constantly reminding myself to give myself grace because I am doing the best I can given my circumstances… at least that’s the way eye see it.
Are you aware of assistive technology for AMD?