Welcome to Blindmotherhood.com! I’m Holly Bonner, a 40-year-old, wife, mother, social worker and chaplain! After completing chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2012, I became legally blind from a neurological condition. Thrust into a much darker world, I went from the role of social work practitioner to the part of disabled client in need of services. With months of training in technology, mobility and ADL (adult daily living) skills; I finally began to feel like I could confidently rejoin the land of the living with my trusty white cane by my side. Then, what doctors had said was impossible happened, I got pregnant! Doctors….LOL! What do they know, right?
With the news of my pregnancy, I went from being an already awkward newly blind woman, to somewhat of a community oddity. As my belly grew larger, people’s reactions began to impact my life, some positively and some negatively. Complete strangers interrogated me with questions. How are you going to take care of a baby? Who’s going to help you? Did you plan this pregnancy? Are you keeping it?
People didn’t see “Holly”, the capable individual and the educated practitioner. It didn’t matter that I was married and had a stable, loving home. All people could focus on was my outwardly apparent disability. Then one day I asked myself the question, “Why do I even care?”
Overly opinionated people weren’t going to be feeding my baby in the middle of the night or ensure I was giving the correct dosage of Tylenol. They didn’t have to figure out how to push a baby carriage with a guide dog or how to snap a car seat into an Uber.
Once I learned how to drown out that unhelpful background noise, I began channeling my pregnancy hormones and overzealous desire for nesting into becoming the best disabled mommy I could be.
I used my social work skills to connect with local and federal resources and I leaned on my faith in God to take care of the rest.
When my beautiful daughter, Nuala, was born in 2013, the normal new mommy nerves were compounded by the fact I had to rely on limited residual vision to care for her. Thankfully, I also had my “mostly” wonderful husband, Joe, to help me through my wild and crazy post-partum existence. With him by my side and utilizing my innate mothering spidey senses, we successfully made it through our first year of parenting only to find out that lighting can strike twice – baby number two – another daughter named Aoife – made her debut in October 2014!
I invite you to join me on this journey of Blind Motherhood! Open your mind to what you think is the impossible. Don’t fear my disability; get to know what’s beyond it. Don’t see my family as disadvantaged; see them as blessed. Blind or sighted, when it comes to parenting you can “never lose sight of life, love and laughter.”