I am extremely blessed to be the blind mother of two rambunctious little girls. My eldest daughter, Nuala, is three. She is the epitome of independence and sass. Nuala is a thinker. She’s the kind of kid who in never satisfied by an abbreviated explanation about anything. She’s observant and when you’re a mom with a visual impairment, a toddler’s detailed observations come in pretty handy. Aoife is twenty months old and she is my hell fire. You will never meet a toddler with more speed or energy than my little girl. She’s just starting to string words together and she gets easily frustrated when her mommy doesn’t quite understand what she’s asking for. When I tie bells on her shoes to hear her move around the house, the sounds mimic a fast paced holiday show tune. Despite her natural gift of athleticism, she still refuses to sleep through the night. However, as her mother I can forgive her for the dark circles she’s created under my eyes because she is so affectionate. The way she hugs and kisses me melts my heart. Having Aoife’s arms wrapped around my neck is more precious to me than any gemstone.
Pictured: Holly’s daughters.
When I lost my eyesight at 32 after a long battle with breast cancer, becoming a mother wasn’t even on my radar. I was intently focused on adjusting to my visual impairment. Mobility training, adaptive technology and daily living skills took up most of my time. When my husband and I found out six months after being declared legally blind that I was pregnant, we were in utter shock.Two beautiful children and four years later, I’ve embraced my role as mother and adapted to my disability. I may not parent my children by using some of the traditional methods or equipment, but my love for them run as deeply as any of my sighted counterparts.
I try to find the good in every day and the comedy in every situation. When you’ve battled some of the health issues that I have, you don’t take any part of life for granted because you are lucky to be living it. Very often I get emails from sighted parents of blind daughters, many of them thanking me for sharing my stories and resources so they can pass them on to their little girls.
Quotes from People Who Find Inspiration In Blind Motherhood:
“Your blog gave me hope that my daughter could be a mother one day.”
“My daughter asks if she can ever be a mommy and I don’t know what to tell her.”
Pictured: Holly after giving birth to Nuala in 2013.
I will be the first to admit, I have absolutely no idea what it is like to parent a blind child. As a psychotherapist, I have read plenty of books and scholarly articles about being a special needs parent. However, my career has also taught me there is a vast difference between “living” a diagnosis as opposed to “reading” about it.
I’ve seen both my daughters mimic my behaviors with their dolls. They push their baby strollers around our home and they sing the same songs I sing to them to their stuffed animals. My Nuala has even passionately proclaimed how she can’t wait to be a mommy. To which I reply, “after medical school.” (No pressure).
It never even entered my mind that my daughters “could not” one day become mothers themselves. In fact, I hope I live to see my grandchildren.
As mothers, we all worry about our children. We think about their futures. We fantasize about them graduating high school, college and getting married. These are the milestones that make life worth celebrating.
Encourage Your Blind Daughters to Embrace Her Dreams
If you currently are the mother of a blind daughter, encourage her to embrace all her dreams – especially motherhood.
Remember to tell her:
- She “can” have a successful pregnancy as blind or visually impaired woman.
- She “can” deliver a healthy baby with the support of her medical team.
- She “can” meet someone whom she will love and be loved in return.
- She “can” parent her child independently, but if she needs additional resources, that’s okay.
- She “will” be met with adversity at times during every junction in her life, especially motherhood.
- She “can” find ways that work for her to help her successfully parent her child.
- Her baby “will” love her unconditionally, despite her visual impairment, because she will be their mother.
Pictured: Holly after giving birth to Aoife in 2014.
It is our job to raise strong women. We must engrain in our daughters that they can do anything. Look for resources such as AFB’s Family Connect website. Become more educated. Reach out to other blind parents. Let your daughters know about those of us who are parenting while visually impaired. Trust me, I am living proof it can be done. Above all, “never lose sight of life, love and laughter.”