I wanted to take a moment and write you all this letter; I wish someone had done so for me when I was standing where you are.
I am the proud mother of two grown daughters, ages 33 and 25, and I raised them both registered blind. Yes, I “survived” motherhood, and you will too. I’m not going describe parenting with rose-tinted glasses. It’s a tough journey and it won’t be easy at times, but never forget it’s absolutely worth every struggle you may encounter.
Finding out you’re becoming a mom should be one of the happiest days of your life and don’t let small minded people take away your “sparkle.” You may have some shocking things said to you, but always keep in mind that this is “your” baby and you’ve as much right to having one as anyone else.
I remember a woman saying to me at my first prenatal appointment “Aren’t you a bit selfish having a baby the way your sight is?”
“No,” I replied, “I’m the same as you; I just can’t see.”
Undoubtedly, you will be worried and scared, but what new mom isn’t? After all, it’s a new chapter in your life and a new learning curve. Morning sickness and exhaustion are par for the course during pregnancy. Take my advice, if you have concerns about you or your baby’s health, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Speak to your midwife or doctor immediately.
Request pre-natal leaflets in Braille or large print. Take someone with you to ultrasounds, and ask that person to describe what they are seeing. Regardless if you are partially sighted or totally blind, always get a copy of the baby’s picture; it will become one of your first memories of your child.
If you’re going to the hospital to have your child request a tour of the delivery suite and maternity ward. I think this is a must for anyone who is blind as it will give you an idea of the layout and make you feel less stressed. Rest assured, when you are given your bundle of joy you’ll just be glad it’s all over.
The smell and touch of your new baby is surreal. As you enjoy the sensation of having your infant in your arms, you’ll have many questions going through your head.
Don’t let anxiety overshadow these first precious moments with your child.
If you’re thinking, “How will I feed the baby?” Trust me, you will learn.
“How will I change a diaper?” You will figure it out, but not before your hands end up in poop a few times. Welcome to the joys of motherhood!
Above all, keep in mind, the questions you are asking have nothing to do with your visual impairment, but are the same fears and concerns of all new mothers.
As your child reaches each new milestone, like crawling, walking or feeding themselves; you will gain more confidence.
You will see how to adapt things in a way that works for you. Take one day at a time and remember, you can do it!