As a mother, I am guilty of comparing myself to other mothers, and sometimes judgement follows. Sometimes it is judgement towards myself (Why can’t I be more patient with my kids like that other mother at the park?), and sometimes my judgement is directed towards another mom (Wow, she sure lets her kids run the show!) But when I’m in a good healthy state of mind, I focus on learning from the mothers around me. I observe their empathetic language and attempt to use that same tone when my child is having a meltdown rather than fueling the tantrum with my own frustration. I observe how they put away their cell phones, and get down in the sand to build a sand castle with their child at the beach, and I feel encouraged to fully engage with my own children.
Most recently, I’ve been learning some amazing lessons about motherhood from a fellow blogger, Holly Bonner, author of “Blind Motherhood”. I’ve gleaned so much from this honest, witty, unstoppable mama, and knew instantly that our readers would want to meet her, too. If you haven’t met before, I’m pleased to introduce you to Holly Bonner.
Blind Motherhood by Holly Bonner
Welcome to Blindmotherhood.com! I’m Holly Bonner, a 36 year old, wife, mother and social worker! 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 the hell 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 worry about making pushing a carriage feasible or how to get to and from the pediatrician. Only two people had that responsibility, my husband and myself. I then started channeling my pregnancy hormones and overzealous desire for nesting into becoming the best-disabled mommy I could be. I used my education, started networking to local and federal resources and scoured the Internet to get the answers I needed.
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 lightning can strike twice – baby number two – another daughter named Aoife, made her debut in October 2014! Those damned doctors!
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.”