Being a mother certainly has its challenges, but it comes with great triumphs as well. And these constant, contrasting feelings of fear and accomplishment are not at all foreign to this mother with a spinal cord injury (SCI).
As a C5-6 complete quadriplegic, this mother, who writes about her motherhood journey anonymously, shares she once battled with the thought of having children. She was plagued with questions on how she would be able to raise her children or take care of their basic needs. She also feared how her disability would affect her children physically and emotionally. Her first pregnancy was an unexpected one, and it pushed her to confront these questions head-on. Yet, she was not in this alone, and together with her husband, the couple figured out how to make things work.
“Fortunately, my husband always had faith that everything would work out, and it did."
A couple of years later, they decided to have another child. Some parents desire to be as involved in their children’s lives as much as possible, and this was no exception for this mother. She has experienced the feelings of “heartbreak” when she could not personally meet her children’s every needs. However, by adapting various items in the house, she was able to be more hands-on with caring for her children. For instance, she used a regular table that she could wheel under instead of a changing table. And because of limited hand and finger function, she opted to use more Velcro instead of buttons or laces for her children’s clothing.
When her children went off to school, she had to perform the duties of an active mother by attending school functions and events, or to participate in play dates. One of her biggest challenges was to be mindful of her emotions. Her top priority is never to let her children worry about her, or to transfer her feelings of frustration about herself to them.
“I cannot do certain things just like other moms. The more I could accept that and roll with the frustration, the more relaxed and calm my kids were.”
This is still something she tries to practice often, since after all, motherhood is a learning process.
Being a mother ultimately brings her great joy and happiness. Her children have grown up to be great examples of kind and ambitious young adults who shower her with love and affection. She has also learned much from them and grown as a person as well. “Mothering has its ups and downs, but it’s filled my life with happiness,” she shares.
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