To the new parents of a child with hearing loss or any other diagnosis,
I understand how you are feeling. I have been there. And I am here to tell you...
It is going to be OK.
Yes, it is going to be challenging and you might find yourself thinking you aren’t made for this kind of stuff. But, you’ve got this.
Right now you might be feeling sad. You may be grieving the parenthood you imagined you would have. And those feelings are probably filling you up with an overwhelming amount of guilt. Because you know you should be grateful for having your baby and there are so many others who have it so much harder.
You will soon move through the grief and accept your child for exactly who they were designed to be. These mixed emotions don't mean you have less love for your baby. Rather, it means you are human.
Give yourself grace as you process the unexpected nature of this new diagnosis and then roll your sleeves up and get to work.
You may be fearing what the future holds for your child? Perhaps you are worried whether or not they will be capable of achieving their goals and dreams.
Will they make friends? What will it be like to grow up with hearing loss?
You may be worried because you do not know what to expect.
What you will soon learn is the sky will be the limit. Hearing loss will not inhibit your child’s ability to be an excellent student, a compassionate friend, a kind human, and a thriving adolescent/teen/young adult.
They can play sports, learn an instrument, write a novel, and surf epic waves.
What I know for sure is there will be seasons when it feels hard. Really hard. But, those seasons will pass.
You may fear no one will understand what you are going through, the gravity of it all. But, you will surround yourself with experts who guide you through the process. You will create a team of advocates who ensure your child is not limited. You will learn who your true friends are and make new ones, too. This circle will help you feel less alone.
You will fight for your child’s rights and access to a first-rate education. You will ensure they are seen and heard. This will reveal a strength and determination you never knew existed.
And, your child will learn to be resilient, adaptable, and empathetic. Because their journey will not be a typical one — they will develop grit and courage.
You will eventually sit back and marvel at how far — in what seems like a blink of an eye — they have come.
At this moment, you may be overwhelmed by the choices in communication modalities, technology, and be confused by the varying opinions of others.
I guarantee you that your instincts will know what is best for your child. Because no one knows your baby better than you. You will learn to trust your gut and intuition. It will lead you in the right direction. Every. Time.
There truly is no one-size-fits-all way to navigate this journey. It is unique to you and your child. And as long as you are loving and accepting, you won’t go wrong.
New parents, I want you to know that no matter how many times you feel judged or the lack of empathy from others, you have the power to keep spreading awareness and acceptance. You have an opportunity to educate and make the world a more inclusive, tolerant place.
Hearing loss can be intimidating in the beginning. But, once you get your footing and educate yourself, you will see it as a small part of your baby. They are more than this. They are still whole. Remarkable. And amazing.
New parents, know you’ve got this! Your child — because of your love — will succeed. Keep setting the bar high and your child will exceed expectations, and the sky will be the limit.
Written by Valli Gideons on www.facebook.com/MyBattleCall