Being eight months pregnant is not easy. I shocked myself last month when I walk on stage and spoke to a sold-out crowd at TEDx LACC. With my Yale sneakers and a passion for spreading the word about living a good life, I executed my talk.
I had the opportunity to speak at TEDx LACC. In line with the mission of TED, my idea worth spreading was simple: special needs families and people with special needs deserve to live a good life despite their circumstances. The bridge of thought that connects this idea with the general population is that no one has a normal life. We all are bombarded daily with a reality or a circumstance that makes our lives more challenging. As a result of my talk, and my upcoming book My Good Life, I hope to change the perception that just because families with special needs children are living this reality, they still deserve a good life.
What is a good life? A life full of good people, good experiences, and access to good healthcare.When I lived in Chicago as a young adult, I never expected to live all over the country. In 1999 my life changed forever. I became the parent of a special needs child. As the parent of a special needs child, my life has never been normal. Since walking out of a suburban hospital 19 years ago with my newborn, I knew things would be different. I learned during my hospital stay that my daughter Taylor had severe to profound bilateral hearing loss, she was deaf.
I made a pivotal decision that day that I would give her a good life despite our circumstances. As a single mother whose parents had just relocated thousands of miles away, it was not an easy task. I was also a sophomore undergrad and determined to finish college. Despite those circumstances, I was able to raise my special needs daughter alone while completing three academic degrees, including one from Yale.
So many things were going through my head as I prepared for the talk. I wondered how big I would be once the day finally arrived. I was determined to seize the moment. The opportunity to speak on such an important platform does not come around often. I also felt that the circumstances of being pregnant and expecting my fourth child were in line with my message. Life is not normal for anyone, but it’s good. Treating each other with kindness and respect are two important steps to living the good life. Everyone, including families with special needs children, is entitled to that good life. To learn more about our movement, connect with us at www.mygoodlifenow.org.