With the other week being Bell Let’s Talk Day to raise awareness for Mental Health, I was so excited to see Maternal Mental Health was also talked about.
Parenting is hard. There are moments filled with the highest of highs; everything is going relatively well, we’re getting the hang of it, this is the best gig ever! But it’s also filled with the lowest of the lows; this sucks, I have no idea what I’m doing, nothing seems to be working.
As a mama with a Deaf kiddo, we have had a lot of highs and a lot lows.
I remember before we discovered Em was Deaf, feeling so defeated every time she would drop to the floor and bang her head while she cried because she couldn’t tell us what she wanted. It was so heartbreaking as a new mother to watch our little girl become so frustrated almost every day.
I had seasoned mother friends tried to reassure me telling “they all do that”, “it’s just a phase”, or “its normal for them to throw temper tantrums”. As a first time mama, I wanted to believe them, but I knew deep down it was because of something bigger.
Even after her diagnosis at 16 months the frustrations still continued. She soaked up ASL like a sponge, and we almost couldn’t keep ahead of her. We could see she wanted to learn to speak, but because she couldn’t hear all the speech sounds she struggled. She would attempt to say something and when we didn’t get it she would just melt. Anytime something didn’t go her way, she would scream and cry for a good 45 minutes then just go to sleep from exhaustion.
I remember feeling isolated, alone, and doubting my abilities, as I know we all do as mothers. I would bawl to my husband about things that happened throughout the day, and just wishing to be able to communicate better with Em. Our journey with Em has been long and hard and I know there’s still more to come. But I know our past experiences give us strength to endure and press forward.
Yet even in those seasons of despair, we have also had a lot of highs; hearing Em say “I love you” for the first time; recognizing her name sign; hearing leaves crunching in the fall and finding so much excitement from the new sound; along with so many others.
Em is now 7 and flourishing in ASL. Her spoken language has improved so much from those first few years, and she works hard at everything she does. She can communicate openly whichever way she chooses with us, and loves to make others laugh with her silliness. I had no idea in those dark moments just how amazing having a Deaf kid really can be.
Motherhood has been the HARDEST thing I have ever done, but it has also been the most rewarding.
So let’s keep that conversation going. Let’s celebrate those highs, and find support in those lows. Because motherhood really is beautiful.