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Parenting Survival of the Fittest

Posted by Yvonne Felix on December 4, 2014 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

For anyone, having your first child can be exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. The anticipation of a new person you are bringing into the world is unbearable, but at the same time you have a million things to prepare for. I think there is one common thread that everyone does worry about before the arrival; what kind of parent am I going to be?


When you are living with vision loss, while your list of concerns may be the same as everyone else, the reasoning behind the concerns is definitely different.


When I had my first son, I was so worried about the fact that I was not going to have the ability to take him to a library and pick out books. This lead me down a path of endless wondering. How was I going to teach my children to live in a sighted world when I could teach them nothing about sight!


Eye contact is crucuial for the development of an infant but how was I going to communicate that if I could not even see thier face? I was not alone in my parenting, but as the primary care giver, I had to reach out into the community and outside of my comfort zone to make sure that he was getting everything he needed, in terms of visual development. More often than not, he would ask about sounds he heard rather than things he saw. Surprisingly, he actually did learn to start reading earlier than most kids, perhaps out of necessity.


There were also moments of anxiety that I am sure most parents also have but I am not sure, again, it was for the same reasons: "Is my baby breathing?" passed through my mind a million times a day. So I sat with him laying on my chest, in fact, he slept that way for the first six months of his life. I could only feel that breath, I could never sit back and watch him sleep in a craddle, I could not see that far - even a foot away.


I am very excited that my sister will never have to experience these thoughts for the same reasons I did. She will have the opportunity to watch her son develop and grow with the normal concerns of a parent. With the advancement of technology, she will be changing the face of what parenting means for the partially sighted.