…. So, how do you feel? I suppose you don’t know. I wrote this a couple of months ago on my facebook page but wanted to expand on a few points.
When reading about families finding out their gorgeous new babies are deaf, which of these sound more familiar?…
A) We are delighted to find out that….
B) We are devastated and heart broken to discover that….
C) We are angry and frustrated that….
Right. None of those are likely responses to the news a child has a hearing loss. I get that. But most people when they talk about discovering deafness are usually a combination of B and C. Sad, confused, anxious, angry, upset, scared and so on. The first thing to remember is THAT’S OK! No-one is going to judge you for feeling like that, it’s a totally normal part of coming to terms with something like this.
I’m not sugar coating anything, sometimes that final piece of paper that gives a diagnosis of a hearing loss will churn up many many feelings, some you won’t be proud of feeling. I remember looking at my tiny 35 day old baby as he was sat with all these wires stuck everywhere, and wishing I could have made it different. I wished so hard that he wouldn’t have to sit through more tests and go to hospital appointments and have his little life spent between check ups.
I suddenly began to think about him growing up, about school, would be be bullied? Would he have friends? Would he pass his exams and be able to go to University like me? Would he learn to drive? Have a job? Get married? Buy a house? Kids? Holidays?….
But you know what, all those thoughts happened in maybe a second, because what I was actually looking at was my baby sleeping in his car seat, snuffling away as he did when he was newborn, and was thinking about how lucky we were to have such a beautiful and content baby. That we are so lucky to have an NHS that did (and is still doing!) a fantastic job in looking after us. That the fact that this little, unique boy had a life of excitement ahead of him, regardless of whatever the diagnosis is.
When we were in the middle of the tests, many of our friends would say to me “you’re coping with this so well! I wouldn’t cope with what you’re going through!” But to be honest, I didn’t ‘cope’, I simply just went along with the flow. You don’t really have a choice. Off the back of every appointment, another one is made, you seem to spend every week in different hospitals seeing different specialists who all want to poke and prod your new arrival and for me, eventually all my feelings that I’d bottled up started overflowing. So I wrote them down. That’s why I now do this blog, I get things out of my mind and off my shoulders and I share it with people who care.
There is no right or wrong reaction to this sort of news and quite simply, it’s okay to feel anything that comes up. But try to focus on the little sparks of positive that you find. Your baby is your baby before any diagnosis. He or she is still your beautiful child, and with your love and support will be a fierce influence in this world and achieve great things.
Please don’t deny yourself the chance to process all the information you’ll be given, it’ll take time, but find a way to express that emotion, whether it’s writing it down, talking to someone, being arty, exercise, whatever. It helps. I promise.