The last week of September is celebrated as The International Week of the Deaf. This week we aim to bring awareness, acceptance, inclusion and hope as we celebrate the unique diversity, endurance, abilities of deaf people all over the world. Today, we have Mrs. Jyotsna Wadhwa tell us her experience raising a child with profound hearing loss. Read on to know more about their journey of acceptance, discovery and triumph.
“Disability is not a weakness, but the courage that helps move and break all boundaries.”
As a woman, one of the most desired blessings I yearned for was to become a 'mother'
I still remember the day my daughter was born. By God’s grace, she seemed to be healthy, just like all the other children born that day at the nursing home. As we settled in at home, everything seemed to be going perfect, until one day I realized that something didn't seem right with my little one. To our dismay, it was her hearing ability. Even considering the fact that our child could be hearing impaired and disabled in any way seemed daunting. This couldn’t have happened to us. It was hard to accept. We did what seemed easier for us, we continued to live in denial. However, as a mother, I had a nagging worry that I couldn’t let rest. I knew something wasn’t right, so I took my daughter to the nearby ENT specialist without telling anyone in my family. It was a routine checkup of the ears and the doctor put my worries to rest, assuring me there was nothing wrong with my daughter’s hearing. This was the positive answer that I was looking for. I went home feeling at peace for the first time in weeks.
Days turned into weeks and weeks into a year, when I realized that though my daughter had turned a year old, she still hadn't started babbling. That was an alarming sign for me and it got me looking for a specialist who could give me the answers to my questions. This time I took her to the hearing test centre. I had a strong intuition that there was a problem with her hearing ability but I kept my fingers crossed, praying to God, I was wrong. But the day was not in my favour. The reports came in and confirmed what I had feared all along; my daughter had severe to profound hearing loss in both ears. I was devastated.
Everything in my happy world seemed to crash right in front of me. All I could see was a sign that read “The Road Ends Here”. Many questions stormed my mind, “ How is she going to survive, how will she communicate, why did God do this to my little one?” I couldn’t rest, I couldn’t see hope. My mind was uneasy and my heart heavy.
As the saying goes, “ God could not be everywhere so He created Mothers”. With the power of that thought within a couple of days, I gained the courage to bounce back. I decided right then that I would raise my daughter with pride and self-esteem. This was only the beginning of a journey laden with challenges for us as a family. We had a long road ahead of us. We spent many days at long speech therapy trials, hearing aid trials, getting admission to regular schools and so on. Although it was a bumpy ride, full of hurdles at different levels, we made sure that we never lost hope and just kept sailing on our voyage.
Today, in the year 2021, my daughter is 19 years old and has blossomed into a smart, beautiful and talented artist who recently won an International award for her painting. She has all the qualities that a typical, physically fit person has. During her regular hearing assessments, even her doctors are amazed to see her speaking and communicating properly in spite of having severe to profound hearing loss.
In the end, I would like to add that children are known by their parents' names and achievements, but our family is recognized by our daughter’s achievements. We couldn't be more proud.
Acceptance is everything and is the first step you need to take in your journey to make a bright and happy future for your child and family. To sum it up I would say, “Where there is a will, there is a way."