I was sure that was his ear that I was lovingly gazing at. Just to make sure I gently traced my finger along his tiny head that lay in the crook of my arm and felt where his baby soft hair ended and his tiny ear began. I wasn’t far off where I thought where his ear was. My double vision of this beautiful blur had led me slightly off course but what did it matter anyway? The miracle of life that had still been inside me just 13 hours before was now being fed in my arms as I stood in my dining room with my other hand resting on his brothers highchair. This feeling of unconditional love that swept through me was not new as I had experienced it three other times over the last six years when my other children were born but it was slightly different. Just hours earlier a lovely student midwife had asked me if there was anything that I needed help with because of my eyesight and that was totally new.
Over the years I had never been asked that question by anyone. Had she not discussed my medical notes with me and enquired with her fresh new mind about what issues Marfan Syndrome gave me I would not have told her my eyes were “not the best”. It was so lovely to see the eagerness of the student to drink in all the information that she knew would help her on her placement. As soon as the caring questions left her lips, I began to think if there was any help that I needed? I had never thought of this before as I had always got on with motherhood in my own way and loved all its challenges. If you know no other way of life, then there is nothing that can ever really be missing from it.
I really wanted to tell this sweet young girl that if I had fully functioning vision I probably would need help to learn to parent all over again but I didn’t as it would sound bizarre. The thing was. It was because I couldn’t see that I found motherhood so smooth. I tuned into my children at such a deep level that I could sense everything about them. My touch told me how they were in themselves, my hearing let me know what their cries needed, and my gut told me if there was anything to fear in the silence. My logical brain told me everything I needed to know to keep them safe and therefore if all of these senses that had kept them happy and safe for the last six years were dampened down and I was given fully functioning vision instead, I would have to unlearn all that I had learnt.
I knew each of their personalised footsteps as they raced around the house and listened for the different materials of their coats rubbing as their arms propelled them forward whilst running outdoors to know that they were safe. Their whispering sleep filled breath that fell on my ears at night assured me that they were happily dreaming away nicely. The freshly smelling bathed baby soft bodies let me know that they were clean in their fragrant newly washed clothes. Most of all however it was their giggles that let me know that even though their mother could not see as well as most, they were doing okay. I am not sure therefore if I ever did need any additional help as I felt that however we all worked together as a team, it worked. My four beautiful children were the best teachers I have ever had in my blurry. “not the best” visioned world.
Thinking back to 16 years ago to this scene of me standing with my son (who is now 6ft 4) in my arms, makes me grateful for my sight loss as it made me fall in love with my children and life in a different way. My beautiful eldest daughter is now an amazing mother to her own sweet daughter and are both a ray of sunshine wherever they go. My second daughter who is only 11 months younger has turned out to be the most thoughtful and caring person you can ask for and is herself a student midwife asking similar important questions to help new mothers in any way she can. My adorably quirky oldest son has achieved things that nobody expected him to achieve and overcome barriers that would have stopped most yet his determination is omnipresent. My youngest charismatic mischief making son, is led by his old soul in connecting lovingly to people he meets and makes them feel valued. They have turned out perfect in every way.
So, when people ask me why I didn’t tell people I could not see or ask for help when I brought up these amazing people, I didn’t feel like I needed to. Maybe the whole story will appear in another book someday but until then I will just say that I wouldn’t have changed anything as these perfect not so little people showed me a different kind of magical life that I am blessed to have lived with them.