First Step Forward

The last time I consistently blogged was circa 2006; I was 24 years old. I had just graduated with a Master’s Degree in Humanities. I was walking out of a successful university career with numerous awards, scholarships and recognitions. I was starting my first full-time job at a local insurance brokerage as the Marketing Coordinator. It was the year I travelled to Australia and New Zealand on my own to meet up with friends who were studying teaching. Exciting times.

In the fourteen years since, I obtained a post-graduate diploma in post-production; met and married the man of my dreams; travelled some more; and gave birth to my beautiful daughter: M!

Here I am at 38 years old (almost), and I’m blogging again. Why? When I write, I understand myself more deeply. However, during these fourteen years, I inexplicably stopped writing.  I stopped writing through some monumental moments of my life. My hope in starting this blog is to help navigate an inward journey while pushing myself to do something I love: write. Also, sharing my story may help others going through a similar journey of navigating parenthood with a disability or difference… or maybe navigating motherhood/parenthood in general. (I’m sure many experiences will be the same whether you have a disability or not.) My voice has changed dramatically since the young woman of 2006; motherhood has changed me to my core. I need to know and understand motherhood, and my voice as a mother, to move forward confidently with this new identity.

The Quiraing, Isle of Skye, Scotland; May 2013

Learning To Embrace A New Me

The writer I was in 2006 has had to evolve to survive today. Motherhood doesn’t afford one with a lot of time to clearly and concisely measure one’s thoughts in balanced sentences. I don’t get hours each day to read literature and to methodically write critical essays like I used to (I wish I did). I’m lucky that I am awake past 10 p.m. writing this, and my daughter hasn’t woken up yet with a night terror.

While my experiences as a 24-year-old were as real as I felt they were back then, I don’t think I allowed myself to see myself for who I really was — Cerebral Palsy and all! Most days, I actually forgot I had CP. It’s not that I ignored my CP, it just was not as apparent as it is now. As a mother, I see and feel it every single day. 

Motherhood/Parenthood has a way of throwing who you are back in your face. I cannot escape myself (my disability?) anymore because my daughter depends on me. She depends on me being her mom and depends on me being there to take good care of her all day long.

Having a disability and having someone depend on me has made me view my disability in a new light. When M waits for me to put on her shoes, zip up her jacket, put her hair in a ponytail, I have to pray that she has patience. All these seemingly easy tasks that may take “most” parents mere seconds to do for their busy toddler takes me a significantly longer time. It is because of this that I now see my disability very vibrantly. I am reminded every day that I have Cerebral Palsy. I am reminded every day that this is now something I must face and learn to embrace in a way I have never done before.

Now I have to learn to love myself in a new way. M needs to see that my disability is a foundation on which my life has been built. It is a strength that pushes me, and it’s something I must now proudly celebrate. Like most journeys in life, motherhood is no different, there will be challenges, and there will be even more significant victories as I dig deep to find a side of myself that is only surfacing now. This part of me couldn’t exist in 2006 because I wasn’t a mother then. Now I am, and I need to learn to embrace motherhood and disability … for me… and for M.

I hope you will join me on this journey. I hope my words can speak to you.

I hope that together we can make space for each other, share stories, connect, learn, listen, understand, and be vulnerable. I hope you find a space here for you, too.

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