We were referred to a Baby Therapy Centre which housed all the therapists and treatments required to treat and help babies with brain injuries, and so began three years of therapy sessions, remedial splints, and ongoing consultations and reports.
Early on we recognized weakness and spasm on our baby’s right side. The doctors and specialists referred to her diagnosis as “Right Hemi” or right-side hemiplegia, but it was only after one year before I heard them use the term “CP” and was dismayed to hear she actually had Cerebral Palsy. I don’t know why, but the label seemed so harsh, so cruel. I think we all have fear and prejudice towards the “different”. I couldn’t imagine how my baby would grow up and become independent with her disability.
Let me say that the only label or report I really needed was the Lord’s. Every medical report and doctor’s consultation filled me with dread and fear and pushed me into anxiety and hyper-vigilance. Instead, the Lord spoke to me in His gentle love and care, and He filled my heart with hope and peace. He helped me focus on “one thing” at a time. He encouraged me to live in the “now” moments with my child and not worry about the future. I wish I could say that this was my permanent state of heart, but it was the only way I could cope as we went through many valleys, peaks, and plateaus.
By now I realized that I followed an “Attached Parenting” style. I attributed this mainly due to my breastfeeding years and the amazing mentoring and excellent parenting books I read in the La Leche League library. I wore my baby in a sling and chose to nurture and respond to her every need with care and love.
After three years, the Baby Therapy Center referred us to private occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and speech therapists, as our child was no longer considered a baby. We continued regular therapy over the following nine years.
Our daughter was a bright, chatty, young toddler. She was beautiful, vivacious, intelligent, creative, fun, strong-willed, sensitive, loyal and spiritual. I loved my days with her!
My child continued to meet her milestones and, praise the Lord, showed no signs of learning or speech delays. We attended a toddler’s play group and we enjoyed monthly play dates with our antenatal moms’ group. Homeschooling was a very vague option, but I felt that my child would cope in mainstream schooling, so I didn’t look into that aspect at all. Little did I know how gently the Lord would lead me into that role.
To be continued in Part IV.