A Dose of Reality

Well my little joy bubble was popped a bit this weekend.

I was going to write a post about how much I love his left arm (and I will tell you all about that love within this one) but then I started doing some reading and found my myself looking face on at some of the negatives in our future and it’s had me pondering and quite challenged so I’m going to write about that instead. It’s not the only thing to have popped my joy bubble this weekend, an indoor trampoline park cut short a 5ive megamix to play a Justin Bieber song…outrageous!!

I’ve been reading a book that came with my membership pack for joining Reach (fab upper limb difference charity here in the UK) I’m very excited about our Reach journey as they do local meet ups and seem to have a great online community too. The book is a well written and put together piece bringing together people’s experiences of being a parent to a child with an upper limb difference, it covers all sorts of different topics from finding out the news to your child starting school. Before I go into it’s challenges I shall like to take a brief break to talk about my love for his left arm…

His boxing pose
His boxing pose

It is so cute! Take a look at some of the pictures. I’m breastfeeding my right hand man, and I get to explore either his left side or right side depending which breast he’s feeding from. Both sides are beautiful and amaze me. His left side is obviously fascinating to me, and when he rests his arm on me during a feed it makes my heart melt. In the same way I play with his right hand, I love playing with his left arm, it’s so soft and smooth, there is a bit of a palm which can be tickled (and sweats!), when he’s tired he rubs his eyes with it and oh my that’s very cute. He loves putting things in his mouth, including his left arm which is always amusing as it looks like he’s got his entire fist in there! It may not be so pleasant when he pushes it into your neck muscles but I honestly could go on with how much I love his left arm.

See! It looks like he's eaten his fist!
See! It looks like he’s eaten his fist!

The book.

This is a great book, it’s worth mentioning that I am only half way through, so I’ll give you a full opinion/thoughts again when I’ve read it all. It is such a great book that I will be passing it onto grandparents and anyone else who fancies a look, so I would like to point out that I’m not complaining about the book, simply discussing how parts of it have made me feel.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the book is collection of experiences from parents who have a child with an upper limb difference covering lots of topics, this means I’ve had to look at some of the negative things that are coming up in our future. I’m not silly, I knew it wasn’t going to be a smooth sailing life and some of the blog posts I read during the pregnancy definitely highlighted these for me, but something about the brute honesty and openness of their lives really hit me.

The main section that got me was one were parents share their experiences of when their child first realised they were different to other children. That is something we can’t escape from as that moment and that question is going to happen at some point. It’s a bit like the question about where babies come from, one day we will be asked, one day we will have to answer and one day he will have to process that. Naturally it saddens me at the thought of him feeling negative about himself during this realisation, but I guess it is part of the accepting who you are process. The author of the book, who has an upper limb difference herself, mentions during this section about her asking herself ‘Why me?’. For quite some time this added to my sadness, as I’d never want my son to think that about himself, to wonder why he has to endure particular hardships and not others, to feel as if he has drawn the short straw in life somehow. After much pondering and exploring why it made me sad I came to realise that at some point in life a vast majority of us will ask that question, won’t we? I know I have, several times! From financial difficulties to bullying, from health issues to regularly getting splashed by cars driving through large puddles, a majority of us will go through periods in our lives which are tough, which bring us down a little bit and make us feel ‘Why me?’. Now, fair enough, a lack of a hand is something that my son will have for the rest of his life, but as much as I’m not happy about him potentially feeling ‘Why me?’ about himself I’m not as saddened by it as I was originally. Unfortunately life deals each and everyone of us hardships in some form, it’s one of those rotten things, as I can’t fully protect my children from them I’m going to do my best to equip them instead.

Physically I know my son will be absolutely fine, and he will live life doing the same daily tasks as everyone else (which in itself will cause people to be amazed) but it’s the emotional side of it all that my eyes have been opened up to. It’s one thing me having always felt positive about his limb difference and that our experience has been a happy one, but it’s a whole other thing knowing that my son may not always feel that way.

I’m nervously excited about reading the rest of the book, as I’m not sure what other emotions it’s going to bring out of me, but I know it will be for the best. It’s all information I need to hear, feel, process, and then keep living life in a positive way learning how to make sure the potential negatives don’t bring us down. Oh, and not to worry about them along the way.

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