When Your First Born Is Legally Blind: The Struggles That Parents Have To Deal With

Nothing beats the excitement and fear that you feel upon learning that you will soon become parents. Expecting your first-born would give you mixed emotions, which include the extreme mood swings and weird cravings that come along the entire pregnancy; the Couvade’s Syndrome that husbands usually experience, and the paranoia that you get when negative thoughts invade your mind. However, more than the worries you have are the happiness you feel as parents-in-waiting, knowing that your love has given birth to life – a symbol of your love.  

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Giving birth is just the beginning. The real battle happens when you start the life of parenthood, wherein you take in the responsibilities and obligations of raising your child into someone that the society can rely on in the future.  

However, for a couple to have a blind first-born, this is somewhat upsetting.  

 

Denial Only Makes It Hard, While Acceptance Helps A Lot. 

Discovering that your first-born is blind is indeed terrifying. This is what happened to a couple I met a few weeks ago. The couple recalled the day that they found out that their son is legally blind. At first, they were really in denial and did not want to believe that their first-born would not be able to see how beautiful life is. They went out of their way to seek further medical opinion and more tests for their son to be cured. 

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It was hard for them to accept their situation and felt sorry for their son; especially the wife who even blamed herself for what happened to their son, as she thought that maybe she had taken a medicine that had a side effect on her pregnancy. As days passed by, after consulting with at least four pediatric ophthalmologists, it remained a fact that their son still cannot see.  

Until one day, the husband talked to his wife, comforting her that they must accept their son’s fate and focus more on how they can be outstanding parents to their son. Finally, the wife came to her senses and took the situation. She agreed with her husband that instead of looking for another specialist, the couple decided to look for the right healthcare professional to help them raise their son to function adequately despite the psychical disability. Since then, they realized that despite what happened life has still blessed them with a child, which just made them a better person than they were before.

Sareh Keshavarzi, PhD, writes “Parents with blind children take on additional parenting responsibilities such as making making attempts to enhance the children’s learning about social activities, self-care, and independence. Evidently, the parents who experience stress and psychological pressure cannot fulfill their parenting roles and, eventually, may even harm the children’s social, psychological, and physical growth.”

Do Not Fear. It Is A Test Of The Relationship 

Life could get any better for the couple, even if their son could not see them they made sure that every day, their child feels the unconditional love they have for him. They became more inspired to work and save as they know that it will not be financially accessible to provide for their son’s needs.  

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“Parents should not shelter their blind child, but encourage independence and active play,” suggests Dr. Betzy Zaborowski, Psy.D., Exective Director of the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute.  “All children need recreation and room to make mistakes; all of us have, at some point, skinned our knees.”

When their child reached three years old, the husband told his wife about having another child. The wife frankly told her husband that she was afraid of getting pregnant again, as she fears that they might have another blind child. Instead of getting upset with his wife, the husband hugged his wife and told her that she has nothing to fear, the physical, mental, emotional, and even the spiritual struggles that they have been through just made them tough and battle-ready to face any challenges that may come.  

“The role of the family in the care and development of the child is extremely important, since the family nucleus comprises his/her social support network. Family interaction is seen as the basis and support for the promotion of several forms of child development,” Giovana Calcagno Gomes, Ph.D, professor of the FURG Nursing School emphasizes.

From having a blind child to planning for a second child were indeed a test in their relationship; however, the couple managed to surpass all these, and now enjoying their newly added bundle of joy, this a healthy daughter, in their family.