Being the mother of a special needs child has to be one of the most challenging things to deal with in life. I remember when I was a little girl, I dreamt about my perfect wedding, the perfect house my perfect children. I’m sure that this is the dream of most little girls.
Well… things don’t always seem to work out the way you want them to. I was 20 years old and unmarried when I had Simone, I met Ashley and we fell in love and got married when I was 4 months pregnant with Nicole!!!!! (Sorry mom. Ha ha)we nevr had a honeymoon let alone a family vacation!!!!!!!!!!!! Ashley and I thought we were done with being “new parents” along came Leah, and we were given the news that she has Achondroplasia. After all this and lots of soul searching and tears I realize I can proudly say I have no regrets about the way things has turned out, this was and is the plan set out for my life and my children came into my life with perfect timing each of them giving me a valuable lessons in life and love. I know in my heart that Leah was sent to my family with a specific cause. She has taught us the meaning of unconditional love, support and acceptance. So on the whole my life could not be more PERFECT, and if I had to live it all over again I would not change a thing. (Okay one thing …….. maybe I would be a bit thinner!!!!!!!!!!!)
Leah’s Achobdroplasia has made us more aware of the day to day issues people with disabilities have to deal with, it has also made me realize what parents of special needs children go through on an emotional level. After Leah’s birth I was pretty much left in the dark I did have a chat with a genetic counselor but was informed of all the things that “can go wrong” with kids that have Dwarfism and this left me utterly traumatized, fortunately I met Tonya from “What is Normal” now “Knoahs Ark” and from there I was introduces to all the other Little People Blog moms and dads, it is there were I found my priceless support and information. One year after Leah’s birth I plucked up enough courage to start “Raising Leah” with the goal of raising dwarfism awareness in South Africa and to let new moms and dad see that life can be very normal even if your child has a special need.
I have met the most amazing people over the past 2 years; we have been there for each other through happy and sad times. I have learned to appreciate life on a different level and to take one day at a time. I know that the future holds many challenges and as Leah gains more understanding there are going to be difficult questions ahead, but If I dwell on the future im going to consume so much energy trying to plan for something that might turn out to be totally different to what I am expecting…. So I say to heck with that, we will deal with those issues as they arrive and for now im going to enjoy my girls while they are still mine to enjoy, pretty soon they will be all grown up and they wont need mom and dad as much as they do now.
So my mission for now is to raise awareness about Dwarfism especially in South Africa, besides our blog, Leah’s story has been featured in 4 leading magazines with the hope to inspire and make people aware of what dwarfism is and the challenges individuals face living with this condition. I would like people to realize that little people have as much right to a “normal” life as any other average height person. I have to admit that I do get annoyed with parents who decide to enroll their achon kids in special school because they believe that their child will be subjected to teasing in a mainstream school situation. You as a parent need to take a stand and raise the issue with the teachers and students and the parents of the school even if it means addressing your grievances in a meeting with the whole school. The public needs to be made aware and its not going to help your child cope in the real world if you shy away from society, after all your child learns from you, and if you the parent believes in your child they will definitely start to believe in themselves and they will know that they can achieve anything possible in life.