Becoming a mother for the first time is already a challenge within itself. However, being a visually impaired single mum is a completely different world. As visually impaired people; we complete day to day tasks in our own unique ways. This is the same with being a visually impaired mum for the first time. We just have to do things differently to other mums and it may take us a little longer to complete tasks. However, we will do everything that non VI mums do independently. I believe this creates an incredibly unique bond between us and our babies. They learn from us and they adapt to our way of doing things.
I have taken care of babies in the past for long periods of time. The confidence I had in my level of experience went out the window as soon as I discovered that I was pregnant at age 20. I decided that I had to seek advice from as many people as I can. Which was the worst possible idea I had as they kept saying they had never experienced a VI mother before. They only gave advice on basic newborn care. I knew I didn’t need help with how to take care of a baby. I needed help with how to adapt this for me when I will be alone with him all the time. I quickly realised that only I know my capabilities. After some research and practice I found what works for me.
An example of this can be that, I did some research and asked my mobility officer to help me practice the different ways I could use my pram. I decided to use my pram with my cane. This is by pulling it behind me with one hand; instead of pushing it, while using my cane in front as normal. I do this in areas I am unfamiliar with. When I feel confident with an area; I push my pram and use it instead of my long cane. I also use a baby carrier instead of a pram sometimes. This allows me to be close to my little one and use my cane as normal. We both prefer this method, as he has a chance to watch his surroundings while we feel safe being so close to each other.
I think planning properly and in advance is the most important thing with being a visually impaired parent. I had everything prepared by the end of my 5th month of pregnancy. I was constantly looking for ways to make my life easier. It really helped a lot after he was born. I spent less time looking for items and more time with him.
Feeding, changing and all the basics come naturally after the first couple of weeks with a newborn. The hard part is figuring out what works best for you. The lack of sleep really affected my level of concentration as it does with anyone. Therefore, having a routine really helped early on.
Now, my son is almost 8 months old and we are discovering and overcoming new challenges every day. We learn from each other and he definitely let’s me know if I am doing something wrong for example he spits his baby food at me if I give him the one he doesn’t like by mistake.
I am looking forward to learning new ways of doing regular activities with him as he gets older. Being a VI parent is never going to be simple. Yet, having the right support and routine in place can really make it seem like it is.
@BlindMums #NewMum #VisuallyImpaired