Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Deaf Mommy

You know, sometimes it’s easy to interact on blogs and feel a bit “normal” because you’re not sitting across from me while I try to lipread.  And not trying to patiently repeat everything after I say, “what?” a million times.

(And that reference to “normal” might be BEFORE you read any of our True Story Tuesday posts, just sayin…)


But keeping it real; being profoundly deaf is huge in my day-to-day life.

Sometimes it’s funny, like the time Itty Bit heard someone at the door and let the Jehovah’s Witnesses in.

Or when I don’t catch him in public when he’s yell-singing, “GOD IS BIGGER THAN THE BOOBY-MAN!”.


Sometimes it’s just scary.

Like the time he let the Jehovah’s Witnesses in.

Or when he ducks into the clothes rack at a store and I can’t hear him to find him.

Or every night when I try to quiet my heart while worrying that he’ll wake up and I won’t know it.


Sometimes it’s hard.

Like when he turns on the dishwasher when I’m not looking.

Like when he is sick and I can’t pick up the phone and call someone.

Or when he tries telling me something from the backseat.

               Or tries telling me something in the dark.

                                     Or tries telling me something in a whisper.

                                                          Or tries telling me something when he’s crying.


To an extent, I can try to accommodate most of those things.

I can keep him in my sight 24/7.  Which is insanely impossible and spectacularly exhausting.

I can turn the dome lights on.

I can ask him to repeat himself over and over.

I can ask someone to call the doctor for me.

I can hold him as he cries until I can understand what’s the matter.


But what I was unprepared for.  The worst part of all?


The jealousy.


I had to admit once again today.

I’m jealous of the grocery checker who chats away with my son in a noisy place.

I’m jealous of the girl who talked non-stop with my toddler while cutting his hair.

I’m jealous of my sister, who cracks up at my boy’s silly songs.

I’m jealous of my mother, who has marvelous phone conversations with my four-year old.

I’m jealous of my husband who says “I love you” back to his son after lights-out.


As if regular Mommy-Guilt weren’t enough.

In moving the clothes from the washing machine to the dryer, I felt a thumping sound from the nearby bathroom.

Figuring Itty Bit was just stomping, I continued to load the wet clothes.

The thumping intensified.


I finished the load, turned the dryer on, and looked for the source of the sound.


I found Itty Bit on the floor, kicking his legs.  Tearstained face.


I rushed to pick him up and realized that he was stuck – wedged firmly by one arm underneath the door.

I pulled his arm out and cradled him in my lap.


Mommy, I tried to tell you.

I was yelling and yelling.

I was crying and crying.

You didn’t come.



The bruises are fading.

He thinks they are silly and rather cool now.

He points to them and smiles.

I return his smile, a bit brokenhearted inside, but grateful for his forgiveness.




No one told me it would be this hard.


Krulls in Haiti said...

I'm so sorry you have this added challenge. I cannot understand, but I can empathize. What a strong woman you are. Mommy guilt sucks.

Allenspark Lodge said...

I don't cry when I read blogs. I don't. I DON'T.

Your child is going to grow up self-reliant, and still knowing he's loved. That is a great gift.


Shana Putnam said...

I am so sorry Rachel. I wondered about these kinds of things but you just don't ask you know? I think it is so unfair. But I know a lot of things in life are unfair. I know you make the best of it and you are a wonderful mother and I know Itty Bit is every bit as blessed as the next miracle God created and more so because of who you are. Whether you can hear him or not God knew you were the perfect mother for Itty Bit. HE knows. He knows you have the capacity to love this child unlike anyone else in this great big world, of course so does Mr Daddy. But I can't imagine the jealousy. I would be horrible. I think of the video I saw of the Mom holding her little baby who had just had cochlear implants and they turned them on and when he heard her for the first time, the look and smile on his face got me. I can't imagine my child not being able to hear me at all. But I can imagine him not being able to hear me enough or to understand me and going 6 months without hearing Mama about killed me. I couldn't imagine being in Blaze's head when the noise stopped you know. They said he was barely hearing anything. I think of it now and still cry. I am crying for you because i want you to hear. I want you to have those moments. I want you to share in those joys. But I also know that you will have a deeper sense of Itty Bit because of our hearing loss. You will notice the slight changes as he is older that might be a signal something is wrong because you are more in tune to his body rather than what comes out of his mouth. You won't take the everyday things for granted because you are going to want to and make yourself seen so you can see him face to face and your relationship will be better for that. I don't really know what I am trying to say but just saying what is coming to my mind. This post breaks my heart but it makes me feel so lucky. I am lucky to know you and Itty Bit is lucky to have you for a MOm.

Shana Putnam said...

Amen Bill. And sorry for the book Rachel.

Liz {Learning To Juggle} said...

Oh sweetie, I can't even imagine what this must feel like. Mommy guilt sucks on so many levels!! From here though I think you are doing a pretty kick @$$ job!! {{{HUGS}}}

Lisa said...

Awww Rachel.
He loves you; you are the best Mommy in the entire universe to him. You are his world, you are perfect for him.

I understand the ache.


Amy said...

Today my kids were being loud and even louder. I posted on FB that the noise was driving me crazy. Thanks for the perspective.

The Lumberjack's Wife said...

I can't imagine how hard that must be. There are so many aspects of it that I would have never considered. You are a good mama and I can tell you love him so much.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try AGAIN to leave a comment. Please God...let me leave a comment this time. OK? Thank you.
Rachel... God doesn't make mistakes. He doesn't. He might not give us a smooth path through life; we might face challenges that seem SO very unfair. A deaf momma. A baby with cancer. A dad who drops dead at 43, leaving behind 4 and 2 year old daughters. All real. All hard. And yet... I believe that He also USES those things, when we put them in HIS hands. His strong hands take that hard coal and turns it into brilliant diamonds. Diamonds that shine brightly one day in crowns that are placed on our heads. Forever. And girlfriend, I have NO doubt but that, if I don't get to meet you here on earth (stupid satan keeps trying to keep us apart, but he isn't as smart as he thinks he is... just sayin'), I will still know who you are when I see you in Heaven. I'll see you from waaaaaay far off, because the glow from YOUR crown? It will light up the heavenly sky.
And in the meantime... there are many precious little children who have moms will fully functional ears and broken, cold hearts. I can promise you that they would trade for broken ears and a heart full of love ANY day. Itty Bit is a lucky little man, and when he grows up, he'll tell you that over and over. love you, friend...

Anonymous said...

(and p.s. I figured it out. I switched to Firefox as my browser, and I guess your blog doesn't play nice with Firefox. So, I came in through Explorer, and I can leave comments... YAY!!!)

Buckeroomama said...

I know this doesn't take away the mommy guilt or make it any easier, but you are Itty Bit's mommy for a reason... and I am sure he wouldn't trade you for anybody else in the whole world. :) We all do what we could given whatever our limitations are and that's all we could ask of ourselves --that we do the very best we could given who we are. {{HUGS}}

Mrs. Mom said...

I second what Bill said. (Now dammit where is my box of tissues? Something in the coffee must be making my eyes water....)

Big big loves to you Rachel. HUGE loves. Itty Bitt is going to be one helluva good guy when he grows up, because he has two amazing parents.

Hmm. I wonder if getting that sweet handsome adorable (Lord HELP us if we ever get our boys together) little man of yours a flashing strobey type thingamabobber would help? This way he can flash at night or when he needs you? Or umm.... shoot.. something that has a button he can push, and you can feel the vibration, like on a bracelet of some sort. (Kind of on the shock collar theory.... but NOT a shock Your lil fellow would be like my two guys and have entirely too much fun with that... HA~

Hey Mr Daddy- get creative out there! See what you can invent and secure your millions!! ;)

Brandi said...

Aw, girlie. Ya know, you have challenges in one area that I won't even pretend to understand, but it's obvious you compensate in a lot of other areas. You have the biggest heart, Rach. Itty is a lucky, lucky boy and it's obvious he loves you to the moon and back. You're a wonderful momma.


Merri Ann said...

Wow ... like Amy above says ... it puts things in perspective on the days I've just had it with the noise.

I think the thing that really got me the most was the final I love you at night after the lights are out ...

My guess is that you are going to have a really great, well adjusted son. There will be a day when he is going to understand these things about you, and it will change him.

What a great post! Hope your having a great weekend.

Discovery School at First Baptist Heath said...

I can only say that as Moms we all fall short and miss the big "thumps" whether hearing loss, or distracted or lazy, or stressed, or ruptered disc in backs or...on and on.. We all bring great gifts to our children. each one unique and that makes us perfect to parent that child.. GOd created you.. with a a plan and a purpose and Itty bitty is so blessed that God created him with a plan and a purpose and to have you as his Mama...

Foursons said...

Everything that Pam said...I second that. She said it perfectly.

I am so sorry that you felt ill-equipped to take care of Itty Bit that day. I too am thankful for my boy's forgiving hearts because I mess up a lot. And I can hear them perfectly.

You are an amazing mom, don't ever let yourself forget that.

Just Add Walter said...

you are an amazing mother and I am positive that Itty Bit knows that.

Also, kind of a side note just because I am curious... do you do sign language? if so, are you teaching it to Itty Bit?

Unknown said...

Oh sweetie not only does he know you love him greater then anything else in the world, he is still young so he doesn't think to do something other then yell right now. But in learning from you he will learn empathy and patience and acceptance for others where ever they are on their path. He will learn that communication is more then words it is body language and eye contact. Look at all he is learning through you.. God does not make mistakes

Saimi said...

Just so you know, we all have our mommy quilt.

My youngest was three when he bonked his head trying to climb into his dads work van. He fell and had a pretty good head bleed, the quilt comes in when I was in the house making lunch for everyone, heard him crying and screaming, thinking oh here he goes again, always screaming....never checked to see what the matter was...Poor little fella had to bring his bloody head to me sobbing and crying.

Talk about guilt...I still feel bad to this day and he's 20 now!

You're the BEST mom and your son knows it..Don't be so hard on yourself. God blessed you with your challenge because He knew what a strong person you are!

Here's a big hug for you....arms stretched wide, embracing you, big squeeze... :)

I use Firefox and don't seem to have a problem commenting...computers can be so finicky.

renee said...

rach, my heart broke when i read your words. i am sending a hug from st. louis. YOU ARE LOVED, my friend.

Unknown said...

Oh know what it's like to be in my shoes but I have never walked a day in yours. I would gladly give a day...week...month without hearing if you could have yours for the same length of time. God gives us all different struggles, you deal with yours with so much more grace than a lot of people. Bless you.

MrsMann said...

Oh Rach! So many great words above me. He will be the most amazing guy, because of what you see as your weakness/problem. He will be more patient and kind and loving to people than most because of you. He will be a treasure of a husband because of you. You are such an amazing mother and such an amazing woman. I can not even begin to imagine how it would be to not hear. But you are a rock star through it all! Hugs, love & prayers!

sara said...

wow, Rachel, I read this post and just sat here for the longest time. Realizing all the things I take for granted.

thank you for being so honest. you are a wonderful mom and itty bitty is so blessed to have a mom that loves him so much!!!

GunDiva said...

Rach. You know I love you and I can only imagine the mommy guilt. HOWEVER...Itty Bit and Mr Daddy are so lucky to have you because when you are communicating with them, you are really communicating. It's far too easy for those of us hearing mommies to just nod and smile at our children or spouses and not have a clue what they just said.

You are the epitome of how to properly communicate: eye contact, total concentration on the speaker, paraphrasing what was said to make sure you understand, and you're a body language expert. Honey, it's the rest of us who are sorely lacking, not you.

Presley family said...

Oh, my dear sweet friend.... I am so sorry that you have to endure these trials BUT you and I both know that becuase of our "special" situations we have been blessed with perspective.... "if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." I know that these moments are heart breaking BUT it is becuase of these moments that you notice the other, the little, wonderful, sweet moments even more. I hope that some day we can meet face to face and have a wonderful broken and I am sure laugh out loud funny conversation. :)
You are an amazing Mommy.....
God told us "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."

Unknown said...

God knew Itty Bit would need an amazing, extra special mommy. So He made you. All of you. He knew about your deafness before the creation of the world. And He knew how hard it would be. So He promised to walk with you. To give you that -hmm- to go check on him.

I cannot even imagine what life would be like not being able to hear my girls. But I know that you are an amazing person, friend, and mother. And no amount of hearing can change that.

Unknown said...

Rachel, I'm so sorry for the things you miss but want to share something with you.

My mother was a young mother. She played games with my sister and I and also stayed up nights to discuss our dates with us. She was such a wonderful person to talk to. A good while back Mom had a stroke and lost her ability to speak. I mention it on my blog, but I mention it because having someone you deeply love have an impairment improves our tolerance and understanding of others. It will enhance his ability to adapt and understand others. God bless!

Anonymous said...

oh my gosh. I hardly know how to put my thoughts into words. this post broke my heart, but I love your honesty and the insight you shared. <3

Furry Bottoms said...

I don't have my own kids, but I do have 14 nieces and nephews. I completely understand the jealousy part.

Already, I think you're turning out to be an excellent mom. Just look at that face of your son. You are working with what God gave you, and #1, he is not neglected. #2 he is not abused. #3, he is very very much loved. And you know what else? He is going to grow up with something a lot of other kids dont's have. A better understanding of people with disabilities and a better view of the world in general. He'll be more open minded.

My nieces and nephews who are in their teens now can brag that they know how to fingerspell really well. They brag that they have a deaf aunt. I never imagined that would have ever happened to me. They also bring more awareness to other people who would not be otherwise exposed to this disability.

Does that stop the heartache when something happens and you have to find alternative ways to get to the root of the situation? No. It hurts and it is exhausting, but it strengthens us.

I am so glad your son's arm is healing up nicely!

Angie Vik said...

This post touched mt heart. Thanks for the honest peek into your world. You did a wonderful job of letting us see your heart. A line from a song my girls learned at VBS a few summers ago keeps running through my head as I read this. "I'm going to look that problem right in the eye and say 'My God's bigger than you are.'" I have a lot of admiration for you. Bless you for being strong and doing the best you can with the hand you were dealt.

Kmama said...

You are such a strong person, and such a good mommy. I can only imagine how hard it is to deal with stuff like this. ((HUGS))

Aunt Crazy said...

Ahhhh Rach!!! You're a great momma! I'm sorry you have those feelings that hurt your heart and all the words and platitudes we have to offer won't make it stop, but our love and truths can help you feel better! You have to trust in yourself and in Itty Bit that you are his momma for a reason and y'all are a team, a great team. Mr. Daddy seals the package with his greatness. The three of you are perfect for each other. That, my friend, is how the universe works.

robin said...

I'm so sorry that happened and that you felt bad about it. Heck, I've done something similar...with all the noise/loudness, I didn't realize that there were sounds of distress included. That's just part of being a parent.

My daughter had a friend about twenty years ago (lol!) whose divorced mom was deaf. It was good that her daughter was able to translate what she was signing and that there was that phone TTL? person to call and let me know what they wanted. That was long before cellphones and texting. But I remember thinking how difficult it would be if I were in her place.

I didn't even think about hearing/not hearing when it was dark... :(


kc said...

the forgiveness that our children give is the second best blessing we are given :)

Just as we see our children as perfect in their imperfections, I think that we have to strive very hard to accept our imperfections as parents and know that our children see us as the perfect mommy for them. Now if that wasn't just so darn hard!!!

Rising Rainbow said...

It wouldn't be hard if you didn't care. There are so many children in the world who have no one who cares for them. Your son may not have the perfect mother (and of course no one does) but he is so lucky to have a mother who cares for him with such passion. That is worth so much more than what he misses because of your hearing.

Michelle Pixie said...

I think you are an amazing mommy and Itty Bit is so blessed to call you his own! The mommy guilt sucks and boy do I know the mommy guilt but at some point we have to forgive ourselves and know that as long as we always come from a place of love we are doing right by our babies. Love you, my friend!

Unknown said...

you have every right to have a moment (and as many moments as you need) to share the difficulties in your take a moment to feel the pain of what you don't have.

during the time we spent together I did not begin to process how challenging it is for you, at times, in the world. You, just like my nephew, charge through this world and conquer it in so many ways...

With optimism
a positive spirit
with joy
with courage

It's easy to forget that you struggle at times and that my precious nephew, must struggle at moments too.

Thanks for sharing your life with us.

This post makes me admire you more.

You are the best!

~Julie (wifemomnurse)

Eve said...

OMGoodness! I'm so sorry! How frustrating and difficult and emotional it must be. I confess, I'd never considered what it might be like to be be a deaf parent - you handle it so beautifully!

Heather said...

I am so sorry. I never thought of most of that stuff.
I would be jealous too.

He is so stinking cute, but I can still imagine that watching him so close is very exhausting.

HeatherOz said...

Oh Rachel. I am currently experiencing a sob fest! First the baby hearing for the first time, then this post and now ALL of the comments. It is so obvious that you are THE BEST Mom!

Floortime Lite Mama said...

oh my darling
I feel your pain
And dont have lovely things of comfort to say
But that I am crying with you

Michelle said...

Oh sweet Rachel. I wish I had come here earlier and read this.... You are a sweet and wonderful mommy and what you lack in hearing, you make up for in so many other ways. I think of your deafness as a gift, because you don't take for granted some of the things most mommy's would. Most mommy's listen with only half an ear as they try to make dinner or get dressed or whatever else they're doing. You listen to your baby with all you have, because you treasure every word that comes from his mouth! There is nothing that he doesn't say that you don't know about. And it's because of your deafness that makes you treasure it all! Itty Bit is blessed beyound belief to have you as his mommy!

Kara @ His, Hers and Ours said...

I knew that I had read somewhere before that you mentioned being deaf, but that was the last I thought about it. I come and read your blog, often times not leaving comments (shame on me!) and just marvel at your humor, wit, amazing connection you, Mr. D and Itty Bit have. But like you said, you don't see the other challenges behind a computer screen.

This post was so profound and touching. You are an amazing person and an amazing mother. I would have never thought about these issues had you not been so honest in laying it all out.

Like someone else said above...while you may not "hear" like a hearing person does, you hear on a much more deeper and intimate level that I envy. I'm so guilty of listening to my daughter ramble on about her day, that if you asked me to repeat what she said, I would be stuck like chuck. I couldn't. I take it for granted.

Thank you for your honesty, and making me realize what I'm missing out on, and taking advantage of, all at the same time.

Joey Lynn Resciniti said...

This is something I wonder about a lot as I look way into the future to a time when I might have grandchildren. Thank you for giving me this insight into your life. I think your son is very blessed to have a mother that will exhaust herself to keep him in sight 24/7.

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