In 2010-2011, my husband and I faced a huge decision about the future of our family. As I turned 35, I became aware that my biological clock was ticking and I had very little time to decide if I was to have children. Because we were both blind, the decision of having children was something we put off due to the sheer logistics of the endeavor. The concerns that had to be faced included health concerns, financial, and practical issues. Yet, despite the many factors that made this undertaking seem impossible, my husband and I could not let go of the yearning for something more and the desire to go for the dream I had dreamed since I was a little girl. We decided to face our fears and we stepped off the cliff of life and entered this crazy phase of life we call “parenthood.” The rewards of parenting have far outweighed the challenges, and it all began with us deciding to act even though we were afraid.
Sometimes in life you have to be willing to “do it afraid!” Here are some steps to help you take stock, consider your options, and move forward even if you’re scared:
1. Consider Health Issues when Making a Decision
As a cancer survivor with multiple disabilities, I was not the average girl starting a family. I had undergone extensive treatments that included multiple rounds of radiation and powerful chemotherapy. What was the impact on my fertility? How did this impact a future child? Should we fear birth defects, and would I even be able to have a baby? I began to search for the answers to these questions by asking my current and former doctors about the risks of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Always put your health first
- Research online, get opinions of doctors, and listen to your heart
2. Consider Practical Issues and the “real world”
After receiving the news that there was no reason I couldn’t have a child and that no obvious risks for birth defects existed, we next began to explore the practical concerns
Some of the initial concerns included how to handle a variety of tasks without vision. Changing diapers, feeding the baby, getting the baby to appointments, traveling with 2 blind parents and a baby. How could we possibly do these things? We slowly found answers to these questions and formulated a plan. There were a variety of resources out there such as a blind parents Facebook group and web sites that described how blind parents handled many tasks.
- Make a plan before you take action
- Consult with others with your limitations who have gone before you
- Consult with professionals who can offer suggestions about adaptive ways of facing the problem
3. What to do When the Rest of the World Thinks You’re Crazy
Now here’s where things got interesting…we next began to discuss our decision to have a baby with family and friends. I know our family and friends meant well, but you have to remember that most people don’t understand how we do the simplest of tasks. Cooking, cleaning, working and just putting on makeup; this all looks impossible to the average outsider.
Thus, as we began to share our hopes and desires to have a baby with those around us, we had a variety of responses that contained elements of fear and caution mixed in with a little happiness along the way. Part of me wanted to hear, “We will be there for you to help in any way we can,” or “Let us know how we can help.” Yet, the reality was those on the outside had more questions and concerns than we did.
4. Remember God is the Only one you can Trust
This led me back to the rock, the firm foundation in my life. Christ my Savior, my hope of glory. He had brought me through before when things were impossible, and he would have to do it again. Yet, I had no idea what kinds of struggles were ahead. We were in unchartered territory and having a baby meant we were responsible for this life and its safety and well-being.
- Realize that your friends and family will always fall short
- Learn to put your faith in God to help you through whatever you may face
- have confidence in your ability to handle each challenge with God’s help.
5. Take a leap of Faith and Believe in Yourself
I once overheard a family friend jokingly say to my pregnant friend about her pregnancy, “You guys are smart people, we knew you guys would figure things out eventually!” While this statement is funny, it illustrates the simplicity of childbirth. After all, isn’t it a simple A+B=C transaction? As I analyzed the many complicated angles of becoming blind parents, I eventually realized that I was making things too complicated. After all, people had been having babies for thousands of years.
In the end, I realized deciding to become a parent was that simple. With a little cooperation from my husband, we decided to take the plunge and to start trying to become pregnant. I didn’t have all the answers, and I didn’t even know if I would be able to get pregnant due to my medical history. I must admit, I truly didn’t believe it could be that simple. Everything else I had accomplished in life took hard work. I was used to failure, I was used to trying again and again, so you can imagine how amazed I was when I learned I was pregnant. Not only that, I had been in this condition for 13 weeks before I realized our attempt was successful!
Isn’t that the way life is sometimes? We think things have to be hard or complicated when all we need to do is to step out. I can’t even say I always even step out in faith. Yet, as I continue to keep moving forward, one step at a time. I am able to fill in the blanks as I go.
- Step out in faith, and do it afraid!
- Don’t be surprised when God grants you the desires of your heart
- Don’t be concerned that you don’t have all the answers, you can figure it out as you go!
In this blog entry, I presented 5 suggestions to help people with disabilities and others learn how to pursue their dreams when these dreams seem impossible. These steps include consider and research health issues that may impact your dream, consider practical issues and limitations and how these impact the dream, and make a plan, Finally, realize God is the only one you can trust and step out and take a leap of faith.