As a child I never felt different from other children. My mother was visually impaired, and around the age of six it became known that I was also visually impaired.
In my younger years I went to special education for blind and visually impaired children. After school I played with the neighborhood children, like every normal child. I guess I had already taught myself tricks, so that I actually did not suffer from my disability or felt different than others. For example, I stayed near to my friends, so I couldn’t lose them so quickly. Of course I missed some things in my life, but I just didn’t know any better. In my adolescence things were the same. In that time I have always said that my disease did not make my life any worse.
But when I got children of my own I realized how poorly my vision was and how much things I actually missed. That realization was very painful and still is. There are so many little things I can not do or see because of my vision.
When I brought them them to preschool for the first time. All the other moms were looking through the window and said things about their children, while I couldn’t even see my child. And when I picked them up I could not see if they were happy or not. I also questioned if they could even see me, because I could not see them. That often went well, by the way. They also didn’t know better than that their mother is visually impaired.
When there was a Christmas performances from school I of course came but I often couldn’t even find them on stage. I couldn’t see if they liked it or not. I did often ask their father, but still it’s no fun not being able to see your own child when they perform.
Simple things like letting my children go play at a classmate’s house were already challenging. Especially if I didn’t know the address. Luckily my children helped me with reading the house numbers. If friends came to play at our house this was also a little bit stressfull. Because what if they just leave and I’ll have to search for them. Impossible!
Yes, I’m kind of glad they’re older now. The oldest two are adolescents and the youngest is starting to show signs of puberty as well. Sometimes they were a bit embarrassed for me. Happily, this went away quickly.
I don’t think it bothers my girls much that I am visually impaired. For myself I find it much more annoying and, as I wrote, also painful. But the main thing is that I always try to stay positive. I do as many things with my children as I can.
And now when they are a little bit older I can go shopping with them. They are no longer embarrassed by me. I can also have a good chat with them about my visual impairment. The oldest sometimes says: “It doesn’t bother me at all that you can’t see well. It is just the way it is. I’m used to it and I think it’s great how you do everything.” Well that’s nice to hear, isn’t it?
I am super proud of my girls! We are having a good time together. I don’t need to see their faces to know how they are doing. I do not have to hear them either. I feel immediately upon entering that they are cheerful or not. And I think many blind or visually impaired mothers recognize this. Never doubt your feelings. They are always right. And whether you’re blind or partially sighted or fully sighted, you are a good mother. Especially when you want to be one!