People often have wondered how I communicate with everyone, including my boys. My boys are my world and they know I speak but unable to hear. I have been profound deaf since 6 month old, I was just a baby and had brought so many joy in everyone’s lives. From that day forward, my mother had made a decision just learn to sign so she could communicate with me. She placed me in elementary school on Gallaudet University campus where I grew up partially all my life. I consider the school my second home.
I know it’s not always easy to be deaf. I know that because I’m one. There are times I turn off the light in my room, hold myself in a fetal position and wishing God to turn me to a hearing person or just to cry myself to sleep. You just don’t know how hard it is for me to sit/stand there and the other person to talk really fast, I try to catch on. Most of time I catch on but sometimes I don’t, so I just ask them to write. I wish I’m brave enough to speak with my voice, anyone knows me know that I can talk really good. Now the hearing aids, I don’t wear them. For what? to hear the same sound every day for the rest of my life? No thank you! I can’t make out what people are saying, wearing a hearing aid. I’m profound deaf, I mean that 100%!
I always know I’m gong to be a mother one day. And when that came, I faced it head on. My son, Dezmond came into the world on Nov 30th. You don’t know the hurt I feel inside when my mother signed, “he’s crying!” I closed my eyes and wished to God just to let me to hear his cries but that didn’t happen. He was in NICU for first 3 days of his life, imagine the loneliness I felt but I visited him at the nursery room and he has gotten well. Then the nurse asked if I want to hold him. I told her yes. Oh the love swept over me when he was in my arms. I was very proud. And then there was a woman who almost shattered my world at being a mother -the whole other post in itself.
Now with the sleeping arrangement and feeding schedules, I hung out on the couch 1st 3 months after I got home from hospital because it was closer to the kitchen. It made it easier for me to make bottles for my son. I taught him some signs when he was about 4 months old. He was such a good baby and never gave me troubles. I never really had any concerns how I was raising him but there was a woman who was nagging at me for everything I did wrong, not because I was a first time mom but because I am DEAF! I let her bothering me for as long as I could until one day I put a stop to it – that will come later in the post.
There were times I want to pick my hair out when I tried to talk to Dezmond, he was partially screaming/crying for no reason at all. I calmed him down and sat with him, had him to take it out to me. I was a very patient person, so there was never a battle between us. He was trying to sign or talk but I couldn’t make out what he said. I asked him to repeat, so this was where his frustration came from. Even though I can talk, he thought I can hear. I tried my hardest to hold back tears – I told him that I will always be his mommy, it doesn’t matter I hear or not and that I will try to use my voice and sign at the same time. So, he understood. There were times he tried to sign which I thought was too cute and made me giggles.
Almost 3 years later since his birth, my second son Zion was born. Like I said before, I never had any concerns about being a deaf mother to both hearing boys. I love them just the same and they return the love the same back. I knew I had a slightest chance of having a deaf child, but who doesn’t. No one in my family and their father’s family have any deaf people in the family. Zion had to go with me anywhere because he was exclusively breastfeeding and didn’t want anybody to hold him but his mommy. People often asked me how you make a time for yourself. I looked at them with a puzzled look on my face and asked what do they mean? They said did you see yourself in this position, always holding him all the time? Was this a problem? Yes to this particular woman – again, the whole other post in itself.
Now that I live on my own with their father, our 2 boys and another boy on the way. 2 years since I live in the same place, I see a big chance in both my boys. They are very alert and aware of their surroundings. Dezmond is currently in school full time and there’s Zion staying with me. He always taps my neck or shoulder to get my attention and he would tell me what he want, like pointing to the refrigerator. Of course I sign to him everytime he wants something. Every week Dezmond would bring a home a paper of signs – I gasped when he signed what the paper said. If he wants something, he would come to me, tap my shoulder and say mommy I want this/that. They would tell me if there’s someone at the door. Zion is a very smart boy at being 2 year old. he would run, tap me and point to the door. If they are really tired, Zion would sign bed bed. Dezmond usually tells me that he’s tired. Or he finishes playing toys. There’s something they want to watch on tv, they would tell me.
They always communicate with me. But of course, there are mishaps where Dezmond would scream, shouts or acts out when he try to tell me something, like he thinks I know what he’s saying but I ask him to repeat and repeat. Or I tell him to sign, that’s it. Oh that would frustrate him so but he has to learn because I’m deaf. I told him Mommy can talk but can’t hear. Oh that would hurt his feelings and he starts to cry, mommy you can hear right? I shook my head no. I can’t really lie and tell him yes I can because he has to know. So whatever there are problems, he can face on just like me. I hope that problem doesn’t fall onto Zion when he’s at Dezmond’s age, I doubt it because he always gets my attention and knows that I cannot hear.
There are no words at how I am proud to call them my sons and me being a deaf mother. Of course, there are always struggles, frustrations and battles that comes into play but we face them all on. We can conquer the world. I hope growing up, all of my three boys knows that I will always love them and be there as much as I possibly can. I refuse let my deafness be a problem to us and people around them.