I got to know about my daughter’s condition after her delivery, when I discovered she has a limb difference I was shocked and in complete disarray and didn’t know where to go from there, the hospital where I had didn’t help matters either, they didn’t have any answer for me regarding my daughter’s condition instead they were asking what I took while I was pregnant even when I never missed any of my antenatal appointment with same hospital, it was depressing to hear that, the doctor that came to see me 48 hours later looked at my daughter and said he thinks she has spina bifida, that she would most likely have a heart defect and some other conditions, that kids like this usually come with a lot of baggage, I was heart broken.
After we were discharged, we took her to different hospitals most of which were orthopedic hospitals, they didn’t have any possible solutions for us, they didn’t even know the name of her condition, all they said was that it’s a congenital deformity.
I was angry at God and the world, i always wondered why me? I would cry myself to sleep everyday. I shut myself out from the world and went into depression, I always wondered what her future will be like. I cry at every little thing, such as seeing my son riding the bicycle or wearing his socks, I cried at every thing I thought my daughter will not be able to do due to her limb difference.
I am thankful to God for my number one support system, my husband, he stood by me in those dark moments, he was always encouraging me, telling me our daughter will be fine regardless of her limb difference, also my family, my mother-in-law and a few family friends they showed me love even when I was down and couldn’t reciprocate same.
It was during those dark moments that I searched the internet and discovered that what my daughter has what is called Ulnar Deficiency. For a whole year, I locked myself and my baby in door not going anywhere and crying myself to sleep every night, I was scared for my daughter and what the future holds for her because I know the our environment and society can be mean. I knew I had to protect her by any means i can and her smile was what kept me going those times.
We have had our share of mean comments and people been out rightly disrespectful but through it all I have learnt that it is my responsibility to show others how to treat me and in turn my daughter. When she was about to start school, I took her to a school that was perceived to be one of the best in the area and I was shocked by what the head of school said to me, she said I have to be prepared as kids all over the world are mean, that my daughter will be bullied, and she will be treated badly due to her limb difference, I went home heart broken and was determined to protect my daughter in every possible way I could.
I have learnt to encourage her through her trying times, like when she’s having difficulty doing some tasks, and I make sure I let her know she can do anything she puts her mind to and that she’s not limited by her limb difference, that she is different not less. I also make sure I celebrate her when she overcomes difficult tasks, like when she was learning how to ride a bicycle I was always cheering her on that she can do it, and the day she finally rode the bicycle unassisted we celebrated her so well.
Through it all, I have learnt to always be there for my kids, nurture them in love, pay attention to the things I know they love and to also put my total trust in God as he makes no mistakes, I have also learnt that just because a crayon is broken doesn’t stop it from painting the most beautiful picture.
Story by Adetola Kayode Ogunleye
Follow her journey and her daughter’s on: Instagram.