Growing up I enjoyed looking after my younger siblings and cousins, so I knew I wanted children of my own one day. However, when I was 17 years old I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and told that I would lose my sight in the matter of weeks, months or years.
I stopped dreaming about having my own family again until I met my future husband at the age of 21. Soon after I got married I was blessed with my first beautiful daughter. This was also when I noticed that my eyesight was deteriorating for the first time since my RP diagnosis. Because of this, I became a very hands-on mother. I needed to feel things as I couldn’t rely on my eyes to see. Moreover, when my daughter started to walk I had to find ways to be able to locate her. I’d dress her in brightly coloured clothes and shoes that squeaked.
Four years later I was blessed once more with my second beautiful daughter, and unfortunately found that my sight was deteriorating further. My eldest daughter was a big help in being my eyes. For example, she would read to her baby sister, which was something I could no longer do. Being a VI mum of two girls was challenging at first, but I taught my daughters to be aware of my sight loss, and they have good knowledge of my eye conditions and mobility aids like the white cane. I feel confident to rely on my daughters to guide me and give me verbal cues when I’m out in public or at home. I’m very proud of them both.
Finally, I’d like to say to all VI mum out there that you are doing an incredible job. Keep on being the great mum that you are! If you’re vision impaired and thinking about starting a family with your partner it’s natural to have lots of questions. A genetics counsellor would be your first point of call if you’re worried about passing on your condition. I would also speak to other visually impaired parents. There are plenty of blind parent’s forums online to ask questions and seek advice and information.
What can I say? Being a mum is an amazing experience and I love being a mum to both my wonderful and perfect daughters.
Listen to my latest podcast about my journey into becoming a mum and living with a visual impairment. I reveal how I overcame some of the unique challenges I faced as a blind mum, such as learning to bottle feed and dealing with my daughter’s tantrums.
Written by Bhavini Makwana
Edited by Ray Calamaan