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On being a mom of a child with hearing loss

being a mom of a child with hearing loss
As Mother’s Day approaches, mothers are likely feeling grateful for their kiddos and reflecting on the past year.

It’s no secret that being a mom comes with challenges on its own. But as three mothers learned this past year, being a mother of a child with hearing loss presents a whole other set of obstacles and victories.

These are their stories.

Reflections on being a mom of a child with hearing loss

The diagnosis 

Being a new mom is accompanied by a plethora of emotions. Adding a hearing loss diagnosis on top of those can be especially draining and emotional. Accepting your child’s diagnosis can take time to work through, and that’s perfectly normal. 

Kaila LaBonte, a first-time mom from Wisconsin, found the month prior to her daughter Harper’s diagnosis to be the most difficult. Harper was officially diagnosed with bilateral profound hearing loss at two months. 

“Watching her fail multiple hearing tests and the lack of control you have as her parents was heartbreaking and overwhelming,” Kaila says. “By the time her ABR was scheduled, my mamma heart already knew the results. We actually walked out of the appointment with her diagnosis happy and relieved.”

 

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Our little turkey’s first Thanksgiving! ❤️🦃

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Chelsea Shinall is from Georgia, and is mom to 1-year-old Mia, who has bilateral profound hearing loss. Chelsea says her mom gut also told her the truth early on.

“A few hours after her birth we found out she referred her newborn hearing screening.,” Chelsea says. “Right then I knew my little girl was deaf. I cried so hard. A day that is supposed to be filled with joy led to heart break. Depression hit hard.”

 

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In some cases, hearing loss runs in families. But the actual diagnosis can still hit hard, which was the case for Meghan Moroney, from Minnesota. Waardenburg Syndrome, a genetic condition, runs in her family and can cause hearing loss, which was the case for her daughter Alexandra. 

“I don’t really remember much because I think I was in shock,” she says. “We always knew it was a possibility, because of our family history, but you just never think it will happen to you. We knew she had Waardenburg from the second we saw her little face.”

 

 

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The path to acceptance of being a mom with a child with hearing loss

One thing most moms have in common after a diagnosis is the desire to take action.

“I dove right into research and all options for Harper as soon as I possibly could,” Kaila says. “It’s been my coping mechanism to get my hands on as much information as possible, start networking, and really prepare for what’s to come.”

For many parents, researching and planning does become a way of coping and healing. This has certainly been the case for Meghan.

“Now that we have assembled the best possible care team for her and know what to expect in the short-term future at least, we are more at peace with her diagnosis,” she says. “It all gets easier. I remember I couldn’t tell my closest relatives without crying — a lot. Now I tell strangers with ease.”

Read more: How to help when there’s a hearing loss diagnosis 

Paying it forward

Moving forward, all three children are on the path to receive cochlear implants. Both Chelsea and Kaila’s daughters have surgery dates scheduled, while Meghan is still in the preparation process. 

After working through each child’s diagnosis, these three moms have chosen to be vocal about hearing loss and hope to bring comfort to other new moms in the same situation. 

One of the most important pieces of advice, according to Kaila, is allowing yourself to experience emotions. 

“The only way out is through,” she says. “It’s so important to express your emotions, whatever they may be, so you’re able to release them and be the best parent you can be…And I promise those feelings will pass and you’ll look back surprised you ever felt that way. You’ll come to learn your child is just as wonderful and capable of any ‘normal’ child.”

“You’ll come to learn your child is just as wonderful and capable of any ‘normal’ child.”

Finding support as a mother of a child with hearing loss

Finding support, whatever that may look like, is also incredible important. 

“Motherhood is hard enough, and when you have a child with a disability it makes motherhood a bit more challenging,” Chelsea says. “Put your faith into something. Prayer is an amazing thing. Get a support group who backs you up 100%. Finally, love that baby.”

Meghan notes that it’s important to recognize and appreciate that people want to help. In the end, however, you have to make the choice based on your own circumstances.

“Take all of the advice they have to offer but know in the end that only you can decide what is best for your child and your family,” she said.  

Above all, each of the moms note, know that your child will be just fine as long as they have love and support. 

“I wouldn’t change a single thing about her,” Meghan said. “She is the sweetest soul, so happy and smiley. Her little laugh makes my heart sing. She is so eager to learn, you can practically see the gears turning in her mind as she soaks the world in. She is mine and I am hers and I will take her and keep her and love her exactly as she is.”

Beth Leipholtz
Author Details
Beth is a Minnesotan mama to a little boy with profound hearing loss. Outside of writing, she is a full-time web designer and photographer with a passion for CrossFit and small-town living. Visit her personal blog here: www.thescooponcoop.com
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Beth Leipholtz
Beth is a Minnesotan mama to a little boy with profound hearing loss. Outside of writing, she is a full-time web designer and photographer with a passion for CrossFit and small-town living. Visit her personal blog here: www.thescooponcoop.com