In four and a bit weeks time I will have been blogging for a year...(Yes it's going to be my blogging birthday on the 28th March!) and throughout this year I've been linking my posts up to a number of different linkup parties to try extend Henibean's readership and reach. In February I took up the Solidarity Sister's blog challenge (given out by Susannah over at Simple moments stick... and was paired up with a blogging buddy called Elizabeth, who lives in sunny Florida ....she writes a blog called:-
Elizabeth had bacterial meningitis when just 16 months old, the outcome of which was damage to both of her cochlea and subsequent severe hearing loss in both ears. Over the last four weeks we have been getting to know one another, learning from each other and have been sharing hints and tips on how to improve .....and in today's post I have interviewed my new friend, the lovely Elizabeth, to find out how she is learning to live amid challenges as a deaf mom to a hearing child and finding out how she maintains health, sanity, creativity and copes with balancing her busy life.
Here is the interview below:-
It was challenging to learn how to be a deaf mother when I first had my daughter, Coral. I face challenges as a deaf person in general (because of language barriers, ignorant people, being judged/discriminated against, etc) but It is also challenging to raise a hearing child because she can speak and we often have no idea what she is saying or trying to tell us.
Have you found ways to overcome these challenges/Life hacks etc.... or make the challenges easier to deal with?
I learned as a deaf mother how to use a vibrating monitor, always have a mirror in the car back seat,
flashing lights, etc. Coral doesn’t really understand or realize that we, her parents, are deaf yet, so she still talks to us with her voice. I know when she gets older and realize that we cannot hear her, she will communicate with us through sign language only. It is really easy to overcome language barriers if both people are willing to communicate through writing, gestures, texting, etc. However, not all people are willing. If they aren’t willing to communicate to help me understand, I walk away. Honestly, I grew up learning how to deal with rude looks, ignorant questions such as, “Can deaf people drive?” and people who are set in their own ways thinking deaf people are disabled. I know I am a deaf person/mother but I am not disabled. There are many things to make up for my hearing loss such as closed captioning on TV, interpreters, texting, sign language, deaf schools, vibrating monitors, etc. With those things, I can do everything just as the next person.
Are there any areas of your health that you particularly need to look after ....did you have any lasting problems from you meningitis in addition to your deafness?
Luckily, I do not have any lasting problems from meningitis except for deafness. However, I do have some health issues that are mainly genetics such as depression and anxiety which I have written about and you can read on my blog.
How do you attempt to look after yourself and family when life gets too stressful
(physically and emotionally) what do you like to do to unwind and relax?
I am an introverted person, so I enjoy being alone with my thoughts and go on adventures either by myself or with my family. I take care of myself by trying to eat healthy, go outside often, focus on
little things, and give myself a lot of alone time. I need a lot of alone time to unwind and relax. I do that by taking a hot bath, laying in bed, having a binge on my favorite TV shows, gardening and going to the beach.
How do you express your Creativity and how does it help you?
I find that I enjoy expressing my creativity in many ways such as crafts, photography, stories, house projects and art. It helps me to deal with stress, anxiety and depression by releasing those emotions onto something. Those activities are also a perfect distraction to keep myself busy and let my mind escape to a different world. I have an Etsy shop with a lot of coastal things I made, arts on the walls at home, my blog with my stories, many boxes of photographs and we have a couple of house projects coming up. We just finished renovating Coral's /guest bathroom.
What does life balance look like to you?
Spending a lot of time with my family, going to new places we have never been to, and having plenty of time to unwind and relax whenever life gets too stressful.
Have there been any people in your life who you look to as an example of health, sanity, creativity and balance and if so what do they do that you admire?
I look up to my mom in many ways. She raised two brothers and I as a
single mother, went to work as a teacher full time and attended school full time. She was able to balance everything the best she could. She always made sure to attend all of my sporting events and tried to give all her children quality time together. She encouraged us to be creative in our own ways. Growing up, there were a lot of craft supplies at home so I made a lot of things and made a lot of mess as well. One of my brothers enjoyed drawing and another enjoyed making music.
Everyone has different challenges ... but no matter what challenges people face... it is interesting to know that there are often ways around and through them with ingenuity and grit. I think that perhaps one of the common factors for us all is to have a willingness to take time to connect with others, learn of our differences and challenges and how they effect us..... and be willing to help each other with them.
I just want to take the chance to say how much I have really enjoyed getting to know Elizabeth during this month and am grateful for all of her hints and tips. I look forward to following her blog and seeing what else she gets up to in the future. If you would like to learn more about what life is like living with deafness; want to read personal stories of how she has coped with motherhood and see some cool projects that Elizabeth gets up with an active hearing child, you can follow her on Mommygonetropical.com , Instagram and via her Facebook page (She also has lots of lovely free printables and an Etsy shop where she sells vintage goods and some of the lovely seashell decor she produces).
Oh and if you have any ideas how to celebrate Henibean's blog birthday...be sure to get in touch with me and let me know what ideas you have on Henibean's Facebook page : )
P.S. If you fancy reading the interview that Elizabeth did on me for her blog you can head over there by clicking here
You can also find out about the Solidarity Sisters blogging challenge by clicking below.