Here at Independently You, we are supporting Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, for all of our friends and our colleague Hannah, who has Cerebral Palsy. Regardless of the challenges she continues to face, we admire her strength, kindness and optimism that she brings to work each day.
We would also like to acknowledge the mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends, who walk along side and support their loved ones throughout this life-long journey. Anneke’s story, as she has walked this path with her daughter, is not only uplifting to read, but shows the strength and dedication of that family, and their support of Hannah.
When I turned 18 I found out I was pregnant, once I got my head around it I was full of ideas and expectations of what this wee human would be.
My incredibly precious wee girl came into this world 8 weeks earlier than expected, we spent the first month of her life in NICU.
My wee Hannah had a gentle nature, a smile that lit up a room and a beautiful quietness about her. When she was 8mths old I noticed her legs and feet weren’t quite right, physically she wasn’t progressing as she should.
After relentlessly pushing for help and asking for her to be seen Hannah was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 16mths old. It was a mixture of being relieved that they finally knew what was wrong and that immense stab of pain deep in your stomach that springs tears to your eyes, the unknown of what the future held for my wee girl.
It was the beginning of a journey that was filled with learning, physio, tears, joy, surgeries, hurt, laughter, patience and admiration for one of the most strong willed, kind hearted, determined young women I know.
I found mothers groups hard as everyone just seemed to brag about what their toddler was doing, so we started mainly music where there was no conversation.
I felt ripped off that I had to make every game a physio routine which sometimes ended in tears for us both, being young I felt unheard, brushed off and was regularly judged.
I felt tired, lonely and so broken that Hannah had to live with this for the rest of her life, physio on the daily, pain, spasms, restless sleep and surgeries to help maintain her body.
I hated watching her watch kids play tag and climb the jungle gym when she was at school and would go home and cry. I sat at her bed at night while she slept in tears at what she had to deal with, it felt so unfair.
But with this heartache I also felt proud of the incredible girl she was, there was joy I can’t even begin to explain when I saw her reach milestones we all take for granted everyday, her persistence, grace and giggle, Hannah taught me patience, thankfulness and how to look at the world in a different way, she taught me that cerebral palsy was something she had, not who she was, it didn’t define her.
I look at my beautiful 22yr old daughter and think of all she has been through and overcome, I have to pinch myself… I got to be her mum, I was the lucky one.
I read this somewhere years ago that sums up raising a child with a disability… “life is beautiful, life is hard”
Written by Anneke Moore
I’m Anneke Moore, a wifey, a mother to three AMAZING children and an artist living in Taranaki.