My daughter's life with cerebral Palsy
When Elin was born silently nine years ago, as we waited for what felt like a lifetime for a cry that never came, it was clear that our lives were changing irrevocably with every doctor that raced to her side, with every tear we disbelievingly shed and with every click and whirr of the life support machine that she was immediately attached to in order to breathe.
We were terrified of what life had in store when we finally heard the words 'brain damage' and 'Cerebral Palsy'. The first months were unbearably difficult and we struggled through our pain and managing Elin's condition on an hour-by-hour basis. Time stood still, life stopped and darkness descended. It felt like we might never emerge.
But then- slowly but surely a transformation occurred. A stepping into the light. Elin learned to smile and laugh and hasn't really stopped doing either ever since. She slowly became better, healthier and more robust. The seizures that once wracked her tiny body, for many heartbraking years- disappeared. She started to get comfortable with life and we started to accept our new normal, our forever path through parenthood together- so different to the one we thought we were embarking on.
Different, but not less.
Elin showed us the way, with her incredible sunshine spirit. Smiling is the first thing she does when she wakes and the last thing she does before bed. Although Elin's mobility is very limited, her sense of fun is not! She loves music, especially listening to her older sister singing. She also loves to play with her adapted toys and take part in any kind of sensory experience. Coloured lights and mirrors, or generally anything that makes a nice sound, are her favourite! Elin has taught us that life can be enjoyed to the maximum whatever your level of ability. The Neurologist that told us when she was a baby she would never be a 'thinking person' was so wrong, Elin is so much more than we could ever have dreamed in those early days. She is a miracle.
She brings us joy every single day and to others around her, too. Elin has altered our perspective on the world, on what matters and what is important in life. She is never afraid, always brave, always loving, happy and content. She asks nothing of anyone and wants nothing except love. Last week was her 9th birthday and those dark days following her birth felt like a world away. If only I'd known then what I know now. Perhaps I wouldn't have cried so much.
Perhaps, I might have been able to smile.
I am so lucky to call myself Elin's Mummy. And the world is so very lucky to have her.
"Some people will never understand the shadow. They don't realise it's part of the light"- Nia Wynne 'Blue Sky July'