Nina Mitchell - StrokeMama: Disabled and Mother at the Same Time
Photo credit Bevil Conway
Nina Mitchell is a writer based in Boston. Her website, Mindpop.net, chronicles the adventures of one whose mind disappeared and came back different. She is also on Twitter at @mindpop and Facebook at NinaMitchellAuthor.
I was putting my 2-year-old to bed recently when I mentioned that I had to go to a doctor the following day.
“Do you have a pain?” he said.
“Do you have an itch?”
“Did you have a boom crash?”
“No. Mama sometimes has to stretch her arm to make it feel better. It is getting better, but she has to go to a doctor sometimes.”
This seemed to satisfy him, as he rolled over and went to sleep.
I’m a StrokeMama: disabled and a mother at the same time. I had a stroke when I was 26, and have been recovering ever since. I met my husband after my stroke, and we had our son in 2014. Now I watch him slowly notice things that are different between his Mama and others. He knows that Dada can pick him up and throw him in the air. Mama can’t. He knows that Mama does not like going to a particular park near our house because I can’t shimmy up its steep hill if he gets stuck. So we go to another park, with an easier to navigate sandbox.
At some point, my son will comprehend disability. A fellow StrokeMama has a three-year-old who announces her dad’s stroke proudly, like being a vegetarian. My son will probably be the same. I’m hoping to get my limbs all back to normal, as I still see progress. In the meantime, patience, hard work, and tolerance for differences are worthy values to pass down to my son.
He likes bluegrass, David Bowie, and Queen. He often bops around in a 2-year-old way, accompanying himself with an out of tune ukulele. Recently he noticed that when I play his instrument, I do not strum with the same gusto.
“Mama, is your hand in the right place to strum….”