Becoming a mother and a parent is a wonderful life experience. Ahead of Mother’s Day we speak with a disabled mum, preparing to celebrate her first Mother’s Day with her new daughter.
This Sunday (14 March), marks Mothering Sunday in the UK, where we all come together to show our love and gratitude to the women, be that mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends and beyond who continue to show us unconditional love.
Ami Hook-Ireland is preparing to enjoy her first Mother’s Day, with new daughter, Daisy.
Living with sensory ataxia, transverse myelitis, hearing loss, central vision loss and a possibility of mitochondrial disease, Ami and her husband Ewan were considering having a baby not long after their wedding in 2019.
However, due to Ami’s medical needs, the couple knew that the journey might not be an easy one. Speaking directly with her medical professionals, Ami was continually supported and reassured before the couple proceeded with the next steps.
Despite getting medical support from her consultants, Ami, like many disabled pregnant women before her, felt there was a gap missing in disability specific information.
Ami explains: “Once we had enough information in order for us to move forward, I started researching about what support is available for a disabled mum-to-be. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much available.”
“I reached out to a mum-of-two, who has muscular dystrophy and asked if she would mind sharing her experiences of being pregnant, giving birth and if she had any advice she could give me.”
Connecting with Enabled2Parent, a charity dedicated to supporting parents with disabilities or additional needs, Ami received further practical advice, support, and received continued information from the charity, all the way to help downloading an app that would help Ami track her period.
Soon, Ewan encouraged Ami to take a pregnancy test after Ami’s period was several days late. “It felt like the longest five minutes waiting for the result,” remembers Ami.
“When we looked at the result, I think we were both numb from shock. I was pregnant!
“I tried to speak but no words came out, instead I just cried. My mind was racing between feeling happy then scared, worrying if my body could handle being pregnant, amongst other thoughts.
Advised that Ami’s conditions would not prevent Ami from having a healthy baby, the couple prepared to welcome their baby into the world. And, in November of 2020, Ami and Ewan welcomed baby Daisy into the world.
Ami enthuses: “The second that Daisy was placed into my arms, I’d never experienced bliss like it before.
Becoming a new mum is a whirlwind of emotions, and, unfortunately for Ami there were some challenges faced. From ongoing back pain, which prevented Ami to do some tasks independently, to flashbacks triggered by her stay in hospital that left Ami remembering her nine-month rehabilitation hospital stay back in 2018.
But, through the hurdles, Daisy, like all children, made the bumps worthwhile.
“Thankfully, as the weeks have gone by and watching Daisy thrive, I’m relieved to say that the baby blues have eased massively.
“It’s one huge learning curve, becoming a parent,” continues Ami.
“I’ve always had mixed feelings about Mother’s Day, while I think it is a lovely sentiment, I also feel that one day a year is not enough to express how thankful and grateful we are for our Mum’s.
“I hope that when Daisy is old enough to understand, that she realises there are no limits to showing your appreciation towards others.
Settling into parenthood, Ami also wishes others could understand that disabled parents can be good parents.
Ami adds: “Instead of judging a disabled person’s ability to be a good parent, direct your focus on what truly matters – the bond between a child and their parent, the child’s happiness.”
As a member of Scope’s Online Community and a community champion for nearly three years, throughout the highs and hurdles, Ami and Ewan were supported with regular check in sessions, getting financial advice, to having a platform to share their experiences with other parents on the platform.
Together we can all work to celebrate disabled parents, parents of disabled children and the love and bond that comes between a child and their parent.