There was a time in my parenting life when I thought everything was perfect: my dear darling son (henceforth DDS) was perfect; I was perfect; our whole life was a living proof of joie de vivre. And then, disaster struck.
Well, I should not say that really. It was during the holidays and DDS was diagnosed with astigmatism. We got him his eye glasses on Dec 24th and from the day of his diagnosis until now has been a very difficult time in my life as a mother.
When faced with the fact that he will be wearing glasses permanently, I initially was crushed, devastated; I felt lost, confused and upset. I felt guilty with myself and angry at the whole world.
Astigmatism is a birth defect and cannot be cured. The shape of the cornea is a bit askew and causes a blurring of the vision. Glasses have to be worn in childhood and eventually contact lenses can be used and corrective surgery done if interested later in adult life. It was supposed to be the simplest of defects, if it can even be called a defect. My husband was coping with it better than I and it made me angry at him, though I tried not to show it.
I overheard people wondering, since I claimed to be feeding him a lot of fruits and healthy food, how could this happen? I listened to people, society, their views, and opinions patiently. Even a few educated people indirectly telling me things which were hurtful and not true at all. I did not share it with anyone, I actually felt tired and frustrated with these people. It seems the world has an opinion and advice for everyone and everything.
It was not as if it was the end of the world. So many kids wear glasses these days and all is well with them and their mental well being. There were worst things happening to children in the world. But I did not want to think about it.
I read all the information I could about astigmatism. I browsed the internet for all the help materials. I even read medical ophthalmology text books from my husband’s shelves. I guess now, having read so much about eyes, I could qualify as an eye specialist without license or experience .
I also read about dealing with it psychologically from a child’s perspective and from a mother’s and parent’s perspective. But still, it did not make me feel better that this was not an affliction, just a minor glitch in the growing up years.
We got DDS red frames because he liked them the best. His maternal grandmother got him a red strapped watch, a red water bottle, a red snack box, a red towel and many other things to match his new frames. Suddenly, he was excited. Well, he was never as upset as I was initially but he must have sensed things were not fine. But the child’s enthusiasm in getting gifts to match his red framed glasses was contagious. He showed off his new gifts and new glasses to all his friends.
DDS felt that he looked like a doctor too, like his dad, with these new frames and I agreed with him. All was starting to look good in this mama’s world, since DDS was happy and I was feeling better after what felt like an eternity.
His teachers in school keep telling him that they love his new frames and he is their favorite student. I am grateful for that last thing too. His best friend thinks wearing glasses is supposed to be cool.
It’s been over a month now and we have grown used to seeing him with glasses. His face does not look different anymore. And I feel life is the same with glasses as before. It’s after all not a big deal like the books and internet claims it to be. But it took us our own time and a lot of mixed feelings to get to where we are. Yes, I know people with worse afflictions but that did not make me better equipped to handle this. I just took my own sweet time to get here.
Perhaps, we would look at eye surgery after he is 18 or perhaps we won’t. It will be up to him.
For now, the dust has just started to settle down. And the ‘view’ is better.
How have you coped with physical correction for your kids? Have you felt guilty about it? Have you received good medical guidance, good peer support or did you just withdraw into your shell and wait for the moment of awakening? We would love to hear your stories!
Photo credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/slackpics/4377143445/. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.