This is a story I have been given permission to share. This is not my story but one of my brave women in a Confident You Facebook group, sharing in Confessions of Courage:
My baby was beautiful, my baby was perfect in every single way. I loved my baby so much.
The first year of family life went by as normal as most other families, I imagine. We were tired, very tired but full of love and happy.
It wasn't until she got to 18 months old that I started to listen to my niggling questions. She hadn't really moved much and even though everyone kept saying they all develop in their own time I was worried. All the other babies were crawling, bum shuffling, walking or even running and scooting, but my gorgeous bundle just sat there. She was smiling and happy but not moving and showing no signs that she could.
We got booked in at the doctors and were referred to the hospital and then G.O.S.H. No one seemed to be able to explain what was wrong, maybe they didn't know...
When you decide to become a parent, you picture life with a child who can walk and live a so-called 'normal' life. You imagine them running around playing, riding a bike, walking to school and letting go as they grow into independent little people. I was starting to realise that maybe this wouldn't be our reality but did that matter?
My baby couldn't use her legs in the same way as she should. They were so weak that it would take a very long time, if ever, for her to be able to learn to walk and strengthen her muscles to be able to hold her own weight. They just weren't growing.
It was very likely that she would need help using a wheelchair and the physical help of others. I had no idea if she would ever walk and neither did they.
We started physio at 2 years old and when other mums were watching their toddlers run around, mine was still sitting. She was intelligent, happy and loved to play but I could see her frustration at not being able to get up and move with the others.
I was adjusting to our new norm. I was sad at times, for her, angry at why it had happened but determined to fight for everything possible to allow her the best chance of walking.
I wanted a big family but it soon became clear that I couldn't have any more children, not now, not yet. I wanted to put all my efforts into my daughter and helping her.
I was also so scared that it was my fault that she had been born that way and I didn't want to risk bringing another child into the world, who might also struggle. I was consumed with guilt. If it hadn't been for my fight for her I would have been very down.
As it turned out it was actually a huge learning period in my life, one journey that I had never imagined that I would be on.
I learnt to stop.
I learnt to be grateful for what I do have.
I learnt to be patient.
I witnessed beauty, love and understanding in a 3 year old that was way, way beyond her years.
I learnt to forgive myself.
I have learnt so much from her, she is incredible.
She is now 8 and able to walk, a little and she is getting stronger each day. She is a fighter and loved by everyone.
I am also pregnant and although I am so worried still I know that it doesn't matter if my next baby also needs extra help, in any way, because we can do it. We are a family and together, we will make it happen.
I hope this helps you to never give up. We are so lucky to have so much and sometimes it is only when a plan doesn't go as it 'should' that we realise all that we have got, all that we can do and how strong we really are.
This story made me really think about my body and how much we can take for granted. I was fortunate enough to have been born with legs that would allow me to do everything I chose...from now on I will just think a little bit before I run, ride and climb. I will think of this little girl and her family who never gave up and how walking across the room feels miraculous.
Let us be grateful for all we have and all we could do, should we choose. I am running a 10 day, step challenge at the moment to encourage more time outside, more time doing exercise and more time out of our busy days. Please message me if you are interested in joining in.