Oct 28, 2008

It's NOT a Sprint...It's a Marathon!

Ok, so you have made it through surgery, have your team in place to help you with your auditory goals, and it all went by in a complete blur!

Now you are ready to go! Give me goals, GIVE ME MORE GOALS! Let me get language in this child, not today, no yesterday, must get language in, must get language in, must get language in....

Yes, it is true that the major part of the cochlear implant process is the work you do with your child after the surgery: the learning to listen, the providing opportunities for new language development etc.

BUT you are not a machine that one can program and then let loose to do your thing. You are a man/woman, a husband/wife, and a parent, oftentimes, more things to more people than just your child with a hearing loss. Don't forget the many roles you have and the fact that you are not a machine!

As one very wise mother told me very early in our journey, "it's not a sprint, it's a marathon." You can't keep going at this frenetic pace all the time, you will inevitably burn yourself out and then what good are you to the family you love?

If on the occasional day you wake up and you feel like life just dropped a huge concrete block on you, roll with it. Don't beat yourself up over the fact you should be doing this or that listening activity with your child. Cut yourself some slack, head to the park with your beautiful child and just eat ice-cream together or enjoy whatever other favourites you might have. Time spent just being, is also very important.

You know that if you feel like you are having a bad day and try to ignore it to work on those goals, your child will sense your heart isn't it, and you will just be wasting your time. Let it go for a day, recharge and get back to work with gusto the next day.

Don't forget too that there are many ways to provide listening opportunities for your child that don't involve sitting your child down and working through specific things. There are many, many ways to tap into their interests and "play with them". Well, that is how they see it, meanwhile you are building in language without them even noticing - that might be the topic for another blog, another time : - )

We parents have a built in guilt switch and so we beat ourselves up every time we feel we are not doing enough. At the end of the day all you can do is your best and your best will differ at different times with the things that life throws at you from time to time. Work with your team, let them guide you with their professional opinions on how your child is doing, not based on an off the cuff comment from another parent who probably has no clue.

Be kind to yourself and know that your child is already so unbelievably blessed, he/she has parents who care enough to educate themselves as much as they can, that is why you are here reading this. Your child already has the best advantage of all - YOU.

Posted by Naomi