Mar 4, 2009

Two Dad Perspectives on Diagnosis: Deaf

Women are from Venus and Men are from Mars, so how do these differences impact a parent's reaction to the diagnosis of "Your child has a profound hearing loss?" Oftentimes, moms share their reactions and experiences by blogging or interacting on support groups; rarely do we see the male point of view. We thought we would share two "Father Perspectives."

I couldn’t see.
Heavy drops of rain pelted my windshield, lingered, and eventually were pushed aside by the wipers in the fashion of a blinking eye.
I saw nothing ahead but a long road of silence.
Of fear. Of Dread.

I couldn’t breathe.
That long, deep exhale of relaxed contentment, of a world full of bright futures and sunny skies that exists in the world of children was crushed by the dark news of which I had just heard.
My chest is heavy.

“Hello? How did it go?”

“He can’t hear.”

I couldn’t hear.
I didn’t want to hear.
It can’t be.
Didn’t he hear me drop the metal dog bowl just the other day?
Remember when he startled to the dog barking?
Say that again?

I can hear the raindrops pitter-patter upon the hood of my car, the growl of the engine, the fast-paced beating of my heart – but my son can’t hear?
He’ll never get to dance to music like his sister holds so dear?
He’s deaf?

I was numb.
I was alone.
My wife was alone, learning of this news with no one to hold, finding that all the “I love you” whispers and lullaby tunes had truly gone unheard.
He’ll really never know my voice? Here I was, separated from her by a few miles of road, buckets of falling rain, and seemingly everlasting minutes of helplessness. Swish… Swish… Swish…

Have you ever hugged someone and clung to each other for dear life, feeling as though if you let your grip loosen, if you even just moved an inch, that you’d fall off the face of the earth?

Have you cried on another’s shoulder not for your own pain, but for the struggles you foresee ahead for your boy – girl – loved one?

Have you ever felt utterly helpless when looking upon a child’s eyes…and then being unable mask your fear and talk to that child, to tell them “everything will be ok”?

Ever learned what you want in life more than anything else, only at the very moment that you learn it’s the one thing you cannot have?

What did I do?
What can I do?



Written by Drew's Dad.
Drew's Mom and Dad write a blog entitled Turn on My Ears
and you can see more incredible videos of Drew's Cochlear Implant Journey here.
(Meet Drew!)

Hearing loss is an international experience. I asked my husband Luca, who is Italian, to write about his life experience with our son Jordan...

The day I became a father was a wonderful day. It was at night, but for me the sun was shining high. The first time you see that little thing, your life changes drastically, but it is a good change.

At the beginning everything was great. He was growing up loved and filled with dreams. We were a happy family.

When we found out that he was deaf, it was like the world collapsed on me. My first thought was, "Why did this happen to him? To us?". Becoming a parent is already a revolution in a man's life. When you hear that your son has a "disability," it is like a sudden wake up.. It is painful at the beginning to accept it.

After the initial shock, Jodi and I started to work hard. She took care of everything involving his therapy, and I took care of everything else.
Jordan is growing up healthy and happy. He is such a sweet, smart and loving boy.

My family is the most important thing in my life. Raising Jordan, I tried to do things that would keep my mind busy while being a good father at the same time. We had to make a lot of sacrifices and one day you realize how much this thing has changed you. My wife and I had a crisis in our relationship. At these times, it feels like a hurricane has run over you.

Our life improved dramatically after Jordan had his cochlear implant. He became more independent and much less stressed. We have had to make difficult choices for him. We did what we thought was right to do for him. We are hearing parents of a deaf child and we wanted him to feel as comfortable as possible in the hearing world, going to public school. We didn't know sign language. I can't really tell you what's the right thing to do, but I know that Jordan is happy and this is all that matters to me.

Looking back at my life, thinking about all I've experienced after my son was born, all the good and bad moments that I've lived... I wanna tell you one thing: if I could go back and I could have the power to choose my son, I would want him the way he is.. I would want him exactly the same, I would not change a dot of him.
He is my son- my perfect, wonderful, deaf son and I love him.


Luca, Jordan's father
Posted by Jodi, Jordan's Mom