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!
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by The Alchemist, our Indian mother writing from Chennai, India. You can view her profile on our Writer’s Page. She also blogs at The Alchemist’s Blog.
Photo credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/slackpics/4377143445/. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.
It sounds like it was a bit of a shock for you, and I’m pleased you’re now getting used to him in glasses. It is annoying when people think that you have ‘done’ something to your child because they don’t fit the mould, isn’t it. We’ve had the same with night-wetting…sigh. I have become v-e-r-y good at ignoring unwanted advice.
Thank you for sharing your story! I don’t have a particular story to share on physical corrections, but I wanted to note where you say:
“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.”
I think MANY moms can relate to what you were feeling about the societal pressures, too, in relation to many aspects of parenting. This is a very good point!!
Veronica Samuels 🙂
@kloppenmum, @ Veronica,
Quite true about society. Every society is minimally different with the gap nowadays almost bridging. But some aspects of all societies like unwanted comments never go away, huh?
Yes, now it seems almost natural to look at him with glasses. Its growing on us, on him (and on ‘society’ too … lol… )
Yeah,how ofte this happens.We take something that happens so seriously and are totally put down by it,it seems to occupy our whole life for a short span of time,and after a while,we start thinking “Oh God! Was I worrying about something so trivial all along??”.
Nevertheless,I’m glad your happy as of now.Keep up the cheer.
And yeah,specs cannot take away my DDN’s charm 😀
Yeah, like you know the tiny almost invisible crooks and curves in an infinitely long straight line.. Its there neverthless, but it does not affect anything in the long run.
And you and your nephew give us a run for energy when you get togethr 🙂 Come often.
Great post – interesting how anything that changes our “perfect world”, or anyhting new and different is always a bit scary, and it takes time to get used to! Glad to hear that your boy is taking it all well!
Thanks. Yes, new is always scary. We always have knowns in our world. Anything out of the ordinary or rote needs getting used to. Am glad things are finally settling down well.
Glad he likes his new red glasses they sound very cool! Glad, too that you’ve come to terms with him having to wear them! I have an astigmatism and have never suffered any problems, social or otherwise, that I can attribute to it. While I do wear contacts most of time, glasses are one of my favorite fashion accessories! 🙂
I dont how he came to know about contacts. He asked me this afternoon if there was a piece of glass which you could keep inside the eye and not use glasses? I said yes, but that is for more older kids. He said he knows, thats for grown ups. But I was surprised neverthless. They absorb and observe so many thinsg which we take for granted. As an aside note though, but could not help posting this.
This is a great post and strikes a chord with the way I felt when my son was diagnosed with autism. That’s not a physical condition, I know, but you hear similar comments and have some of the same kinds of misgivings.
When I was in my mid-20’s I had laser surgery to correct myopia and astigmatism and I’ve never looked back!
We are looking towards laser surgery in the future. But for now, we are happy with kid friendly frames.
I am sure you guys are settling down with autism and therapy for the same now. One is always given the sterngth to deal with whatever he/she gets. No, not from a religious stand point, just from a practical stand point as in our inner strength decides to manifests.
I’m so glad that things are starting to settle for you with this! I loved what you wrote about glasses not being a big deal per se, more the fact that in one way, in one view, your baby isn’t deemed perfect. It *is* hard to grasp! This is a really interesting topic- thank you! And for the record: I think the glasses are adorable! 🙂
Yes, I think so too. And gives a very intelligent look, if u KWIM .. lol 🙂
“I also read about dealing with it psychologically from a child’s perspective and from a mother’s and parent’s perspective.” I think that was really fortunate and I am glad he enjoys his glasses and feels he looks like a doctor.
I started wearing glasses very young, and it didn’t bother me much, but it was tough for my parents and everybody else (teachers, grand parents etc) around me. I was told not to read too much (something I loved more than anything else), any adult who saw me reading reminded me to keep the book one foot away from my eyes (not always very patiently), and to eat carrots, and I was told to develop other skills to make up for this ‘imperfection’ – as a kid I found this annoying. So when we found my son needed to wear glasses, I made sure he never felt it was a ‘defect’ that he needed to make up for ‘by developing other talents’. He wears contact lenses now and is absolutely comfortable with his eyes requiring correction.