‘You must love YOURSELF.’ At 4, she leans down so I hear her. I teach her about my difficulties, and free us from shame.’: Woman with hearing impairment describes ‘pure, deep, powerful’ motherhood

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“Entering a new year always brings with it, reflections of the past and resolutions for the coming future. However, my story has been and will continue to be, a journey of life with the challenges of silence. What I mean by silence, is that for the majority of my 32 years of life, I have had to adapt and adjust to being significantly hearing impaired.

Courtesy of Amilee Turner

My story involves a little girl, who at a very young age, had to try to cope and understand the reality of not being able to hear in this world. Thankfully for technology, my story has been one in which I have been able to overcome and still accomplish my dreams despite not having one of our five primary senses: sound.

From my early years I had to deal with bullying and confrontation. I had doubters and even adults who found ways to discourage me from the pursuit of my dreams because of my hearing impairment. For the majority of my life, it was a disability I felt I needed to keep hidden from the world, if it meant protecting myself in order to maintain the strength, discipline, and courage it took to keep moving forward in my life.

I’ve depended on hearing instruments most of my life as well, and am fortunate enough to have a supportive family and social circle of friends who love me unconditionally for who I am. I am fortunate and humble to say that now at the age of 31, by the grace of God, I’ve grown to truly love myself. I have finally reached a point in my life where I feel in my heart and soul that I can be fully transparent with other people about my disability, especially in relationships.

Chadwick Boseman once said, ‘Sometimes you need to get knocked down to understand what your fight is,’ and has been a true inspiration to me when it comes to living my life in fulfillment of my purpose. I realized this whole time I’ve been living my life in the dark, allowing negative thoughts about my identity to hold me back from my potential, from my true purpose, I could have been out here in the world inspiring and giving other people hope.

Courtesy of Amilee Turner

People who may need to hear my story, my struggle, my pain, and then see the fight in me, see my grit, refusal to give up, and now my outcome. A wise person once told me, ‘There is always going to be someone in this world that has it worse off, or better off than you. We have to choose how we are going to play the cards that life has dealt us.’

As I complete my final semester of my doctorate degree, continue my involvement in fashion design, modeling, and writing, and as I situate myself into my career, I want my story to not simply be a revelation of the things I’ve attained or accomplished, but of my testimony that there is indeed possibility for transformation and evolution of the spirit. Without my relationship with God, and the day to day struggle of myself, my failures, my pain and tears of sorrow, without being at the way bottom of the barrel, there is no way that I could’ve worked my way up to the top to be among the Chosen.

Now to the good part, my love story. To put it bluntly, in the relationship department, my love story is far from a fairytale, more so a romantic tragedy. But that is not the love story I want to share. My greatest love story has been that of motherhood. For the past four years, I have been a predominate single mother to my daughter Micah-Belle. She was the first baby born in Lawrence, KS, on January 2, 2017. Yes, that is correct, the second, not the first of January, and still the New Year baby for that year. As mentioned earlier, I want to emphasize the importance of silence in my story, even in my love story.

Courtesy of Amilee Turner

I found out that I was pregnant in April of 2016. I was entering my late twenties and had just begun my first year of my graduate studies. I was indeed nervous and anxious, but I also felt I was ready. I really wanted a child, and the decision felt like the right one at that time. I know it’s easy to try and make plans and prepare for these things, but I found there is so much peace and beauty in allowing yourself to breathe and embrace the process of pregnancy.

I had a previous miscarriage, and with Micah, I experienced a phenomenon known as ‘vanishing twins’ syndrome where there are two fertilized eggs in one yolk sac when each egg needs their own to grow and develop. Micah ended up absorbing the other non-viable egg. It was an eventful pregnancy to say the least, and I like to joke sometimes Micah has an extra brain because she is extremely intelligent.

I have found there is no love existing which mirrors that of the bond between mother and child. The love is so pure, so deep, so powerful it can evoke fear, protection, and joy that is unmeasurable. Having my daughter didn’t just change my life in its entirety, but it also changed how my mind worked and made me realize the true importance and dependency of a life beyond my own that was ironically my own, nonetheless.

Courtesy of Amilee Turner

Witnessing my daughter’s development, her growing personality, and her eternal love has enabled me to become the woman I am today. She has healed and completed parts of me that I didn’t even know were there. But she also is being raised to understand her mother’s disability, and it will be a process.

She is also the inspiration for sharing my story. I want her to know the importance early on of loving yourself and being true to who you are in Christ. I want my transparency with her to be shared with the world. To see her genuine concern, love, and protectiveness of me, at just the age of four, brings tears to my eyes, and I often marvel at just how powerful her love is for me as her mom, and in turn, my love for her. My daughter is my constant reminder to love what matters.

Courtesy of Amilee Turner

It has not been easy conveying my hearing impairment to her and watching her struggle to comprehend and her emotional reactions as well. But the most beautiful aspect is her love for me throughout is all. At the age of four, she knows how to come up to me and if she feels I haven’t heard something she said, she will lean me down and speak very close to my ear so that I for certain hear what she has to say. That touches my heart tremendously, in words I cannot express. She is such a smart little girl, and never imagined there was a love this strong which could exist. Even more, she keeps me grounded and continuously wanting to be a better mother and woman.

Courtesy of Amilee Turner

I know that my story is but one of billions, but I want others to know our stories matter! They matter so much! I want others to know when we are born into this world, God always has a plan for us, and we must trust Him. We must believe in His vision for us, and not our own. I didn’t come into this world knowing that I was going to become hearing impaired and have to wear hearing instruments for the rest of my life, and it took me most of my life to fully accept and come to peace with my disability. Especially after all the hardship I experienced because of it. Yet I know now if I had allowed myself to fully love and accept who I am, who knows how many more doors would’ve opened or how many lives I could have touched back then.

But the beautiful thing about life is how each day we are given is an opportunity, a chance to start over and do our best. I know each day I get, for the rest of my life, I want to continue to share my story, be transparent, and use my platform to inspire and lead others who need the encouragement.

Life is not easy, and it is long suffering, but we have the power and choice on how we live our lives. As a soon to be doctor, a mother, and a woman I feel that I have truly found my purpose and I am more motivated to continue my mission while remaining true to who I am and the woman I continue to evolve into. We can also choose to fight alone or fight together. The truth is, we are much stronger united in battle and sharing in victory. I hope that others who read my story feel a sense of hope, strength, and courage to continue pursuing their goals and dreams regardless of their disabilities and circumstances. Anything is possible when you allow yourself to believe and free yourself from the chains of self-doubt, fear, and shame. Godspeed.”

Courtesy of Amilee Turner

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amilee Turner. You can follow her journey on  Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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