Sometimes, life likes to throw you a curve ball. But as Albus Dumbledore says, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light!” So, here is a tale of a mother and by a mother – a tale of hope, resilience, happiness and most importantly the determination to keep moving ahead and make the best of things. Needless to say, the true hero here is the child! Read on to know more.
The Beginning of a Journey
2016 was a harsh summer for me. It was the year I lost my father to a small accident, because of hospital negligence and also because it was the year I discovered that my 6 year old son has got Vitiligo, around the same time that I was diagnosed with severe PPD with a 8 month old baby.
But this post isn’t about the bad of it ..it is all about the good! This is about the period that defined the most rewarding part of my parenting journey. The period that has been a reminder and an inspiration on how I take decisions going forward.
The Period of Discovery
Ishaan’s Vitiligo first appeared on his knees. It so happened that he scraped his knee playing football, and when the wounds healed the skin came back without pigment. I didn’t think much of it then. It was a small scar and I figured the colour would even out overtime. But that summer he got a sun burn over his eyes and when the pigment didn’t return there as well, I realised a visit to the doctor was needed.
The period of discovery was truly painful for me; I went through what seemed like 100 dermatologists, endocrinologist, allergist and snake charmers – not trusting anyone or anything. But, amazingly, it was also the time I discovered my sons awesomely funny sense of humour. Every anxious visit to a doctor where I waited to hear a different ( less harsh) diagnosis, my son would jump in and say things like “Doctor can you make sure I’m completely white soon – so I can stand behind a white wall and win in hide and seek”.
The maturity of a young mind!
It was relieving, and almost inspiring to appreciate the maturity of my 7-year-old. But if I were to be completely honest, it was also the time my child saw me as vulnerable and helpless human being…it was his time to parent me, and mine to put my guard down and show my vulnerability. I think this period has helped and will help us immensely going forward in life.
The truth is that as our kids grow, they will face many challenges and so will you as a parent…but what will help us all through will be the fact that our children will not always see us as a sounding board for the right answers. This, I believe is a very important process in self-discovery and independence. Children need to make their own decisions, and we need to be there to support and guide. Very often we make the mistake of being only parents to our kids. We don’t show them our human side and we raise them with unrealistic expectations of ourselves.
You’re one of a kind- embrace it!
Over the next few months, we had a lot of fun ‘accepting’ and enjoying our new found uniqueness. Here’s a little anecdote that i’d like to share: It was around the time of the Avengers craze and Black Panther was released. Ishaan with his spots on his eye lids (which were now bigger and prominent) decided to call himself The Brown Panther!
The Unani treatment I tried (because everything under the sun needed to be covered) had caused blisters on his foot and the spots grew unevenly and fast! He came up to me one day and said “Look ma it’s the map of the world on my feet” – “these are all the places I will be going to when I grow up!” to be completely honest – I cried.
His positivity was infectious and God alone knows I needed that more than anything to stay sane. Ishaan gave me the strength of acceptance.
A New Way Forward…
Over the next few weeks, we worked on how to deal with the stares – I’m not sure how he felt about it, because he never mentioned it to me, but I think he knew inside his mother needed the coaching. I went to the park once with him and saw him navigate the stares with confidence.
He was asked what it was and he looked straight into the eyes of the kid and said “it’s an allergy”…and that’s when my parenting awoke. That night when he came back home, we decided on a script – the important things to say when someone asks about his disorder –“It’s a skin disorder where I lose pigment, it is not dangerous or harmful. It is not contagious.”
And thus we went on our beautiful journey! Ishaan’s Vitiligo has been in remission for the last three years. There is a lot that we have done right, and a lot that we would never want to go back to. Over the next few posts, I will be sharing with you details of the above, along with the anecdotes and experiences that has made this journey as memorable as it has been so far. Please do come back for it, and please do share your own stories of how you navigated through a rough patch as a parent. Because I promise you, talking about a problem, is half the problem solved!
About the Guest Author
Amrita Vaswani is a mother of 2 beautiful boys of 4 & 9 years and the founder of Bdiapers, India’s only Hybrid Diaper with Chemical Free Disposable bio-soakers. Amrita herself has been a breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, co-sleeping mama and is a passionate advocate of Organic, Natural and Eco-Friendly Parenting.