May 26, 2020

Blind Mother Raises Blind Children with Ashley Wayne

Blind Mother Raises Blind Children with Ashley Wayne

Ashley Wayne shares her story of facing down her fear of being blind and becoming a mother. And now, she has two blind children and a newborn.

 

EPISODE SUMMARY 

Part I

  • The gift of sight was always seen as a luxury to Ashley up until this moment
  • She’s days from going to get her daughter in Bulgaria, the international adoption nearly realized
  • In these early moment, a blind woman confronts being a blind mama to her blind daughter
  • Ashley was blind at birth, two detached retinas, not even a perception of light
  • The darkness hadn’t slowed her down, but the simple everyday tasks of changing diapers or taking her to a friend’s house to play seemed insurmountable
  • “It was scary; when you’re suddenly put in charge of another human being it’s very sobering"
  • Parenting brought her to her knees, Ashley had to realize it was OK to ask for help

 

Part II

  • Ashley had spent a lifetime being independent, and thriving, as a blind person
  • But the realities of being a mother changed her perception
  • She shifted her mindset
  • Day by day, Ashley was successful at doing the little things and life started to return to normal
  • Normal enough to begin (and finish) the process of adopting their blind son, who had Cerebral Palsy
  • Faith is everything to Ashley, and she elaborates on this fundamental aspect of her life
  • A Grand Canyon experience through a blind families eyes
  • Blind people don’t have superpowers like exceptional hearing
  • Ashley has to be extremely present to experience special moments with her family
  • 4-weeks ago, Ashley birthed her first biological son, that appears to be fully sighted
  • Ashley still yearns to see, especially the little things like seeing what her infant is looking at and being fascinated by

 

Part III

  • Ashley shares advice to her younger self just as she’s about to take on motherhood
  • She writes a lot about the distancing she and her family experience being blind (see articles in the guest resources section) and urges folks just to treat them normal

 

QUOTABLES

"It was a very emotional time. I remember as it got closer, feeling this immense weight and wondering, am I really going to be able to take care of her? I had done a lot of things as a blind person that I think many people would imagine would be pretty difficult.  But parenting felt like it was going to be this much more insane and immense task. And I really didn't know if I could do it, but we had obviously committed and were going to adopt her."

 "And I didn't need sight, and I could get along just fine without it, and almost to the detrimental extreme of that end, you know, believing that sight wasn't necessary, and I was an amazing blind person who could do anything [Laughter]. I didn't need anyone's help, especially help from those the sighted people.  I think parenting really did bring me to my knees, figuratively and literally sometimes, just the realization that sight is a gift, and it would be not just nice to have, but would be preferred in a lot of cases when it comes to parenting, and that it was OK to admit that."

 "You know, every little task, like I kind of dreaded every diaper change, like, am I going to get her clean enough?"

 "You realize that things weren't quite as intense or frightening as I had originally thought. It doesn't mean that I still didn't need help or things weren't frustrating at points. But it began to feel less and less alien and yeah, just a bit more normal."

 Regarding faith… “It’s everything. It's what I hope to... We hope and strive for, to teach our children that there is a God. And it's, we can know him through Christ."

 "I've always had to rely more on my hearing. And just to dispel a myth, because I always have to take any opportunity to mention this, you know, blind people don't have super hearing."

 Advice to a younger Ashley… "You will figure it out. Yeah, you'll make some mistakes, but nothing so horrible that neither you or her will be scarred for life. You will figure it out together and all the things will get done."

 

Learn more about Ashley Wayne

  • Ashley’s Facebook: A Blind View
  • Here are a few of Ashley’s articles:

+ A blind mother’s courageous journey of parenting two blind children (profile piece)

+ Learning what it means to be a blind mother

+ I’m a blind mom raising blind kids, here’s what I’d like you to know

 

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