When we are told that our child is deaf or hard of hearing, we normally experience a variety of emotions – confusion, fear, disbelief, sadness, anger, grief, relief, and guilt. It is common to feel many different emotions, and for family members to respond in a variety of ways.
For me, the hardest part in the beginning was fear of the unknown.
My daughter was born before newborn hearing screening was in place. For months, we knew something was wrong. When her hearing loss was finally diagnosed I felt such a sense of relief. That might sound odd, but I was so relieved because despite what her doctor and my friends and family had been telling me, I knew something was wrong. Finally getting a diagnosis meant that we had a place to start. We knew what we were dealing with, and now we could begin to educate ourselves and try to figure out the next step.
I cannot remember anything they said after the word 'deaf.' I had to call the office later and ask for all the details over again.
I was surprised to learn she was hard of hearing, and I felt guilty about the possible causes.
I was devastated and shocked. I remember only being able to go home. I wasn't able to get on with the normal daily activity. I just had to be at home. I was shattered. The first week I cried a lot, and desperately wanted to do everything in my power to help her hear!
I find acceptance to be an ongoing thing. I was able to accept that my daughter is deaf fairly soon after the diagnosis. It is something that never goes away because some new challenge always pops up to remind me all over again.
At first I would wake up in the morning, and then I would suddenly remember. "Oh yeah, he's deaf." And I would feel sick. I still remember that feeling, although it did not last long.