I’ll never forget the time I was standing on a dock in the middle of a lake, casually draining my long hair of water, soaking in the summer heat surrounding me. Little did I know, my right breast had escaped the clutches of my bikini top; it must have popped out when I dove into the cool lake. But because I wasn’t wearing my hearing aids—I can’t wear those babies in the water—I couldn’t hear those back on land who were calling at me to shove it back in.

So, there I stood, clueless of the fact that I was exposing myself to the whole world—or just those I was with at the cottage with. It must have been three hours or three minutes—when I looked down and found said breast hanging out, basking in the fresh air.

Had I been like one of you hearing folk, I probably would have popped that baby back in hiding in seconds flat. But I’m not.

If I don’t wear my hearing aids, I cannot hear you.

Being without my hearing aids can feel like I’m paused in time. The laughter and chatter that goes on around me is missed until I put my small electronics in. You can find me standing there, oblivious to what’s being said because the conversations are too quick and sporadic.

 “How bad is your hearing?” and “How much can you hear?” are typical questions people ask me, looking to see what it’s like to live without hearing. No matter what my answers are, you will never fully grasp the challenges I live with each and every day. These questions are based on curiosity, I get it. However, the only way I can help people understand is by describing my bare hearing as the likes of Charlie Brown’s teacher.

I’ve worn hearing aids since I was seven years old. As a child, I never really cared much about it because children are resilient and don’t pay much attention to differences, at least they didn’t when I was a kid. I had friends and I can’t remember a time when I was viciously picked on. Sure friends crack jokes about my hearing, but it was never serious enough to the point where I ran home crying because someone made me feel different.

However, as I grew up, I started having insecurities. I mean, I was the only one I knew who had a hearing problem, let alone any kind of disability. For some reason I never classified someone who wore glasses as having a disability. It just wasn’t the same.

Despite my feelings, I still had friends and boyfriends and was always treated as if I was the same as everyone else.

As an adult, I’m more insecure about my hearing disability than I ever was. Over the past 10 years or so, you would see me leave my long curly hair down around my shoulders, covering my ears more often than not, despite how warm it was outside. I wanted to conceal the giant plastic tools that can be found in my ears. I wanted to hide the fact that I was, in fact, different.

While I’m a competent lip-reader, there was a stretch of time where you wouldn’t know that, as I purposely refrained from doing it. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself because heaven forbid know you know I can’t hear well and need to read your lips. I sacrificed my hearing for vanity.

I wanted to be “normal”, whatever that meant.

Things became more intense for me when we had our first and only child.

Life as a parent with hearing aids has its pros and cons. I mean, when my little human cry-yells incessantly over something I’ve said no to, I have the option of turning the volume off—and I have. However, while that may seem glorious to the hearing person, I would much prefer it if I didn’t have that option.

Parenting with a hearing impairment can heighten your already present anxiety, leaving you in constant worry that something will happen to your child and you won’t hear him call for you. It can leave you frustrated because your child isn’t yet capable of understanding what “mommy can’t hear you” fully entails.

“Come here if you have something to say to me.”
“Look at my when you’re speaking to me.”
“Wait until I put my hearing aids in.”
“I can’t hear you.”

These are usual responses given to my kid when he’s speaking to me. The constant reminders hurt my heart a little bit each and every time I have to say the words.

Why? Because, they are reminders that I can’t hear him. They are reminders that I live with a disability that encroaches on my life and in my relationships with everyone.

I do the best I can because there isn’t any other choice, as I assume most people with a disability do. The reminder I give myself—and to you—is this: you are not your disability. You are a person with a disability. Your disability does not define you. It makes you different. And different is good. Different is interesting. Different is OK.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Karen Szabo

Karen Szabo is a part-time worker by day, boy-mom by night, and blogger at The Antsy Butterfly any time in between. She’s doing her best to keep her sanity by writing about being an anxious mom. She’s a contributor for The Mighty and has written for Sunshine Spoils Milk, Sammiches & Psych Meds, Parent Co., Perfection Pending, and Mamapedia. Karen can be found on Twitterand Facebook.

Children Don’t Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger

In: Inspiration, Mental Health, Motherhood
Children Don't Get Easier, We Just Get Stronger www.herviewfromhome.com

“This too shall pass.” As mothers, we cling to these words as we desperately hope to make it past whichever parenting stage currently holds us in its clutches. In the thick of newborn motherhood, through night wakings, constant nursing and finding our place in an unfamiliar world, we long for a future filled with more sleep and less crying. We can’t imagine any child or time being more difficult than right now. Then, a toddler bursts forth, a tornado of energy destroying everything in his wake. We hold our breath as he tests every possible limit and every inch of...

Keep Reading

The One Thing Young Kids Need to Know About Sex

In: Health, Kids, Motherhood
The One Thing Young Kids Need to Know About Sex www.herviewfromhome.com

I currently have four kids in elementary school from kindergarten to fifth grade. My kids have not experienced any sexual abuse (to my knowledge); we have been very careful about any potential porn exposure; we closely monitor their involvement with pop culture through music, movies, books, and even commercials. While we might seem to err on the side of overly sheltering them, what we have also done is be very open with our kids about sex. We have told them the truth when they’ve asked questions. And have they asked some questions! Here’s a sampling of what I’ve been asked...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Have Anxiety—But My Husband Does

In: Health, Mental Health, Relationships
I Don't Have Anxiety—But My Husband Does www.herviewfromhome.com

I don’t have anxiety but my husband does.  We should have realized this years ago but we missed it. The realization came suddenly and as soon as it popped in my mind, it came out of my mouth. “You have anxiety.” I said. He looked at me trying to determine if I was joking or serious. “I am serious, you have anxiety.” His eyes left mine and found his phone. He picked it up and said, “Hey Siri, give me the definition of anxiety.” As the virtual assistant read off the definition she may as well have been reading my man’s personality...

Keep Reading

Welcome to Periods in Your 30s and 40s

In: Health, Humor
Welcome to Periods in Your 30s and 40s www.herviewfromhome.com

Do you remember that day in the fifth grade when the boys and girls were separated for the “Sexuality and Development” talk? Some nice old lady health teacher came into your room and gave you some straight talk about how the next few years were going to go for you. It was awkward and shocking and you knew your childhood would never be the same. When you hit your mid-thirties, there should be some kind of Part Two to that conversation. All the ladies need to be rounded up, lead into a dimly lit classroom that smells vaguely of pencil...

Keep Reading

How Can You Love an Abusive Man? I Did—Until I Decided to Choose Myself.

In: Health, Journal, Relationships
How Can You Love an Abusive Man? I Did—Until I Decided to Choose Myself.

He walked over to the table I was sitting at with some friends and casually, yet confidently, pulled up a chair. His voice was deep and he had a luring accent that immediately caught my attention. His distinctly cut jawline along his perfectly trimmed beard made him seem older, I thought, than the age I’d soon learn he was. Our paths had crossed before like two ships in the night, forbidding us from ever quite meeting as we did that day . . . eye to eye, energy to energy He chatted with me and our mutual friends for a...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Sure How Long I’ll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal…and That’s OK

In: Cancer, Child Loss, Grief, Mental Health
I'm Not Sure How Long I'll Need an Antidepressant to Feel Normal...and That's OK www.herviewfromhome.com

I tried to wean off of Zoloft and couldn’t. And that’s OK. I had never really been aware of the world of antidepressants. My life has been relatively uneventful—with the normal ups and downs that most of us go through. I knew people on medication for depression but never understood. How can you be THAT sad that you can’t just be positive and make the best of your circumstances? How can someone be THAT unhappy ALL the time to need medication? I didn’t get it. I felt bad for people going through it. Then my 2-year-old was diagnosed with Stage...

Keep Reading

To the Mom With the Anxious Soul

In: Journal, Mental Health, Motherhood
To the Mom With the Anxious Soul www.herviewfromhome.com

I see you, mama. You’re the one sitting alone at the family party. You’re the one hovering a little too close to your sweet babies at the park. You’re the one standing in the bathroom at work for just a moment of quiet. Your thoughts are swirling constantly, faster and more fearful that a “regular” mama. You find yourself spaced out at times, and hyper aware at others. You’ve heard the words “just relax” and “everything is fine” more times than you care to count. Sometimes you wish you could make everyone understand why you are the way you are...

Keep Reading

I Am My Child’s Advocate—and Other Valuable Lessons a Stay in the PICU Taught Me

In: Baby, Child, Health
I Am My Child's Advocate—and Other Valuable Lessons a Stay in the PICU Taught Me www.herviewfromhome.com

What started out to be a normal Thursday ended with a race to the children’s ER with my six-month-old. I was terrified. My adrenaline was pumping. My baby was struggling to breathe. The day before, he had been diagnosed with RSV. A simple cold to most healthy toddlers and adults turned out to be life threatening to my infant.   Once we were admitted, I knew this was serious. I knew he was in danger. I could sense the concern and urgency in the doctor’s voice. I knew the gravity of that wing of the hospital he was being wheeled...

Keep Reading

To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes

In: Cancer, Child, Child Loss, Health
To the Young Warriors Fighting Cancer, You Are Superheroes www.herviewfromhome.com

Most people never get to meet their heroes. I have, in fact—I have met many heroes. These heroes didn’t set out for greatness; they fell victim to a terrible disease and faced it with courage, might and bravery like I have never seen before. And when we talk about this type of battle, there is no such thing as losing. whether the battle ended in death, life, or debility, each of these heroes defeated. My heroes are the innocent children who battle cancer. I high-fived, hugged, wept over, laughed and played with my heroes for 10 years as a nurse. And you better believe I...

Keep Reading

I Know You’re Exhausted, Mama—But Experts Say You NEED That Momcation

In: Mental Health, Motherhood
I Know You're Exhausted, Mama—But Experts Say You NEED That Momcation www.herviewfromhome.com

I waved as our old blue truck rolled down the road away from where I stood, planted on the sidewalk alone. There I was staring down my first solo stay away from my husband and sons, and the only thought I could muster up was what on Earth was I thinking planning a weekend to myself in the city?  Would my kids be okay without me? More like, would I be OK without them? The answer to both questions was of course, yes, but in that moment I couldn’t help but have doubt because, well, you know—”time off” doesn’t exactly...

Keep Reading