Have decided to focus on my thoughts on what it’s like being a Deaf mum this morning. I’ve only been a Mum for 3.5 years but I can remember being pregnant with the Big One and worrying already how it would work out.

I had an easy pregnancy with the Big One fortunately. I enjoyed the scans and the MW appointments, it was all a huge novelty and I could not wait to meet my baby. I was lucky to have some understanding Midwives, who jacked up the volume on the doppler when listening for baby’s heartbeat so I had better chance of hearing it. However I remember in my first scan, the sonographer didn’t want my Mum, who had attended also for added communication support, to stand behind her whilst she worked. This wasn’t easy, I had to explain that as it was a dark room (which scan rooms always are) it’d be difficult for me to understand her and I didn’t want to miss anything. The best position for Mum to be in, as my husband was to my left, was to stand behind her. The sonographer wasn’t happy, but we compromised on a spot where Mum would stand and she repeated the information to me. I did feel I missed a couple of bits though, it’s hard to look at the screen where they’re pointing, and look at a face to lipread when they’re talking and pointing at the same time. I was very pleased when in my second pregnancy, a sonographer kindly understood and gave me the chance to check the screen before talking to tell me what she was pointing at so I felt I got a lot more of the experience every mother should have that time. It is the little things that matter in my opinion. A little bit of awareness, can go a very long way.

My first experience of being a Deaf Mum wasn’t the happiest unfortunately. My daughter was born at a minute to six in the evening and by the time I was taken up to the ward, it was 11pm and my husband had been sent home. I was taken to a ward which was dark, and three other mum’s were asleep in their beds with their new babies sleeping soundly next to them. I was told that if I needed a Midwife, to press the button but in actual fact I needed someone with me there and then onwards. The timings were unfortunate, baby was still asleep after her ordeal of being born, I had no idea when she would wake up but I had been awake for nearly 40 hours by this point, giving birth in the meantime so I was absolutely shattered to the core. Also in the haze that comes with having a new baby, I really felt very alone. I was scared to sleep. What if baby woke and I didn’t hear her? Her first experience of being in the big wide world wouldn’t be a happy one if she woke and no one was there for her would it? What if she then went to wake all the other mums and babies in the ward while I carried on sleeping soundly? Everyone would think I was neglectful. The Midwives assured me they’d come and tell me if she woke, but I was in a room down the end of the corridor! How would they know and how long would it take? So I didn’t sleep, and I didn’t sleep the second night either. It was absolute torture staying awake for effectively four days with only snippets of sleep so I could not wait to go home.

I was talking to my daughter, who is three and a half years old now, in bed the other night as she was having her bed time story.

“What’s that noise Mummy?” she asked suddenly.

“I don’t know darling, Mummy’s ears don’t work remember” I had to reply.

“I think it’s a lorry beeping” she declared, with a nod of satisfaction and settled down to continue her story.

“Oh blimey, you’re my ears already” I whispered, thinking I was out of earshot.

“No I’m not your ears!” she laughed back at me with a look that told me I was being silly. “I’m Alice!”.

Little does she know what’s in store for her in the future.

I have a monitor that flashes when there’s a sound in the girls’ room. It’s great, means I can rest knowing that they’re ok when I’m in on my own if my husband is out. Although a flashing light has it’s disadvantages. The light goes off when there’s a sound, whether it be a noisy car outside, a cough, or a book falling from the shelf, but obviously I have to investigate every flash. There was one evening when the Big One was about 18 months and the light kept flashing every 10 minutes. I wasn’t impressed, she was fine, still sound asleep. What on earth was going on? I went into her room, I shut the window and the door. I checked she wasn’t snoring (hand on chest can usually help feel vibrations of a mini snore) and listened hard. My hearing aid is good to an extent in helping me hear sounds, but there are still many things that I don’t hear. In this case, as my husband discovered when he got home to a very frustrated and highly strung wife, was that a toy was singing Twinkle Twinkle little star on repeat. I hadn’t heard it as it’s a very highly pitched tune on this particular toy, but happened to be right next to the monitor. I hadn’t switched the monitor off as I didn’t want to risk a repeat performance of baby screaming or me and me not hearing so had endured the trip up the stairs, every ten minutes. Oh how I cried with giggles, you could only laugh at a situation like that. But I couldn’t help feeling a tiny bit resentful that if I had hearing, I’d have found the rude toy, switched it off and then perhaps have caught the end of Holby City rather than catching up on digital spy!

I will never forget the time when Alice asked me where her friend’s mum’s hearing aid was. She was rather perplexed to discover that she didn’t have one.

“But my Mummy has one” she exclaimed in confusion.

“Yes but my ears work, so I don’t need one” my friend explained.

“Daddy’s ears work” She said simply.

I get the feeling that only Mummies were Deaf at that point in Alice world.

I have been told, that a CI can help with location of sounds which appeals to me tremendously. At the moment if the Big One is upstairs, I can’t hear where she is. There have been frantic searches on my behalf in the past when I’ve discovered that she wasn’t upstairs, nor downstairs…well she’s got to be somewhere. Where can she be? About to search outside in desperation, petrified that she’d somehow unlocked the door, made it onto the road and run herself over I finally notice that the blanket in the nook of her bedroom is twitching.

“I was playing hide and seek Mummy, I was calling you but you couldn’t find me” she said.


I’ve been told that people with a CI have come back and said hey can actually now tell where they are upstairs, not just that they are upstairs. This to me, is amazing. A baby crying and laughing can sometimes sound the same if you’re in another room. Someone told me that a CI can help differentiate between the two. Wow. I know it may not be the same for me, but it’s enough information to have me sold.

I do sometimes think I’m not good enough for my girls. I don’t take them to mum and baby clubs after a bad experience. I took the Big One when she was about 20 months old, to a “Stay and Play” session where you could take the children to play with others, and the mums could watch and chat to each other. The Health Visitor who came to greet me as I arrived was lovely, but unfortunately she ended up scaring the other mums away from me. She said to me that she’d let them know I was deaf and had to face me to talk to me, etc. Only in actual fact it stopped them from talking to me the entire time. It had been a long time since I had felt like such a lemon stood there next to a group of mums who had no inclination to talk to me, or make any effort and talked amongst themselves. I never went back. It worries me about the future, school gate politics and the like but I’ll take it in my stride. My girls won’t go without again if I can help it.

My two children are my absolute world to me. I will always put them first. In my head I sometimes struggle with the idea that they may become mini interpreters to me when I get older, I hated having to rely on my little sister when I was younger, it took some of my independence away. The little things add up. You know how sometimes when you’re in the supermarket, the cashier will talk to you? I normally avoid eye contact and have a standard set of questions in my head that I know they could ask so I can answer easily being prepared for certain lip patterns coming my way; “Would you like any help packing?” or “Do you have a bag for life with you?” being prime examples. But on the odd occasion I am thrown by an extra friendly cashier asking me how my day was. Once, I believe I was asked “What have you been up to today?” and as I didn’t catch her the first time (not realising she had said something) and then again the second time (she looked away to grab my next item) and a third time, as I just couldn’t get past her accent, it starts to get a bit silly. “It’s not important” she said, as she dismissed the question away with a flap of her hand leaving me feeling utterly stupid and left out on a limb.

I do explain to my children that Mummy’s ears don’t work, but she’s still young and is still getting the hang of it. I don’t want my children to see me in that embarrassing situation where I wish the ground would swallow me up, nor have to get involved when she’s old enough. Whereas I know that a CI won’t make me hearing, it should make things a darn sight better.