Being a mother is an overwhelming responsibility.
Do you feel your stomach churn as I do, when imagining what being fully responsible for your child — a whole entire other human being!—is like? Making sure your child’s needs are met will not leave you any time for anything else.
Am I not there enough for my kid? I’d imagine this question creep into my thoughts, from the very moment I get out of bed in the morning.
Are they breathing? Yes! You breathe to suppress the anxiety that you just felt tiptoe up your spine. You can do this. Come on.
Who is picking up soccer carpool? Sigh, me again. Now, frustration added to the stress. You’ve got this, you tell yourself, still believing that repeating it over and over again will actually make things better.
Is today the parent-teacher conference, or is that next week? No, next week is the parent’s committee, that’s it. A feeling of hopelessness suddenly overwhelms you. Remind me why I need to go to these meetings again? But there’s no time for self-pity, you must go forward.
Being a mother is endless problem-solving and others will help you in this. That is, if you understand what they say.
… But if you don’t understand?
Aisha isn’t in this situation. A loving mother of a beautiful son, she’s also Deaf, and picks up only a fraction of what people say around her. She misses out on the teacher’s advice, the other parents’ tips and stories, and has to problem-solve essentially all by herself.
Aisha is fiercely committed to providing her hearing son the best possible upbringing, as any parent would for her child. Between drop-offs at school, doctor appointments, parent-teacher conference meetings, and trips to the local sweet shops — there isn’t a moment to rest. Oh, maybe when he’s at school, she’d sometimes allow herself a Skype with a Deaf friend living out of town. Outside of these discussions in Sign Language, Aisha relies primarily on lip-reading, constantly trying to figure out what’s important. Most people, apart from her family, don’t understand what she is saying either. So she often resorts to pen and paper.
Aisha would communicate with cashiers and waiters using a notepad. She would write down the questions, they would respond begrudgingly with the pen she presents them and slowly write down the essential on the paper. Yes, you can imagine how painful this process is. That’s not counting on the bitter sting of glares from the frustrated customers in line behind you, leaning over to see what’s taking so much time.
Yep, as you can imagine, Aisha had enough of that. One day she decided to find a solution, and ran into Ava.
Since then, she never relied on a notepad again.
Without the communication hassles — a richer life.
“I was at this shop, asking the clerk questions — but she could not easily write her answers. A problem with her hands being weak and shaky, she was older.
So, she simply spoke into my phone and Ava transcribed it. She was very happy to have this alternative to writing.”
Take, for example, that parent-teacher conference. Aisha brings Ava to get live captions of her meeting with her son’s teachers. Her eyes glisten when it’s her son’s turn and she sees the praises appear as colorful and joyful words on her smartphone’s screen. Some go straight to her heart, she takes a screenshot to not forget, she thinks. Ava’s swift transcription lets her follow the whole conversation of the meeting and review it later on.
Some moments where she reaches out for Ava are more unexpected than others. Her son’s friends have wondered a few times: “Who is this lady who won’t turn her head to our questions?” Parents tell their kids, “She is deaf, she can’t hear you.” Aisha knows because she could read their lips and see their embarrassed expression on their face. She wished the kids understood that she’s eager to chat.
One day, Aisha tells me, she ran into a few of her son’s classmates. It was at an ice cream shop. She decided to try out Ava. Why not give it a shot, there too? But then —the unexpected happened:
For the first time in my life, I was able to have a conversation with a child!
“With three children, actually. It was such a joy for me!
I have never been able to do this before. One was 4 years old, couldn’t yet read or write. Ava made it possible for me to understand him through Ava’s text to speech. Ava can voice for me!
As a symbol of my joy, I am sending you this photo of a rainbow that I made today.
What Aisha didn’t know was that it was beyond magical for me as well, learning about what Ava could do for Aisha.
Glimpsing into the hearing world also has some of its own surprises. When spending time with her family, Aisha noticed her brothers talking with animation. Suddenly a wanna-be spying agent with superhuman senses, Aisha pulled out Ava, and waited, eyes wide open, to get all of the juicy details of the conversation.
I have discovered that my brothers are actually rather boring and thought in fact I was not missing out on anything all those years I didn’t know what they were saying to each other.
Even when the stories aren’t as exciting as expected, at least she has the opportunity to see what the gossip is all about for herself— and this freedom is the most important of all.
Download Ava today — and maybe find out for yourself what others are really talking about ;)