A Mother’s Perspective

Please enjoy this creative writing from NSDRC Board member, Cathy Abraham.



I did not know that I stood in the eye of the hurricane.  My sky was blue and my life was filled, and I breathed the perfume of contentment.

This was my fifth child, and I loved feeling her little feet push against my belly, signaling her impatience to begin her life.  Her room was ready and her siblings counted off the days.  In my innocence, I believed I was prepared for Sheila.

How can I portray the onset of my hurricane?  Only the words of Mother Teresa capture the chaos when she says, “May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”  Sheila’s birth changed my placid life and broke my perfect heart.

I could not breathe with the numbing fear that she would die.  How could I be strong enough to keep her alive, to divert the hurricane from my doorstep?  The heartbreak came in slivers of fear, that exploded into fierce winds as I faced the unknown.  I began the endless tour of doctors’ offices, tests and labels that felt like failure. Surely if I tried harder I could make her better. The winds would calm.

I did not petition God to help her, I demanded his intervention.

Perhaps it was the weariness that fighting these winds brings that finally made me pause in this battle, that finally allowed my eyes to open long enough to see that Sheila was who Sheila was.  Perhaps I had it wrong.  Perhaps I was the broken one.

With gentle hands, Sheila brushed the fury away, and taught me lessons that only a broken heart can grasp.

And now I know she is my greatest gift and my greatest teacher. She teaches me that I cannot change her, I can only change myself.  I have much to learn as my eyes begin to open.

I have survived this hurricane.  My sky is blue and the breezes are gentle once more.  I am blessed.

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The NSDRC was started by a group of families in 1976. In the years since, we have worked for a "Community for All" by developing and providing community housing, infant development programs, youth groups, community-based services, and information and advocacy.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work, live and play on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.