Laura Hignett is deaf and pregnant. For the next few months, Laura will be sharing her diary entries and her experiences with us as she prepares for the birth of her first child . This week, Laura recalls her midwife and doctors appointments.
15 Weeks to go
So, I found out a few months ago that I am going to be expecting a baby. I was shocked, nervous, excited, scared and even more scared at the fact that I am going to be a deaf parent.
It’s bad enough trying to look after myself out in the big bad world; trying to lip read people constantly; trying to look out on the roads making sure I don’t get knocked over and then having to put up with being pushed and shoved in shops because I can’t hear ‘excuse me’ from behind.
Now I have to ‘hear’ for my child, and that scares me.
It’s scary enough if you are hearing already, but my fear is not being able to hear baby talk or say those first words. Another fear of mine is not being able to lip read what the doctors or midwives say to me.
This fear became a reality when I attended my midwife appointment.
Even though I tell them that I am deaf at every appointment, they still don’t talk to me face-to-face and when my partner comes along to the appointments, I find the doctor stops talking to me and talks to him instead! I feel like screaming “ITS ME HAVING THE BABY, ITS ME YOU ARE MEANT TO BE TALKING TO!!”
I get so frustrated with the way deaf people are ignored. I went along to another recent midwife appointment, the doctor spoke to me like I was from another planet. She was opening her mouth in a really patronising way, so I sarcastically spoke back the same way as she did to me: “I CAN LIP READ YOU, YOU DON’T NEED TO SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAAAAAAT!!”
Surely doctors are meant to have some common sense and deaf awareness? Let’s hope the next few appointments I have are not too difficult!
Next week: Booking ante-natal classes is a bit of a nightmare
Laura is profoundly deaf, has worked as a press officer for the government and is freelance journalist. She is sharing with us her experiences of becoming a deaf parent for the first time and is campaigning for better accessibility for deaf people.