As a mother you want to do everything in your power to protect your child and ensure that they live the most fulfilled, happy life possible. You never want to see them hurt or sad. Unfortunately that is not the reality we live in. From a very early age our children begin developing their own personalities and begin to detach from us and grow into their own entity. My daughter, Sheriauna, has always been an independent person with very strong thoughts and opinions. She cares for people and is as beautiful inside with her kind heart as she is on the outside with her bright eyes that speak volumes. Sometimes you would never realize that she is an amputee unless you look down because her personality fills the room as she brings smiles to the people’s faces around her.
When I was 13 I made a conscious decision to not stare at people with disabilities. Throughout high school I supported students in the classroom that had severe disabilities. As a young adult I worked with people that had disabilities. Do you see a trend?
May 2006 - My 20 week ultrasound on the Friday morning was supposed to be an uneventful experience which it was initially. I went to church on Sunday morning and as I sat in church a thought popped into my head...what would I do if my baby was born without a left hand? At this point you may be asking, how did that thought just come out of nowhere? At the time, in that moment, I had no idea why I would think that. I shook it off as the enemy trying to scare me. The message that day was based on Psalm 139:13-14, “For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvellous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Little did I know how important those words would be to me. On Monday I received a phone call from my doctor asking me to come to her office right away. Nervously, I called my mother and we went to the doctor. Once seated in her office, the doctor told me that my baby’s left hand was not developing. There could be a few different reasons and she was going to refer me to the genetics department at North York General Hospital. The one thing I remember asking her was what the baby’s sex was and she said, “You’re having a girl”. I left that office and I cried. I cried and cried and cried some more. I could not comprehend how this could have happened. Was it something I did? O realized that I couldn’t blame myself and I willed myself into a more positive state, for the baby. I named my baby girl that day and started speaking into her life each day...”Sheriauna, you are strong...Sheriauna, you have a purpose...Sheriauna, you are beautiful”. There was no genetics test that could explain why my baby girl’s arm stopped growing and the results did not change no matter how many ultrasounds I did. The fact remained that Sheriauna was a “congenital left arm below the elbow amputee”.
On the day that Sheriauna was born, I remember seeing her and I cried. I cried tears of joy and happiness because she was finally here in my arms and the love that filled my heart was now overflowing. I believe that I was being prepared from the moment I made that decision at 13 years old. I believe that God was revealing my daughter to me that Sunday morning. Regardless of whether or not she had a left hand, Sheriauna was mine to love, protect and guide.
And so the journey began.
I look forward to sharing our story with you both from my point of view and Sheriauna’s. I am so proud of how far she has come as she now has her own voice. The book I wrote was a surprise to Sheriauna but she is so excited to share her story with others and help them understand that everyone is capable and amazing in their own way. It is because of her that this book was even possible.