Haflidi, almost 10 years old, is my son. I knew when I was 20 weeks pregnant that Haflidi would be born without legs. Not knowing what this would mean for his future, my husband and I were worried and confused. When we returned home after the ultrasound appointment, we googled ‘double amputee’ and up came a video of Oscar Pistorius, running in the Olympics in Athens. I cannot begin to explain what a relief that was; knowing that not only would my son be able to walk, he would also be able to run!
This video of Oscar made all the difference for our family and made us braver & much more confident in the way we responded to Haflidi’s disability.
I think I have been a good mother, I have tried not to over indulge him or overprotect him even though he is disabled and I have always looked upon him and his achievements with great pride and joy .. instead of with fear or sorrow. I owe that to Oscar. He made me a brave mother.
My son is getting older and is as wonderful as ever. But recently I have noticed that in certain situations he becomes worried, and deep down I can detect a degree of anxiety. I feel that he is becoming increasingly aware of his vulnerability. He is a smart boy and knows that if something happens (in various situations) he can find himself in more trouble than those with legs.
If something happens to his prosthetic legs for instance, he suddenly becomes very disabled. When we go swimming, he wants his feet locked up while he is away, he is afraid that someone might take them or break them etc. He also does not want people he doesn’t know to see him on his stumps or knees. It makes him very uncomfortable.
We were recently sailing to a small island outside of our country, Iceland. The weather was bad (rain/wind/cold) and the boat was small. Travelling inside the boat resembled a ride on a roller coaster. My daughter thought this was fun .. my son at first smiled but soon he became worried and uncomfortable. My husband and I put on happy faces but I could understand his fear .. for if something were to happen .. he cannot swim with his prosthetic legs .. and he cannot swim without them either. His stumps don’t propel him anywhere .. he would only be able to use his upper body and it takes a great deal of effort to swim like that.
People like my son and Oscar do not talk about these things. They are brave and they are abled .. they do not want to be pitied and they do not want to be the cause of worry or some extra effort .. and they want to fit in .. but there are many situations where disabled people are much more vulnerable .. and we do not understand it .. or see it. I know I never did.
Regarding our friend Oscar Pistorius .. I kindly ask people to try and see him, and all other people for that matter, with their heart .. we never know what other people have felt or went through. We all have to practice empathy and ask for help to be kind & considerate to other people & their reality.
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone.. ”
With love and consideration to you all,
Ebba, the proud mother of double amputee Haflidi