By JO GRAY
If Pippa can take one step, then you can take 10,000…
If I’ve learnt anything from my first few years as mum to twin girls, then this is it – kids are tough, and kids just get on with it.
They take life as it comes, set their sights on goals, and work towards achieving them – usually with a smile. Lots of adults could take a leaf out of their book.
A memory I will have forever is my daughter Pippa’s smile when she took her first, albeit wobbly steps. Pippa was about 2 ½ and her twin sister Indianna had been walking for more than a year. Pippa was determined not to be left behind.
She lined up her tiny walking frame, made sure her balance was right, and took that first unsteady step forward. The years of therapy and exercises had come to this – her first step towards independence. The room erupted into screams of joy and tears of happiness, which were mostly mine.
It was a far cry from my tears of anguish when my tiny girls were born. They were nine weeks early, each weighing just 1400 grams. Pippa and Indianna had shared one placenta, which resulted in Pippa having a brain injury and being placed on life support when she was just 7 days old.
With her condition deteriorating, my husband and I faced the agonising possibility of having to decide whether to turn the machine off.
That’s when Pippa first showed she was a fighter. Her gritty determination saw her turn the corner and some two months later, we took our tiny twin daughters home.
But we soon noticed Pippa wasn’t reaching the same physical milestones as Indianna, like reaching out and rolling. We knew something was wrong – and at six months old she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It’s a permanent disability that affects movement, and it is Pippa’s for life.
We had what seemed like a thousand questions – would she walk, would she talk, would she be able to live independently? There were no answers. The road ahead was the big unknown.