My son’s disability is also his life’s mission - Joyce Njoki on raising a child living with CP

It was an adjustment, we are still adjusting - Joyce

My son’s disability is also his life’s mission - Joyce Njoki Wanjohi on raising a child living with Cerebral Palsy

A statistic like, "four in every 1,000 live births globally" may seem like no cause for alarm.

But when it is put as, "three in every 100 children in Kenya," then it should call for your attention, as a parent in waiting, a parent in process and even a patriotic citizen.

Joyce Njoki Wanjohi and her husband found themselves counted among those 3% after the birth of their first-born son.

"I had a beautiful pregnancy, everything was fine until when I went into labour. Ours took long, " she narrates.

What would follow after the birth of her son was an occurrence which concerned the doctors as well. Baby Nathan did not make a sound.

The Diagnosis

"One day when he was being washed by a nurse, he suddenly begun to cry and the doctors were overjoyed. I entered the hospital like a celebrity that day," Joyce recounts.

Nathan is among the children living in Kenya diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP). His mother explains that "CP" is a general term for a disease which affects muscles and results from a brain injury.

"A few months after we took Nathan home from the hospital, a friend of mine who is a Psychologist specializing in Child Development noticed that he was not hitting his milestones. Together with another friend, they organized to have me meet a specialist doctor and that's when we were given the diagnosis," she recalls.

Raising a Son with Cerebral Palsy

Joyce acknowledges that the diagnosis came as a shock. She adds that it has been a process to accept the condition.

She has since given birth to a second child, a sweet girl called Hannah whom she says is a big help with her elder brother.

"It's so different raising a special needs child and a...not special needs child...I don't know what to call her. We try do everything together, we don't chase her away when we are feeding Nathan. She helps so much even when Nathan cries she's always there to console him," she explains.

My son's disability is his life's mission

Joyce adds: "Nathan's strength - we've come to realize - is also his mission. Nathan gets sick when there's someone in hospital in need of his presence and his presence itself is like the serpent on the rod. Where you see his condition and you get healed."

"Everywhere we go with Nathan and people look at him, they instantly get reminded of God's goodness in their lives," she narrates.

The mother of two raises a concern that children living with disability have been left out of the conversation, however, adding that there are organizations which have proven crucial for her son's well-being.

March is Cerebral Palsy awareness month.

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