Over this past week I’ve had three people say to me “oh well, it’s just a hand”, when they’ve met Hero for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some wonderful, inquisitive and kind people too, who have somehow managed to convey just how perfectly OK Hero will be without her right hand, without dismissing it entirely.

I know, from the bottom of my heart, that she will be just fine. That she is just fine. I am acutely aware how much worse off people can be. I don’t worry about any of the things that terrified me during pregnancy. I don’t mourn for her loss anymore. I just see before her a world of possibilities. Given the chance, I wouldn’t even go back and change it.

But it is not just a hand.

It might well be ‘just a hand’ to you, who is enjoying the full use of both of yours. It might well be ‘just a hand’ to me some of the time. But to some people, and to me as well on the rare occasion, it’s a barrier that our little ones must overcome.

It’s looking at little kids struggling to do up their shirt buttons, tie their laces, open a bottle top and wondering how Hero will achieve that. It’s not a case of if, but simply of how. It is knowing that whatever she wears, buys or does in order to fit in, she’ll always be a bit different. She might love being different. I hope she loves being different. I do. But it took me a good many years to get to that happy place and deep down, there will always be a tiny part of me that secretly wants to belong.

It might be a small disability. I might well be grateful every single day that it isn’t the ‘something worse’ the doctors threatened. It might be a minor difference on an utterly perfect baby.

But it is not just a hand.

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11 thoughts on “It is not just a hand

  1. Thank you! LOVE this. Sharing today ❤  Molly Stapelman, FounderLucky Fin Projectwww.luckyfinproject.orgmollystapes@luckyfinproject.org

    Celebrate, Educate, Support, Unite.

    From: thoughshebebutlittle2016 To: mollystapes@luckyfinproject.org Sent: Monday, December 12, 2016 5:20 AM Subject: [New post] It is not just a hand #yiv8700017340 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv8700017340 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv8700017340 a.yiv8700017340primaryactionlink:link, #yiv8700017340 a.yiv8700017340primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv8700017340 a.yiv8700017340primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv8700017340 a.yiv8700017340primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv8700017340 WordPress.com | inkybinky posted: “Over this past week I’ve had three people say to me “oh well, it’s just a hand”, when they’ve met Hero for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some wonderful, inquisitive and kind people too, who have somehow managed to convey just how perfectly ” | |


  2. This is beautiful.
    My son was born with his left hand looking identical to Hero’s. He is now 5, and although it took me a long time to accept the fact that he would “adapt” like everyone told me, he has done just that. My son is the youngest of 4 children, and has strived at everything. He learned how to ride a bike without training wheels at 2 1/2 yo and moved onto a gas powered dirtbike by the age of 4, he gets himself dressed every day, and has learned how to tie his shoes by himself. Although others look at it as just a hind, it is much more then that. I tend to find myself babying him, and wanting to do things for him. However, he gets frustrated and tells me he can do it himself. Had someone told me that he would adapt just fine, I would not have believed it. And although I still catch myself wondering how he may do somethings, there is nothing they I can do with 2 working hands, that my baby cant.


  3. Our stories are almost identical – except boy and now 12 years old! Beautifully written piece – it is most definitely NOT just a hand!

    I would love to answer any questions you have, lend an ear and share tips. The early years can be so tough and lonely.

    Please don’t hesitate to get in touch through email.

    x Therese Howell


  4. I needed this today. 8 weeks left before our little girl missing her right arm is due. I too, have a hard time with the “just a hand” reactions from people we tell.


  5. I was born with only part of my left arm and I am now an adult with 3 wonderful daughters and a husband. I have been independent and a lot my friends forget about it; it’s fun to tease them when they say something to me about why I don’t just use my other hand for something. I am proof that children with limb differences are going to be better able to handle the haters as I call them then even my mom is able to at times. I prefer everyone to just ask me questions than stare or talk about me like I am not there. To my daughters this is normal they didn’t know anything was different until their friends asked them about it and all they could say was that’s how she was made. I love kids because they don’t have a filter when it comes to individuals being different they are curious about the world and are more accepting than most adults can be. If you ever wonder about how she might be when she is getting older or how I handle people please let me know I am willing to help in anyway I can.


  6. What beautiful thoughts! My right hand is identical to Hero’s. I’m a 57 year old male and i wish to assure you that she will adapt and rise to any challenge. She will be better equipped mentally to handle change and setback in her adult years than many of her “able-bodied” peers who’ve not dealt with challenge on a daily basis 🙂 As several of the previous posters have stated I’ve noticed increasing acceptance of physical differences in the internet age we live in. Please feel free to contact me at any time. You are the best role model for your child


  7. I don’t have a lot of time to comment right now and I likely don’t have extremely eloquent words. However, my dad was born with his left hand exactly like Hero’s. He is now in the twilight of life at 75 years young. Throughout his life, he never let his hand hinder him. He was a school teacher and school principal. He then chose to become a livestock farmer. As a farmer, he would do all the things a farmer needs to do: cleaning, giving shots, handling animals, welding, repairing small engines, etc. His hand never held him back. The only story that I know of was when he was about 8 his family tried to emigrate to Canada from Holland. They were denied because of his hand. This was hard for his family but his mother was determined that when they were eligible to apply again that his hand would not hold them back. She worked day and night with him to ensure that he could do anything a “normal” boy could do – tie his shoes, throw and catch a ball, ride a bike, etc. When they applied to emigrate again, there was no stopping them and they were approved and the immigration officer was completely blown away by what he could do. I’m sure there were days that he was teased by the other kids. He never talks about it but I’m sure it happened as he still has times when he hides his hand — he always positions himself in photos so that arm is hidden. In the end, he has always been my hero for never letting it hold him back. He was our quarterback when playing football in the backyard. He was our competition when playing hockey. He was unbeatable playing ping pong or billiards. He is my hero. I wish you God’s blessings with your Hero!


  8. Hi there, I have loved reading this. I have nodded the whole way through. I’ve got a gorgeous 3-year-old little boy who is one-handed. I just wanted to say I feel the same when people say ‘it could be worse’. Take a look here if you’re interested: https://theworldwegiveourchildren.com/2017/02/05/it-could-be-worse/
    To summarise, a friend said to me when we’d just found out about Freddie’s arm ‘it could be worse’ – spoken confidently by someone with no kids and two hands. Some people just don’t get it!
    Thanks for writing!


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