The Confidence To Be a Blind Parent
Shawn Callaway is a board member of the National Federation of the Blind and the president of the District of Columbia affiliate.
In 2005, I was blessed and fortunate to marry my lovely wife, Latonya. After the marriage ceremonies, the most frequently asked question of me was, “When are you going to have children?”
When this question was asked of me, I would present a big smile and remark, “Soon.”
However, when answering the question of having children, I had a hollow feeling inside of my body. The feeling was caused by my belief that I did not have the ability to be a good parent because of my blindness.
Four years after my marriage, I continued to have feelings of inadequacy in regard to being an effective blind parent. But in the fall of 2009, I attended my first meeting of the National Federation of the Blind Greater Washington, DC chapter. During this meeting, I witnessed blind people being totally independent without the assistance from sighted people. In fact, the most intriguing moment for me was watching a blind woman interact and care for her two children.
At this point, I decided to join the NFB and, more importantly, I felt that I had the ability to be an effective blind parent. In 2014, my wife and I were truly blessed to give birth to our daughter, Camille Callaway.
When Camille was given to me by a nurse, I held her with confidence and I assured my daughter that she would be well taken care of. I relish the fact that my daughter relies on me for her basic needs. I conduct independent parental activities such as preparing her food and taking her to preschool.
I love the NFB because it is not only an advocacy organization, but it is a support network for blind people. If I have any questions about being a blind parent, I have access to several blind parents who can give me guidance and provide answers to my questions. I thank God for having the Federation in my life. Just as important, I thank the Federation for instilling in me the confidence to be a blind parent.