Lifestyle, Mom Interviews

Mom Interview #2 ~ Not your usual special needs

Welcome back to Mom Interviews!!!

Each interview will look pretty similar with the exception of a question here or there. I figured we might all want to know generally the same information about each other. The different questions will touch on their own personal mom situation. You’ll hear from stay at home moms, homeschooling moms, working moms, stepmoms… the list goes on and on. You’ll be given a chance to follow them on social media and see a few pictures to put a face with the interviewee. These are real mom’s with real struggles and I’m inspired by each one of them.

Today we are blessed by an interview with Raina Ross of EyeSeeScarlett.com and PFVkidsblog.com.

Her story is so interesting and uplifting to anyone with a special needs child. Typically when you think special needs you usually go straight to autism or ADHD. But her baby’s story opened my eyes to realize there are more special needs out there. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did. Raina, you’re an inspiration and I love how your purpose showed up!!

 

1.    Tell the blog about yourself, we’ll get to the mom part later, we want to know YOU!! {Name, where you’re from, what you did before becoming a mom, if you’re married or have a significant other and how long, hobbies, passions, what books/podcasts/music you enjoy, etc}

Hey y’all! I am Raina. I was born and raised in Southern Indiana very close to Louisville, KY. I am a country girl at heart and missing living in the country where I can see ALL the stars! I am on my second and final marriage. We have been together for 3 amazing years. I am a total geek. My husband dresses up as a Ghostbuster and we go to cons. I, however, do not cosplay but enjoy seeing all the booths. I have crocheted for the last 15 years and started sewing 2 years ago. I love to read all kinds of books but my favorite books are Gone with the Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird, and the Harry Potter series. Serial and Snap Judgement are by far my favorite podcasts. I do love music, but when you get in my car, I only listen to National Public Radio! My biggest passion is being an advocate for my daughter and other children with her eye conditions.

Raina, look at those eyes y’all

2.    When did you become a mom? How many kids do you have? You don’t need to share names but ages would be cool!

I came into my oldest daughter’s life when she was seven. I did not have my first bio child until the age of 33. She is 8 months old as of the end of April!

3.    Tell us a little bit about your child and their special needs. What are the challenges you weren’t expecting?

My oldest is at a very emotional stage and going through puberty. That is a HUGE challenge. She is at the stage where she has no clue how to handle her emotions. We are constantly talking and trying to figure out how to help her cope with them and the changes she is going through. Not really a special need but it is a major challenge.

Now, my baby girl was born with 3 congenital eye conditions. Persistent Fetal Vasculature, Microphthalmia, and a Congenital Cataract. Big words, I know! They totally overwhelmed me at first. Basically, she has a tiny eye that did not develop correctly in utero and it also developed a cataract. She is blind in that eye and currently wear a clear prosthetic eye (AKA a conformer) that has helped her eye orbit and eye lids to grow properly. It also helped to keep her face growing symmetrical. She will receive her first painted prosthetic eye in about 4 weeks. We just had a physical therapy consult as she has some developmental delays. She was also 3.5 weeks premature and spent 6 days in the NICU. It was so scary at first, when it was all new, but now we have become accustomed to taking care of her prosthetic. Our biggest challenge has actually been getting our insurance to pay a decent amount toward her prosthetics…. which they do not deem medically necessary. We fought hard and won the first battle after several appeals. Once she gets her painted prosthetic eye, we will have to start battle number two. Wish us luck!

Raina and her sweet baby girl.

3A. How hard has it been on you to have to walk through this kind of a situation?

It was tough at first… between the NICU and then getting her eye diagnosis. Now, it is just part of our new normal! We had a time where we had to come to terms with her diagnosis and the new path we are on… but we adjusted to everything pretty quickly. I still have moments of anxiety over things such as taking her prosthetic out and putting it back in. Or how to keep her from chewing on her glasses. We chose to take our initial worry and anxiety and turn it into a learning experience. I think that was the main thing that helped us adjust so quickly. I turned to creating the blog. My husband and I also learned to lean on each other and talk to one another often about our worries and concerns surrounding her diagnosis. We made sure to be up front with Sissy and let her share her concerns as well. She expressed early on that she was afraid of Scarlett being bullied in school. She is such a sweet, caring sister!

4.    What motivates you to keep going on the days you really would rather not?

My family. I have become a total advocate for the conditions my youngest has. It has become my passion and mission to help educate, advocate, and assist other families along their journey. Oh, and lots of caffeine and my sweet girls… and if my husband hasn’t royally annoyed me, then him too! 🙂 I was also brought on as an admin/contributor on a blog another mom who’s little has the same eye conditions as mine that is centered around one of the conditions that it is harder to find info on.

5.    I’ve recently discovered podcasts and am OBSESSED, have you ever listened to them? If yes, what are some of the ones you’re most into right now.

Serial, Snap Judgement, This American Life, and Moth.

6.    So when I was inspired to start Grace in the Wait I was in a season of waiting (and still am). What did your waiting season look like where you were just believing for something but knew it just wasn’t the right time, like something needed to be learned in this season to propel you into the next.

My waiting season was so incredibly long. I have wanted to be a mom for forever. My ex-husband did not want to have kids with me due to the fact that I am bipolar. After 12 years together, we divorced and I met my current husband and my oldest daughter. I love both of my daughters in different ways because they have different personalities. Having a child grow inside you and then to bring her into this world was the beginning of the end of my waiting season. I had been waiting my whole life to find my voice, to find my strength, and to find my purpose. That little 6lb 6oz baby girl within her first week of life sent me on the journey that led me out of my waiting season and into a moment of purpose and clarity. What I am doing in advocating for children’s eye health and helping other families is, what I now realize, is my absolute purpose in this life.

7.    List a few things you wish people would understand or not judge about your momming situation or lifestyle? Explain.

I honestly cannot think of anything yet, but I am still so new to the mom game. I do think my mother in law judges us and feels that we are too hard on our oldest daughter. But she only thinks that because when she stays with us for her weeks to watch the baby (Our moms take turns watching the baby while we work and his mom lives two hours away. So she stays in our home for the week) we do not allow her to spoil the heck out of our oldest. I won’t go fully into it but we have rules that are not super strict but we expect her to uphold them while she watches the girls… but she does not.

8.    If there was one thing you could tell your younger self what would it be and why?

Be more vocal. Leave the verbally and mentally abusive relationship you are in… it’s not worth it. Don’t be afraid to get out there and do things that scare you. Don’t quit taking your meds!

9. What challenges you are currently facing with parenting?

Puberty. God help me if I survive the mood swings/emotional outbursts of my oldest but then get to do it all over again in 10 years! I constantly have to remind myself to not have knee jerk reactions to her harsh comments. She is just a kid trying to figure it all out and it is not necessarily as personal as her words and tone make it feel. 

10. Did/do you suffer from Postpartum Depression or Anxiety? Share your story or any advice you might have that has helped you.

I suffer from both depression and anxiety due to being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Due to that, I was carefully monitored and did not have anything outside of my normal realm of depression/anxiety. However, my husband had PPD. Yes, men can get it and getting him to admit it was so hard. He was very moody and would anger much more easily than normal. The strain of having a new baby and that baby have medical conditions took its toll on him. I finally had to give him an ultimatum (after a month of trying to get him to see someone) of talk to a counselor or I would set the appointment and walk him in! He is now doing wonderfully and talks with his counselor about once a month (more if needed).

11. What do you think makes your parenting style different from other parents?

This is always hard to answer. Parenting is so different from parent to parent. I do always try to make sure that I get on my girls eye level when having a serious conversation with them. I think it truly helps in getting effective communication especially with my oldest.

Eye See Scarlett

12. Tell us how we can keep up with you. Website, FB, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube.

You can find me at Eye See Scarlett or on www.pfvkidsblog.com

On social media… Raina (@eyeseescarlett) | Twitter

Eye See Scarlett

Raina (@eye_see_scarlett) • Instagram photos and videos


13.  This last thing is an idea I got from a podcast I love. Share with us your 3 favorite things right now. This could be anything, a book, a favorite restaurant, your favorite coffee flavor, your favorite song, your PJ’s, TV show, laundry detergent lol… anything at all.

  1. My Baby girl’s smile and laugh
  2. the tv show The Vanishing Women
  3. and my new jeggings from Torrid.

 

As always don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.

Have an amazing day y’all, see ya next time!!

Ruth 1:16 ~ But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
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