31 Days of MS: My mama was a superwoman

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Dr. April Bee’s mother taught her, through words and actions, to embrace people for who they are. (Courtesy of Dr. April Bee)

Day 25 of 31

This is Dr. April Bee’s story:

Mama was bold and audacious. She cried with me when I cried. She laughed at things I also thought funny. She demonstrated strength, humility, and peace. A woman who birthed me at 9 pounds, naturally and post-multiple sclerosis diagnosis, deserves the greatest recognition of motherhood that could exist.

Mama was quite beautiful, with an infectious smile that lit up the world. With a soft basket of coils she created a crown of gorgeous melanin hair, and her soft, yellow-brown skin was so gentle to the touch. She could soothe my daddy in his anger without even being able to touch him. She comforted me and made me believe that I could do anything.

She was always a mama, and she was a superhero.

Yet, the world reminded me of her disability. Others saw her bound to a motorized bed throughout the day while I saw her walking with me. My friends couldn’t see her as a “real mom,” while I experienced the greatest extent of motherhood. I was reminded of her slurred words and constant drooling when others couldn’t understand her, yet I heard her expressions so clearly. While the rest of the world saw “disability,” I saw “all-ability.” How did we have such vast differences in our perceptions?

I chose to see the human in my mama, even when it brought discomfort to the rest of the world.

Taking care of my mama as a child birthed in me an understanding of empathy and acceptance. It is the foundation of social connection to embrace people for who they really are. In the world of disability, we often are taught to take in the parts that are socially acceptable and leave the rest, avoiding awkward silences or gestures. Yet the slurred words and drooling made mama’s words so meaningful. The binding to her bed made her movements more impactful. The things she couldn’t do magnified what she did. Mama was a superwoman.

I pray that more people allow the opportunity to experience each other, and themselves, deeply, and embrace how super we all really are.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for MS Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or read the full series.

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