Doctors advised her to abandon her son because he had cerebral palsy and wasn't "worth saving". But this mum was not ready to give up on her child...
In 1988, she suffered complications during delivery, which suffocated her son and left him with cerebral palsy. Doctors in China advised her to abandon him because he wasn’t “worth saving”, and would grow up to be mentally retarded or disabled.
Sadly, her husband expressed a similar opinion too, “Let’s not have this child. He will be a burden to us all our lives.”
Ms. Zou Hongyan, however, was not ready to give up on her child, even if it cost her her marriage. The couple soon got divorced.
Mum does not give up on child
According to The Straits Times, this strong and determined mum then took up several jobs, including a full-time job at a college, and part-time jobs as protocol trainer and in insurance sales. She knew she had to keep going to support the family and raise money for her son, Ding Ding’s treatment.
In spite of her busy schedule, she made sure she took Ding to rehabilitation sessions. She learnt how to massage his stiff muscles. This super mummy also played educational games and puzzles with him.
And when it looked like he would be made fun of, for his lack of hand co-ordination and inability to use chopsticks, she insisted on training him in the area. Some might call her a tiger mum, but her only aim was to make sure that her son never felt inadequate in any way.
The Straits Times quotes Ms. Zou as saying, “I didn’t want him to be ashamed about his physical disability. Because he is less skilled than others in many areas, my expectations of him are higher, so as to get him to work harder.”
Hard work bears fruit
This boy with cerebral palsy, who was written off as useless, eventually graduated with a degree in environmental science from Peking University’s school of engineering. He then enrolled for a master’s degree programme at the university’s international law school.
And now, all those years of hard work have paid off for this mother and son. Ding Ding, has just gained admission into the prestigious Harvard University in the United States!
Ding Ding credits his mother for his success in life, and describes her as his “spiritual mentor”. He has been quoted by the Straits Times as saying, “I never dared to dream of applying to Harvard. It was my mother who never stopped encouraging me to give it a try. Whenever I had any doubts, she would guide me forward.”
He hopes to show his gratitude to her, by being all that she ever wanted him to be, “At 29, I am still dependent on my mother. I hope I will soon become more successful and self-reliant, so she can have a better life.”
We salute this awesome mum. Indeed, the selfless love and perseverance of a mum is capable of creating MAGIC!
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills.
It is usually caused by brain damage that happens before or during a baby’s birth, or during the first 3 to 5 years of a child’s life. This brain damage also can lead to other health issues, including vision, hearing, and speech problems, and learning disabilities, osteoporosis, and behaviour problems.
There is unfortunately no cure for cerebral palsy, but with treatment, therapy, special equipment, diet and, in some cases, surgery, children can cope up better with this condition.
Causes of cerebral palsy
The exact causes of cerebral palsy are unknown. Some possible causes and high risk factors are:
- Bleeding in the brain while the baby is in the womb, during birth or afterward
- A lack of blood flow to important organs
- Seizures at birth or in the first month of life
- Some genetic conditions
- Traumatic brain injuries (for example, being shaken violently as an infant or shaken baby syndrome, being in a car accident etc)
- Certain infections and viruses, when they strike during pregnancy, can increase the risk of the baby being born with cerebral palsy. These include Rubella, Chickenpox, Syphilis and Zika.
- Some infections in babies can also raise the chances of cerebral palsy, like bacterial meningitis, viral encephalitis and severe jaundice.
- Certain problems that happen during childbirth can also increase the risk of cerebral palsy, like breech position, very low birth weight, premature birth and complicated labour and delivery.