Thoughts on Parenting a Deaf Child

Beth Leipholtz: Meet Me Where I Am

I’ve been muddling through certain things lately, struggling to find the right words. I feel…Behind, I guess.

It’s silly, and I know it. But so many people I know who had babies around the same time as Coop are now onto their second child. And the first, the same age as Coop, sometimes even younger…they’re talking. They’re making sentences. Expressing themselves verbally. Being understood.


When you have a child that is not on a linear path for whatever reason, you tend to forget what linear even IS. Especially when it’s your first child, because to you, this is normal. This is what you know. This is where your child is. This is where you meet them.

And I think more than anything, 2020 intensified that. We existed in our little bubble, rarely around other kids Cooper’s age. And now that bubble is expanding again, which is great.

But it’s also really damn hard. It’s landing in reality after being shielded from it.

Beth and Cooper

It’s this internal struggle because I love my friends. I love their kids. I love that they’re learning on their linear path. But I can’t help the literal tears that well up when I hear them talk, and hear Cooper’s babbles in comparison.

I know he’s 10+ months behind other kids when it comes to hearing. I know he is learning two languages. I know his progress will be slower. I know he is so smart and comprehends so much. I know all these things logically.

But I also know the world as a whole won’t meet him where he is. The world won’t know two languages. The world won’t understand HIS pronunciation of words. And that is terrifying.

What it comes down to is that what I know doesn’t matter because logic doesn’t take root in your heart. Love and pain and comparison and fear and reality live there. Not logic.

Ever since moving past Cooper’s diagnosis and accepting it, I’ve been waiting for it to get hard. And it hasn’t been. It’s been challenging logistically, but not so much emotionally.

So I guess this is it — this is where it gets hard. That’s the note I’m ending this on, because it’s where I am. And if the world can meet me where I am, there’s hope that it can meet Coop where he is, too.

Beth Leipholtz is a photographer, designer, and writer. Website:


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