My name is Chinwe Iromuanya , I am originally from Nigeria. I have been married to the love of my life for 23 years and we have Four Sons ranging from ages 17-22.
I use my life stories to let people know there is life with CP. It is not a death sentence, it is just a way of life that challenges you to do things diffidently. I consider CP as a blessing, my hope is that my testimony will encourage you if you are living with CP or if you are a family member of someone living with CP
I am a lawyer, author, interior decorator and motivational speaker. I like to address my self as one who has challenged disability.
It is not easy for me to describe the difficulty of the journey that brought me to this person that I have grown to become.
Growing up in Nigeria, where people living with disability were hardly given a chance to life, my status as a wife and mother was something that I could only dream of when I was growing up. I had no role models, most people with disability were hidden behind closed doors, they did not go to school and romance was considered way out of their league.
My journey started with my mother looking at her beautiful baby girl and wondering what my future will be like. She had no experience in dealing with a child with disability , I recollect seeing fear and uncertainty in her eyes but she figured out she could fix me by pushing me to be normal. Mama made me do everything she could sense was difficult for me and if I failed she made me do that task over and over till I succeeded. When the kids at school teased me and I did not want to go back , she brought out her cane and threatened to use it on me if I did not go back to school. It was hard for a little girl, I thought she hated me but now I know she did not hate me. She was just making sure I chose life. Out of the fear of Mama using the cane, I willed myself to do most things. My mom left no room for pity, she was always stern with me because she felt if she showed me any sign of sympathy , I may give up. Now that I have my own sons, I can only imagine how hard it was for her to use that approach. Thankfully
my Mom lived to celebrate my victories. Watching me grow into a beautiful young lady, wife and mother, brought her so much joy.
At a very young age, I was shipped off to a middle and high school boarding house, this development was so scary, for the first time in my life, I was away from home. The girls at school had never been with a person with disability at such a close range, they were just being kids, they just excluded me from most things not knowing how I would cope, I did not blame them, I just knew I had to do the work to prove my abilities. I spent a lot of time proving my abilities, I changed from this introverted little girl to an extrovert , I did everything with them and they accepted me as one of them.
Then came college, college was kind of tricky, there was the issue of parties and boys. I applied the same proving principles and was just fine. Then there was post- graduate , the Nigerian law school, at this time, I was more sure of myself, still every time I met a new person, I had to take time and prove.
Proving yourself at every stage as a person living with cerebral palsy can be draining but it is best to take it in good faith. People just need to know how to relate to you.
As a wife and mother. I have the need to prove myself less, because they can already tell my strength.
My passion is to use my story to encourage others living with disability that they can live very normal lives , especially in the area of romance and raising children.
To challenge disability, you have to learn to dream, the beauty of our dreams , especially day dreams is that we can create our own dreams. As a little girl, I dreamt of becoming a lawyer, dreamt of having children and being married to a handsome lawyer , who spent a lot of time with me in bed. Today all those dreams have come true. I am living my dream.
LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOUR SELF
No body is perfect and most people are not looking to partner with perfection. They just want to be with someone that makes them feel good.
Being uptight and sensitive about your disability will make it difficult to interact with you and no one will like that.
Nothing is out of bounds in our household including laughing at me when I am doing a wonky race to the bathroom.
CHOOSING A PARTNER
Not every one has the maturity or experience to be with someone that is different. It is important that you form a friendship first, so that the other person, can get used to your uniqueness and fall in love with who you are in your uniqueness. Do not rush to settle into a relationship with someone who is not comfortable with your condition.
I dated my husband for 7 years, he knew what do expect from being married to me.
It was not typical to marry someone with disability but when he was ready no one could stop him.
RAISING CHILDREN WITH CP
I know most of the women living with CP will wonder if I gave birth to the boys or adopted them.
I delivered all four boys naturally , most of them were just 15 minutes of labor. I hope this will encourage someone that has the dream of having children. God has been gracious to me.
When raising children with CP, you do not want to have the children constantly live with the burden of how to take care of you. CP can only limit you to an extent, try to work on your strength and let your children know that even though you are living with CP that you are capable of being a parent to them , in your own way.
In my home, I am the queen of the castle! I rule my five men in my own unique way!