ONE OF THE trending topics online is the afternoon teleserye “My Special Tatay.” Viewers gush over Boyet and Aubrey’s relationship but it’s not the only reason why the show is heartfelt. It’s also because of Isay’s love for her child, Boyet. He suffers from a mild intellectual disability yet his mother’s love remains unconditional, strong and unbreakable.
This Love Month – which incidentally is also the National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month and it second week the National Children with Intellectual Disabilities Week – a real mother who has an extraordinary love for her special daughter shared her story to Panay News.
Mary Ann Sonza is a 36-year-old housewife from Barangay Gines Viejo, Passi City, Iloilo. She is fully devoted to taking care of her daughter Sasha Cohen, a 10-year-old child with a condition called global development delay (GDD) with cerebral palsy.
When Sasha was around six months old, Mary Ann took her little angel to a neonatal pediatrician for a regular checkup. Little did she know it was the moment that would change her life – and her daughter’s – forever.
GDD is used to describe a child who takes longer to reach certain development milestones than other children their age. This might include learning to walk or talk, movement skills, learning new things and interacting with others socially and emotionally.
A child with another condition, like Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy, may also have GDD. Sasha Cohen was diagnosed to have both.
The diagnosis came as a shock, says Mary Ann. She was shaken and became anxious.
What should she do? Would her daughter live long, let alone survive another day?
But a mother’s love is most powerful because it is unconditional. It is this that gives her the drive to overcome their struggles together each day, according to Mary Ann.
Sasha couldn’t speak so Mary Ann has to be more discerning and sensitive of her daughter’s needs not only physically but also emotionally.
There was a time Sasha’s health became critical, recalls Mary Ann. It was 16 days of uncertainly but she never gave up on her daughter. Thankfully, Sasha’s health gradually improved.
Through it all – feeding Sasha, bathing her, putting her to bed, etc. – Mary Ann says she learned to be more persevering.
As her only daughter grows, Marry Ann says she would make sure Sasha doesn’t go through some milestones in life alone such has growing permanent teeth and soon, menstruation.
She has simple wishes for Sasha – good health, never getting sick and a wheelchair so she could walk her daughter outside the house to breathe fresh air. Yes, Sasha’s condition is preventing from having formal education but who knows, she may be given the opportunity to go to school.
Mary Ann is aware that there are other mothers in circumstances like hers. Her advice: never get tired loving and taking care of their special children. These are no ordinary children and they need their mothers’ extraordinary love.
(Donations for Sasha Cohen Sonza may be coursed through Panay News. Please contact the writer Margaret Anjelie P. Llorico at 09171156010 or email@example.com)/PN