Real Mom: My Baby Had a Stroke

Healing Together

By the time he was 2, Luc had "graduated" from therapy, and his neurologist could no longer find physical evidence of impairment from his stroke. From picking up a Cheerio with his fingers to speaking a full sentence and reading simple words, he has met every developmental milestone on time. We believe that having Luc in therapy at such an early age made a big difference. Does this mean that we no longer have to worry about the consequences of his stroke? Unfortunately, no. Luc's brain probably developed differently because it had to accommodate the injury, and those differences might not appear until he's older.

I've shed a few tears recently about research from the University of California, San Diego that found that 60 percent of infants and children who'd had strokes showed signs in their teen years of psychiatric disorders, particularly ADHD. The branches of my family tree are laden with anxiety and depression, and I worry that Luc's stroke will place him at further risk for such disorders.

I wish that I could be certain that Luc won't be part of any of those statistics. I like to think that the way his doctors, therapists, and family have nurtured him has permanently improved his odds. I want brilliant scientists to find the cause of infant stroke so that my grandchildren won't be at risk. I want to know in my heart what doctors keep telling me: Luc's stroke wasn't my fault.

I might never know any of this, and I still find such mysteries to be maddening. But then I look at Luc today. At 4, he imagines exploring the planet Jupiter and loves playing baseball with his dad. I dream about his future and all of the exciting opportunities that he might enjoy. Isn't that what all parents do, no matter the circumstance? Simply by bringing children into this world, we must accept that the unexpected will occur -- and dream anyway.

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