Growing up without a right hand

January 21 2017

When my mom was 6 months pregnant with me, my parents found out I was missing the right hand. I was going to be born with a stump below the elbow.
From what they told me, they took it hard, and it was very rough for them when I was in the belly.

I learned to walk at an early age, probably due to my complications with trying to crawl, as I only had one hand.

They tried several times to introduce a prosthetic hand for me, but I never wanted to wear them, I mostly threw them off. For most of my early childhood I managed to do everything everyone else did at the same speed.

Writing on a keyboard fast took a lot of practice and my dad helped me a lot by introducing touch typing with one hand (*ohh*, the fights we had when was typing the wrong way).
I painted a lot with my mom, mostly on large canvases. Sometimes we went outside and painted whatever intrigued us. I did not realize it at the time but looking back I really cherish those moments with mom.

In 2035, I was 18 years old. At that time, 3D printing of prosthetics had really come a long way for people with my sort of disability.
I started wearing a black metallic hand that I could control exactly like a real hand. It even has some sort of silicon texture over it to make it look real.
Sometimes I still use only one hand, I still type better with one hand and I never sleep with my prosthetic arm, it just feels weird.

Four years later I met my future wife when I was traveling. She is as beautiful as they come and her smile just lights up the world. In 2043 we were that rare couple that got married, and my wife is now pregnant with a child of our own.

My mom and dad were thrilled of the idea of becoming grandparents.

Once you start thinking about having a child of your own you start thinking of your own parents and upbringing. My mom and dad really did the best the could, and sometimes loves me more than I want to be loved. Maybe sometimes less, especially when I wanted that christmas gift I never got.
Sure they made mistakes, but I’m so grateful for the love, self-respect and discipline they gave me and I could not wish for better parents. I sure hope I can be as great a parent as they have been to me.

Not that it matters at all, but my daughter has both her hands intact.

I have to go now, because I can feel my daughter kicking inside the belly and it’s incredible :).

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I hope this is, kind of, what my son will think in the future.

In three months me and my wife will be the parent of a child with only one hand, right now he is kicking inside my wife's belly.

I have no idea how to be a dad. Much less so for a child with only his left hand. But I will do my best, and hope that he won’t feel any hindrance by the one thing that makes him so unique.

// Thoughts by Joakim, a gotlanning turned Stockholmer, a software developer, a husband and future dad. @joezorry

Joakim Engstrom
Stockholm
engstrom.joakim@gmail.com


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