It's Not 'Just' a Hand, And This Is Why

by Amy Roskilly
Amy Roskilly

“Oh well, at least it’s just a hand,” the stranger said, when he met my limb-different daughter for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve met some wonderful, inquisitive and kind people who have managed to convey just how perfectly OK she will be without her right hand, without dismissing it entirely.

I know, from the bottom of my heart, that she will be just fine. That she is just fine. I am acutely aware of how much worse off people can be. I don’t worry about any of the things that terrified me during pregnancy. I don’t mourn for her loss anymore. I see before her a world of possibilities. Given the chance, I wouldn’t even go back and change it.

But it is not “just a hand.”

It might well be “just a hand” to you, who is enjoying the full use of both of yours. It might well be “just a hand” to me some of the time. But to some people, and to me as well on the rare occasion, it’s a hurdle that our little one must overcome.

It’s looking at little kids struggling to do their shirt buttons, tie their laces, open a bottle top and then wondering how our daughter will achieve that. It’s not a case of if, but simply of how.

It is knowing that whatever she wears, buys or does in order to fit in, she’ll always be a bit different. She might love being different. I hope she loves being different. I do, but it took me a few years to get to that happy place and deep down, there will always be a tiny part of me that secretly wants to belong.

It might be a small disability. I might well be grateful every single day that it isn’t the “something worse” the doctors threatened us with time and again. It might be a minor difference on an utterly perfect baby.

But it is not “just a hand.”

Amy Roskilly