Life After Stroke: Clara, Perinatal Stroke
Translated from Italian
Today I want to share with you the history of my family. Before and after the stroke. I’m Brazilian and I moved to Italy in 2004 to study. Here I meet a Canadian guy that grew up in Florence. He is 13 years older than I am and he has 2 daughters from his first marriage. “Sunflower”, 26 years old, and “Rose”, 24 years old. “Rose” has muscular atrophy. When we got married I was 22 years old and I didn’t think to do any genetic exams. I just said ok, I will not worry about that. I have faith and I know that everything will be all right.
Then I got pregnant. I had a wonderful time, no problem at all during the 9 months. In 2006 Clara was born, blonde and health. We were so happy. But we realized that her right hand was always closed, that she didn’t move during the night, she had difficulty rolling. It was like a dark silence since everyone though it was the same disease as “Rose”. So, no one thought to go deeper to find out what was might be wrong with Clara, neither family or doctors.
One night we were shopping in Ikea and I saw a baby who was the same age as Clara, 7 months. In that moment I accepted that something was really wrong with our baby.
The doctor called us and by phone she said our life would be very difficult because Clara had large brain damage. I started crying and she said, “You have a good reason to cry because your daughter will not be able to talk, run, understand, she will be like a vegetable.”
From the first moment we accepted her condition and I think this changed everything for us and for her. And we loved. We loved every small movement of Clara, every small victory, every small sound. These two words make all the difference, acceptance and love.
We also fought for Clara. We are still fighting to give her the opportunities to develop, to grow, to live well. We are very blessed. Doctors were wrong and today Clara can understand 3 languages, run, walk, and communicate, even if she cannot talk. During these years, we gave her a lot of exercises, always stimulating her to autonomy and independence.
After the stroke I cried so many times, I hoped so many times, I fought with God so many times, because for a mother it is hard. Is hard to see her difficulties, her will to make friends but she cannot speak, her will to do normal things that she can’t, like play with a ball.
With the years I found peace, because I know that God choose us to have a diamond like her. Yes, she is a diamond. A precious one.
Today she is 12 years old, she is painting, and everyone is liking her work. Now she is an artist, and her dream is to have her solo exhibition in NY. She has more than 12,000 followers on Instagram that are motivated by her history, by her smiles, by her paintings. People from all over the world that write to her, to say thank you for what she is giving to the world.
The stroke was a really bad thing that happen to us, but we know that God can change bad into good. Today we are living well but with many challenges and we know that Clara will make a difference in this world!