A video of Charlotte Keane hearing her mother’s voice for the first time has gone viral, amassing 263,000 shares and 14 million views on Facebook.
Her mother, Christy, originally didn’t plan on making the video public, but after relatives asked to share it on the social media platform, she agreed. “I thought, ‘Oh, what’s the harm? I’ll make it public,” Keane told Good Housekeeping in a phone interview. “And then, I think I woke up the next day with a thousand shares, and by Monday it had hit a million.”
Charlotte was born with bilateral profound congenital hearing loss, which happens in one of out every 1,000 to 2,000 births, according to the American Hearing Research Foundation. Throughout Christy’s pregnancy, there was no warning that this would happen.
Doctors originally diagnosed Charlotte’s hearing problems as fluid blockage. “She has very profound hearing loss and is not and will not be cured,” Christy says. “She will always be deaf and we cannot tell what degree of hearing the aids are giving her, we just know she’s showing great and positive responses.”
The family is exploring the possibility of implants for Charlotte that would effectively replace the damaged parts of her ears, as hearing aids can only amplify sound.
It still feels strange to say out loud- our daughter is deaf. To be honest, it still doesn't fully seem real. Like what? How can this sweet, perfect baby not hear me? She never heard me tell her how much I prayed for her when she was in my belly, she never heard me welcome her in to the world, she's never heard me sing her to sleep-and the hardest to handle- she's never heard me say "I love you". Sometimes I worry the darkness and silence must feel overwhelmingly lonely and scary for her at night. I pray my touch and presence is enough to reassure her throughout the day. There are still heartbreaking truths in our otherwise hopeful situation- but I choose not to dwell on that too much. When this sweet child locks her eyes on mine, I just know she feels our love for her, our protection, and our hopes. . This #deafawarenessweek I want you all to know I am so PROUD to be the mother of a deaf child. To me, Charly is perfect and I wouldn't change her for the world. God chose her for our family and the perspective and love she has brought to our lives in the last 7 weeks is overwhelming and amazing. My only hope is that our story may change your perspective as well and that you all choose to embrace her with your love and support as we embark on her hearing journey! . Today, my darling Charly, You wont know our voices, but you will know our touch, our smell, and our eyes. Is that enough? I pray it is. No- it WILL be! It has to be for now, and we will make sure all of your needs are met with everything that we have. You won't hear us tell you "I love you", but I promise you will feel it. With every touch, look, and smile, you will feel our love surrounding you sweet girl. No matter what this journey brings, we will love you through it. Today, and everyday, hearing or not, I am so proud to be your mom, I am so happy you were promised to our family. I can't wait to witness your miracles and watch you move mountains. #darlingcharly#charlyshearingjourney#profoundhearingloss#deaf#cochlearimplants#CIjourney#cochlear#congenitalhearingloss
A post shared by Christy Keane (@theblushingbluebird) on Sep 22, 2017 at 8:42am PDT
The hearing aids Charlotte uses were provided by donors at no cost to the Keanes. Despite their hardships, the family is moving forward and plans to work with a speech therapist to help Charlotte learn how to talk. They’re also considering sign language.
“I had never in my life seen that face before,” Christy says of her daughter in the video. “I’m her mother, and I know the look in her eyes when she’s sad, upset or hurting, and that connection, and that moment when our eyes met and she heard my voice for the first time, that was true emotion from her.”
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