Ami Hook-Ireland wants to show you can be a brilliant parent when you have disability (Picture: Ami Hook-Ireland)
‘I had to learn everything again – eating, writing, typing, gripping objects, sitting up, standing and walking,’ says Ami Hook-Ireland, 25.
In 2018, Ami, from Fakenham, Norfolk, was diagnosed with sensory ataxia, a neurological condition that affects her balance, coordination, motor skills and walking.
Shortly after, she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare neurological condition where the spinal becomes inflamed.
The cervical and thoracic areas of her spinal cord were affected, showing extensive damage. The inflammation caused her to have no control in moving her head, her upper torso and all four limbs.
Now, Ami has a two-month old daughter, named Daisy. Her multiple conditions add an extra layer of difficulty to parenting – but Ami says having a child has been life-changing in the most wonderful way.
‘These two conditions combined have left me with limited mobility, I cannot walk independently,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Before my daughter was born, I was able to walk a couple of metres, at the most, with my walking frame and the support of one or two people, depending how strong my legs felt.
Ami was put into a coma in 2018, when they discovered she had multiple illnesses and disabilities (Picture: Ami Hook-Ireland)
‘Both conditions have caused me to experience altered sensations around my body, mainly my hands, legs and feet. I have muscle weakness, fatigue and poor fine-motor skills too.’
Alongside these two conditions, Ami also has mitochondrial disease, a rare spectrum of disorders caused by mutations to the mitochondria, which live in our cells.
There is no cure for Ami’s conditions.
Physiotherapy helps the mum to regain some mobility and strengthen muscles, while medication manages the symptoms of mitochondrial disease.
Her husband, Ewan, helps to support Ami, but it hasn’t been plain sailing.
Her husband, Ewan, has been a huge source of support (Picture: Ami Hook-Ireland)
‘Ewan and I struggled to begin with, when my health started deteriorating four years ago,’ Ami tells us.
‘We’ve been together for nearly eight years; becoming disabled has been challenging to adapt to, but our love for one another is stronger than before.’
The arrival of Daisy, however, changed everything. Ami is keen to break apart the idea that someone shouldn’t be a parent simply because they are disabled.
It can be frustrating to know that she can’t do everything for her child, but Ami has learned that her daughter’s happiness is more important than what anyone else thinks.
‘Our love for one another is stronger than before,’ says Ami (Picture: Ami Hook-Ireland)
‘Due to many aspects of my conditions, I can’t physically do much for Daisy; accepting that has been the hardest part,’ she explains.
‘We are still learning about different ways of how I could try and be more involved with the physical aspects, like changing a nappy, putting clothes on, bathing, etc. It’s a huge learning curve.
‘I can feed Daisy, and I can hold her as long as my arms are being supported …read more