Monday 9 May, broadcasting station MAX broadcast a special documentary: ‘Wonderouders’ [star parents]. Life stories of parents with a physical, sensory or mental impairment and their children. Ivonne Bressers has two daughters and she suffers from Usher Syndrome, a rare disorder that makes her both deaf and blind. In the documentary ‘Wonderouders’ they talk about the impact that Usher Syndrome has on their lives.
‘Wonderouders’ is a follow-up of ‘Wonderkinderen’ [star children], which was broadcast in previous years. An honest documentary in which parents talk together with their children who suffer from an impairment in a pure and unique setting. In ‘Wonderouders’. the parents have an impairment and they talk with their children about parenthood, upbringing and the impact of the impairment on the personal lives of them all.
When they ware asked to participate in this documentary, Ivonne Bressers and her daughters did not need much time to think. ‘I want to show that an impairment related to both hearing and seeing has a great impact, but that it does not have to stand in the way of being a mother’, according to Ivonne. Of course, the children also experience frustrations and distress because their mother suffers from Usher Syndrome. For instance, both daughters tell us that they particularly have trouble with the deterioration of hearing of their mother. They literally and figuratively see her world get smaller. They also feel anger and powerlessness when their mother is not allowed to go everywhere with her guide-dog or when people stare at them on the street.
Being in charge
Ivonne has as a mother experienced a lot of trouble because of her double sensory impairment, in particular with respect to bringing the children to school and picking them up when they were young. ‘It was a full-time job to arrange transport to school, going out playing at friends’ houses, parties and sporting clubs. I often felt I was loosing control of the upbringing of my own children, because I was so heavily dependent on other parents.’ Still, Ivonne tried to limit their children as little as possible in being a child and consciously asked help form other adults. ‘My children are not responsible for my life with a heavy impairment. I want to give both my daughters all possible room and freedom to develop themselves and to spread their wings. They were allowed to be child and adolescent with all that comes with that and anger and shame for their parents is part of this.’
‘Wonderouders’ also shows that especially in the safety of a family there is a lot of room for humour, putting things in perspective and trust.
Apart from all moving life stories, ‘Wonderouders’ particularly is about fighting spirit, resilience and hope and every story shows an unconditional connection between parent and child.