By Jasia Shamdasani, Republic Polytechnic’s Diploma in Mass Communication
Madam Nuraini Mohd Noor struggles to take care of her three children who have disabilities.
When Madam Nuraini Mohd Noor’s eldest son was only four-months old, she received news no mother would ever want to hear.
The 49-year-old homemaker was told by doctors that her son was diagnosed with microcephaly with delayed development, a condition where the head is smaller than normal and epilepsy, a neurological disorder and intellectual disability.
“I still remember when my son first experienced symptoms of his condition, I really panicked because he was breathless, his face was blue and his heart stopped for a while. I quickly rushed him to the hospital,” said Madam Nuraini.
Madam Nuraini was more devastated when she found out that both her second son and youngest daughter also had the same condition, epilepsy, as her oldest son.
“I was very sad when I found out. I asked the doctor why not one but three out of four of my children have this condition, but they couldn’t answer me as none of them knew why,” she said.
For 24 years, Madam Nuraini had to juggle between taking care of her children and household chores.
She said, “It has been a really hard time for me because I am the only one taking care of my children at home when my husband and daughter go to work.”
Besides looking after her children, she also must look after her mother who has dementia.
“Sometimes, it is very hard for me to go out because I have to take care of her too. It is very tiring. I often feel frustrated because I have already been through so much,” she said.
Thankfully, she has the support of her family and she takes turns with her husband and oldest daughter to look after her other children. Her eldest son attends the Singapore Red Cross Day Activity Centre for the Disabled.
“Without the help of my husband and my daughter, I think life will be very difficult for me,” said Madam Nuraini.
When they get home from work, her husband and daughter will always help to shower her other children and ensure that they have taken their medicine.
“It is very tiring for me to look after my siblings and work at the same time but I still do it because I love my siblings,” said her daughter, Ms Naqiyah bte Yusuf, 21, a staff nurse at Raffles Hospital.
Due to her children’s conditions, Madam Nuraini often has to spend money on medical bills, diapers and milk, making it very hard for her to make ends meet.
Fortunately, she receives Red Cross FoodAid vouchers (worth $500) every month from Singapore Red Cross and that helps her with her grocery cost.
“The vouchers really help because diapers and milk are very expensive, so the vouchers help take away some of the financial burden that we have and made our lives a lot easier,” said Mdm Nuraini.
Despite the many challenges Madam Nuraini faces, she finds strength to persevere from her love for her family.
“I just have to accept this situation that I am in. My children are just gifted in another way,” she said.