Disability not a barrier to being a good mother

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

CEBU - She can’t hear, she can’t talk, but Je-Ann Retobado Garzo is a devoted mother.

Sara Violeta Garzo can only rave about Je-Ann, her daughter-in-law, who cleans the house and does the laundry while taking care of her one-year-old baby John Matthew.

Je-Ann, 21, was born with a hearing and speech impediment. She is married to speech-impaired Christian Garzo, a house painter.


Sara Violeta told Sun.Star Cebu that the two were classmates at a Zapatera Special Education class.

Regular household

Mothers Day
JUGGLING ACT. Je-Ann Retobado Garzo, seen here playing with her son John Matthew, juggles motherhood with daily household chores like cleaning the house and laundry. Garzo was born with a hearing and speech impediment.(Sun.Star Photo/Allan Cuizon)

They fell in love and decided to live with Christian and his family. The couple has a son, John Matthew. The doctor said it is better that he grows up in a regular household so his “faculties” will develop.

“She’s very good at taking care of her baby. She stops whatever she’s doing when it’s feeding time,” Sara Violeta said.

Sara Violeta said Je-Ann’s day starts at 5 a.m. to buy porridge for John Matthew. The one order will serve as the baby’s breakfast, morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack. Je-Ann orders another one for dinner.

While she goes about her daily tasks of giving him a bath, cleaning the house and doing the laundry, Je-Ann also breastfeeds him when he’s hungry.

Another job that Je-Ann is very serious about is shielding her baby. She bans bearded men from kissing John Matthew and would not allow dirty hands to touch her toddler.

Plans for today

“Sometimes she gets mad when we get the baby,” said 12-year-old Josheila, Je-Ann’s sister-in-law, who said her plump nephew is too irresistible.

Another sister-in-law, 17-year-old Sara Mae, said Je-Ann also gets irritated when they try to hold John Matthew when he’s ill.

Sun.Star Cebu interviewed Je-Ann by writing questions on paper and she would either nod or shake her head. Sometimes, she would jot down the answer.

When asked what she will do tomorrow, she writes back, “Don’t know. Why?”
When asked if she will celebrate Mother’s Day, she just smiled and wrote, “Yes.”

When asked if she likes ice cream and Coke on Mother’s Day, she nodded. Asked if she will go out with her husband Christian, she just smiled.

Asked what she will cook on Mother’s day, she writes back, “(But) I have a cook.”

Sara Mae explained that their mother cooks for them. Je-Ann is the eldest among eight siblings while Christian, who works with his father Felix, is second of six siblings.

Sara Violeta admitted that she almost forgot about Mother’s Day.

“Kahibawo man mi nga Mother’s Day, tungod sa kawad-on di na lang mi mag-saulog (We know it’s Mother’s Day, we just don’t celebrate it because of poverty),” she said. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 11, 2014.

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