Dr Catherine Rossiter, IADT
Dr. Catherine Rossiter, Lecturer in Marketing, Faculty of Enterprise + Humanities, IADT
My learning in resilience began in earnest on August 18th 2013 with the premature arrival of a twin boy and girl at just 27 weeks. Unfortunately, my daughter suffered complications within a few days of birth that have created lifelong complications. The challenges of their early arrival and all the complications around their birth and future care and future lives was one of the most difficult phases of my life. Due to their prematurity and compromised immunity we lived an isolated life at home for their first 2 years of life well before covid introduced the world to ‘cocooning’. I dug deep and found new levels of resilience to draw upon, my sole focus was the care of the children. The days were long 13 hours day beginning at 5.00 am for the first 3 years, and many hospitalisations for my daughter and emergency surgeries. I got through each day to the best of my ability and hoped each night as my head lay on the pillow to sleep that tomorrow would be better, if the day just about to pass had been difficult, tiring or fearful.
The enormity of life challenges and changes that I was facing could have been overwhelming, however, I decided to focus on each day and thinking as far ahead as each week in a general way. Each day was divided into sections between meals, this helped me to focus on a manageable time period and all that had to be done in these time slots. In 2017 our family circumstances changed and I found myself as a single parent, seeking a new home that would suit the needs of a child requiring total care while also trying to adjust to returning to full time work. With the incredible support from close family, friend and amazing work colleagues and management in the Faculty of Enterprise and Humanities in IADT I overcame these hurdles and settled into a new life routine in a new home. The return to full time work allowed me to reconnect with work, people and society after almost 3 years lived a very isolated life where the main weekly outings were to therapy and hospital appointments.
Challenges in our lives are often opportunities to change, to change ourselves for the better, opportunities to make situations better for those who follow behind us. Following complex dealing with family law and the family courts in Ireland, I have come to see first hand how the voice of a child is often not fully heard and especially that of a disabled child. This challenge has lit a firebrand within me to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and to this end if have created a website www.voicesofdisabledchildren.eu to work to get the voices of disabled children heard more clearly in family law and in the Irish courts system.
I hope that my story of life challenges will help others to find the resilience to overcome them and live each day to the full, carpe diem