By Beth Davis

As a mother-to-be, there is so much to think about. With a newborn baby on the way, everything you’re expecting, need to learn and are excited for is playing through your mind. But, there was one thing I never imagined happening to my baby – and that was hearing loss.

I was holding my newborn Jett, admiring his little face and his silky skin, relishing that the moment I’d been waiting for nine months was finally here. If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. Nothing could have ruined it.

Then Jett failed his SWISH test – twice.

He was diagnosed with profound bilateral hearing loss. It was devastating. I remember thinking, “How is this possible? We have no family history of hearing loss! What will happen to our beautiful little baby and the life we were dreaming for him to have?”

It turns out that Jett, and children like him, really can have a bright future. With the help of early intervention support, they can learn to listen and speak just like their normal-hearing peers.

Beth is cradling Jett and standing alongside her husband, Brad and their three-year-old son, Harrison.

For this reason, I am so grateful we found The Shepherd Centre – a charity dedicated to helping children with hearing loss access sound. Honestly, all we needed was someone who shared our hopes for Jett to have a normal life – and they did.

Jett was two-months-old when he received his first hearing aids. When we realised that the hearing aids were not enough, The Shepherd Centre supported us with the fitting of cochlear implants, which finally allowed our baby to hear the world around him.

It was a life-changing moment for us when Jett’s cochlear implants were switched on. When I close my eyes, I can still see it – Jett’s eyes growing wide at the sounds of our voices, and cheering us all on with his infectious laugh.

Beth never imagined her newborn would have hearing loss.

When they say it takes a village, they weren’t kidding.  For us, there is a team of incredible professionals who make it their purpose to help make sure babies like Jett reach their full potential.

Now, I find myself dreaming again – about Jett going to a mainstream school, being about to advocate for himself, being about to listen and speak just like his peers, and achieving everything he’d want in his life – all despite his disability.

But I know that this dream would not possible without the generosity of donors who support the work of The Shepherd Centre.

With one in five children with hearing loss potentially be missing out on early intervention services during the pandemic, I feel it’s important for me to share my story in support of  The Shepherd Centre’s Giving Day initiative.

It’s our responsibility to make sure no child is left behind – and has the chance to reach their full potential regardless of disability. It’s all about giving the voice to those who wouldn’t have it otherwise – like my baby Jett.