If A Tree Falls
If A Tree Falls: a family’s quest to hear and be heard
by Jennifer Amy Rose
forthcoming, in May 2010, by The Feminist Press
After her first baby fails the newborn hearing test, Jennifer discovers a family tree riddled with deafness. When her second child is born profoundly deaf, Jennifer is forced to come to grips with the realities of raising deaf children in a world of sound and her own feelings of being unheard as a child. Thrown into the unfamiliar world of deaf politics, Jennifer and her husband find themselves overwhelmed by choices.
In an effort to understand how her daughters will cope, Jennifer embarks on an imaginative genealogical journey. She recreates, in beautiful and startling detail, moments in the lives of her two deaf great-aunts, Nellie and Bayla, who lived in a small Shtetl in Eastern Europe in the late 1800s. In this other time and place,Jennifer finds solace through establishing a connection with Nellie and Bayla’s mother, Pearl, who had none of the modern options available to Jennifer and her husband.
Struggling with nagging insecurities due to a fragile relationship with her own hard of hearing mother and pressing worries of being able to sustain a healthy connection to her children, Jennifer learns, through the delights and triumphs of raising her girls and her growing connection to her own ancestry, how to let go of old grievances and how to be present and joyful in motherhood.