Book Review: “The Parenting Journey” – Lorna Irwin

As the mother of a deaf toddler, I read everything I could find. I read scholarly articles, trying to glean the “best way” to raise our daughter from the current research being done.From there I turned to books full of professional advice and attended conferences and workshops. I wanted to do everything I could for my child and often felt I was falling short. I read personal stories that other parents and deaf adults had written, which often carried a strong message about the success experienced with this method or that.

“The Parenting Journey:Rasising Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children” is a book I wish I’d had as a young parent. Many of us who have attended a Hands & Voices Leadership Conference have met deaf mom/H&V Board Member/barefoot waterskier/author Karen Putz. It will come as no surprise to find her new book very enjoyable and infused with the Hands & Voices spirit.

While she tells her own story of raising three children with hearing loss, she incorporates the stories of many other parents, making it clear that all children are different, even within the same family, and that there is more than one “right way”. There are no diagrams of the ear, no explanation of the audiogram, no analysis of communication choices. This is a book about parenting, and the issues we all face, no matter what communication mode we favor or what kind of educational program our child attends.

It’s also about ideal parenting, but the realities – the piles of unwashed laundry and other children bouncing off the walls, the unrecognized problems, the choices that didn’t lead to success, denial, guilt, stress, joy, love and humor. You’ll recognize your own experiences as you read this book, and be better able to appreciate what you’ve done right, as oppposed to where you’ve fallen short.

As Karen says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And remember to laugh in the process.”

This book is available on