China today

Single mom spends 29 years raising son with cerebral palsy, now he is at Harvard

2017-05-19 10:46:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

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BEIJING - A famous saying by English poet George Herbert goes "One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters."

In the case of Ding Zheng, who was born with cerebral palsy in China's Hubei Province and is studying law at Harvard University, his mother Zou Hongyan is worth a thousand schoolmasters and more.

Saving her son from death at the cost of divorce

"There is little value in rescuing the baby. He will become mentally disabled or paralyzed. I suggest you give up," a doctor at Jingzhou District Hospital told Zou and her family on July 21, 1988.

Zou was shocked.

"We shall give up the baby. He will make our whole life miserable," her husband said. His "rational" words hurt Zou deeply.

On the fourth day after giving birth, Zou managed to go to the intensive care unit where her baby was, only to find him especially "quiet," neither crying nor even frowning after a nurse gave him injections of medicine.

The 25-year-old mother had suffered enough to give birth to the child. She had been carried home several times by her students after fainting during her pregnancy while teaching; she had forced herself out of the habit of sleeping late, and into one of reading poems for antenatal training in the early mornings; she had walked a long way to the market to buy fresh vegetables to provide better nutrition for the child in her womb, and she had forced herself to eat even while suffering from severe morning sickness.

But her child was in a life-threatening situation after suffering intrauterine hypoxia due to the medical negligence in Jingzhou City of Hubei Province on July 18, 1988, leaving her with the choices of either taking the baby off life support or keeping him on it, but probably ending up living a difficult life taking care of the physically-handicapped or even paralyzed boy.

"No! I shall not let my boy die! I felt so happy when his little feet gently kicked my abdomen, and his heart beat together with mine, like dancing a ballroom dance," Zou said.

"You are just too stubborn to listen to the doctor's advice. You will be the one to take care of the baby," said Zou's husband.

Yet Zou did not change her mind and started the long journey of rehabilitation training for Ding. Zou divorced her husband when Ding turned 10 due to their differences over whether to raise Ding.

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