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Overcome, My Life /
January 23, 2023

Life with One Arm

I get so many questions about how I do things with one arm.

“What are my strategies?” “How do I do my daily life?” “Do I ever get discouraged?”

After I lost my arm, all of the sudden daily tasks like cutting an apple or putting my hair up were so overwhelming. Learning to surf with one arm was really challenging too. I quickly learned that I have to be extremely adaptable to conquer all the little things that come my way.

However, sometimes I find it to be a fun challenge because I have to think a little harder about how to do typical things than those with two arms would. It’s an opportunity to get creative and see things from a different point of view!

I definitely have to do a lot of things in unique way, but I often think of myself as more capable than the average person.

Bethany learns to live life with one arm

I never want to let the loss of my arm stop me from doing what I love or what I want to accomplish. I tend to be hard on myself and I focus less on my arm and more on my goal. I see the goal and say, “how am I going to get there?”

In terms of getting through daily life tasks, my knees and feet are SO helpful!

I use them to open doors, help change kiddos’ diapers, lift things and just about anything in between! I also use my mouth to hold things here and there. Another major trick I’ve found is holding things in the crook of my neck between my stubby shoulder and my head – it’s the best!

Something else that has helped me a ton is keeping my body extremely flexible. I use so many different muscles to help me do everything and often this puts my body in unique positions that require flexibility.

For example, when my kids were very little and couldn’t walk yet, I had to figure out how to pick them up when they were on the floor.

It didn’t work to reach down and just grab the little baby with one hand, as you can imagine! I would typically squat down super low and lean my chest towards the ground, bringing my face to his level. Then I would pull him against my chest with my arm and shift him over to my hip or nestle him in the crook of my arm before I stood up. If my hips were really tight and I wasn’t flexible enough to get my upper body that low to the ground while I squatted, I really struggled! So flexibility is so important for me!

I do a lot of work to keep my muscles loose so that I can do what I need to do get the task done. Here’s a fun video clip with a couple highlights:

I will be the first to admit that constantly adapting in this way is not always easy! I have lots of discouraging moments and some tears for sure!

But I choose not to stay in them and I keep pushing through. I choose to flip my mindset from “I can’t” to “I can”. I choose to try, even when it’s hard. And when I mess up, I try again.

You can do this too! Look at the obstacles in your life and be willing to adapt and be creative! Be willing to give it your best shot and go for it and be proud of incremental progress, even if you haven’t reached your goal yet.

I know that you can do so much more than you think you can!

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