Balancing act: Mom with 1 leg uses crutches, baby carrier to get around St. John's
St. John's mom refuses to fall despite some big challenges
Most single moms have a tough balancing act but one St. John's mother has a lot more to juggle than most.
Sydney Learning lost a leg to flesh-eating disease when she was 15. Now 26, she gets around St. John's using crutches, carrying her two-year-old daughter Royal everywhere she goes.
Learning, whose leg was amputated at the hip, said without a cloth baby carrier strapped on her chest, she wouldn't be able to leave home with her daughter.
"I'm able to get baby wear at Dominion, Walmart, wherever. It helps for the quality of life for her and for me," Learning said.
"She needs me to be able to get her needs and make sure I can get diapers, and it's just a way that I can do that because she is always with me."
Bundling up for the bus
The mother-daughter duo take the bus to doctors' appointments, play groups and the grocery store.
Every day Learning bundles up Royal, straps on her baby carrier and hops to the bus stop near their home, making the trek up a dozen stairs to get there each time.
Often lugging shopping bags in addition to a 35-pound toddler, Learning said she won't let her disability stop her from being a good mom.
It's your love for your child and it keeps you going.- Sydney Learning
"I think you strive to do the best for your child as any mom would whether you are in a wheelchair or whatever and at the end of the day you find a way to do it. It's your love for your child and it keeps you going," said Learning.
Learning said when you only have one leg, chasing a toddler around requires balance, coordination and strength.
A prosthetic isn't an option for the active mom because the amputation is at her hip. An artificial leg would have to be attached around her waist. Learning said it's uncomfortable and slows her down.
Getting around on crutches in St. John's during the winter months is tough and while Learning is afraid of slipping on ice, she has never dropped her daughter.
She admits it hasn't always been easy to stay positive. Royal had a sister Belle who died from birth complications when she was a week old.
"You know, I'm a twin mom. It's just one of my babies is in Heaven," Learning said, holding back tears.
"I'm very blessed that I've had two little girls and Royal is still here. Royal gives me so much strength."