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Blind love: Motherly + The Longest Shortest Time

A friend put Jeff in touch with Sarah; the interview went well, it felt comfortable—and that was it.

Blind love: Motherly + The Longest Shortest Time

Motherly has partnered with Hillary Frank and The Longest Shortest Time podcast to bring you insights from their five years of publishing stories from the front lines of parenthood.


In Episode #26, Blind Love, Frank chats with Jeff and Sarah Overmars who share their beautiful love story which includes Jeff’s progression into total blindness. Jeff suffers from Choroideremia, “A rare eye disease that causes a person to see flashing lights and patches of darkness until, eventually, they can no longer see anything at all.”

“Looking through my eyes, I describe it to people sometimes as if you were to take Vaseline and smear it over a camera lens and then look through that lens.” —Jeff Overmars

What challenges does this bring on for the couple—especially when children enter the picture? We all know parenting can be hard enough on marriages at times—but what happens when the division of labor is completely beyond either of your control?

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The love story

Jeff interviewed Sarah for his college radio show—because he needed to ask one of the crazy outdoor runners why they were still running outside in Nova Scotia’s -32°F weather. He was perplexed by them. A friend put Jeff in touch with Sarah; the interview went well, it felt comfortable—and that was it.

About a month later, Sarah tapped Jeff’s arm on the escalator after they each enjoyed the same movie—separately, alone. Jeff’s condition and the white cane he used, reminded Sarah of her father who was blind and the white cane he also used. She said, “Jeff rang out to me. He was especially cute in my eyes.”

They part ways, and Sarah makes note of this encounter in her journal that night saying that Jeff was going to be “an important person in her life.” But they didn’t see each other until a few months later, at a bar. After this chance encounter, they started making actual plans to see one another—going dancing, listening to music, and getting to know each other. Then plans had them going separate ways soon after they started dating—Jeff to Antigua to teach the blind, and Sarah to teachers college in Toronto.

Parting ways

Jeff couldn’t stand the thought of what they had coming to an end. So he hitchhiked his way to the airport to say a real goodbye to Sarah, to make sure their relationship was solidified. Jeff wrote Sarah love letter after love letter while they were apart, and eventually they reunited, married, and had children together.

They were only four or five months into marriage when they decided to start trying for kids, so that Jeff could see them before his sight was totally gone.

Everyday life

Jeff’s condition makes it very hard for him to take the children out of the house on his own—he doesn’t have peripheral vision, so he worries he could lose them. It’s hard for Jeff to help around the house, or to do everyday tasks with/for the kids.

Looking for the kid’s things, noticing if anything is wrong with the house, cooking, driving everyone around (including driving herself to the hospital while in labor!)—falls under Sarah’s jurisdiction.

“It’s exhausting. At times I feel very overwhelmed by it all.” —Sarah Overmars

And how does Jeff feel?

“I guess I feel a bit like a disappointment sometimes. ” —Jeff Overmars

Jeff takes the children out to places on the bus, he entertains them while Sarah makes dinner; doing what he can to balance out what Sarah does for the family.

So how romantic is their story these days? Their romantic moments happen in smaller ways, while they’re in the car with the kids taking a drive—chatting, listening to music, and spending time together as a couple once the kids fall asleep. As Frank says, “It’s no hitch-hiking to the airport blind in the middle of the night, but for now, while the kids are still small—it’s what they’ve got.”

Take a listen to this beautiful story

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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