Born with no hands – but nothing will stop my boy

Little Amin is so inspiring!

Shirin’s son has proved everyone wrong.

Here, Shirin Jelil, 31, from Melbourne, Victoria, shares her story in her own words.

Lying down on the hospital bed, I felt a rush of nerves and excitement as I clutched my husband Layth’s hand. We were at my 20-week scan.

There had already been joy as we’d found out I was carrying a boy, which meant another brother for our gorgeous sons, Ibrahim, four, and Mazzin, two.

But when the sonographer brought a doctor into the room, my heart sank.

His face was grave.

‘The baby doesn’t have hands,’ he explained.

Instantly, I thought of our baby girl, Rahaf, who was born seven years earlier.

She had missing fingers and her lungs hadn’t developed properly. In four hours she’d passed away. It’d been utterly devastating.

They weren’t sure
why this had happened to two of my kids – it was something to do with genes.

‘With your history, we think it’s highly unlikely this baby will survive,’ the doctor explained. ‘His missing hands mean his condition is more severe than your daughter’s.’

I burst into tears.

‘There is an option to terminate, as he’s not going to live,’ he added.

‘I can’t do that,’ I sobbed.

I’d always believed that I had to embrace whatever life threw at me.

Plus, a tiny part of me couldn’t help but wonder, What if everything is okay this time?

I could tell Layth was trying to be strong for me, but he was just as broken.

Amin Shirin as a baby
He’s our miracle baby

At home, the only way I could deal with the pain was by completely blocking out the pregnancy.

Layth told our family and friends the situation and asked them not to speak to me about the baby.

Luckily, we hadn’t told the boys I was pregnant.

But as my tummy grew, they asked, ‘Mummy, are you having a baby?’

‘No, I’ve just eaten too much,’ I replied.

As the due date crept closer, I still avoided everything baby-related.

At check-ups, doctors were adamant that he wouldn’t live.

So distraught, I focused on looking after the boys.

When my waters broke in August 2017, I couldn’t stop panicking.

Half way through labour, I didn’t think I could do it.

‘Come on love, keep going,’ Layth encouraged.

When our bub came out, they laid him on a table. He was red – and coughing.

Suddenly, doctors who had been waiting outside, came running into the room.

‘Dying babies don’t cough,’ one cried.

My baby boy was alive!

Layth was jumping for joy and I couldn’t stop crying.

Holding our tiny bundle for the first time felt surreal.

I kept looking at him and smelling his newborn scent.

Amin Shirin
Amin has a loving nature

‘Let’s call him Amin,’ I smiled to my hubby.

He had no hands and was missing a toe, but it didn’t matter.

Amin weighed a teeny 2.3 kilos and was perfect.

Later, Ibrahim and Mazzin came to meet their brother.

‘You said you weren’t having a baby,’ Mazzin said.

‘I wanted it to be a surprise,’ I smiled.

They adored him.

Amin and I spent a week in hospital so doctors could monitor his progress.

I was on cloud nine as medics from all over the hospital dropped by.

‘We want to see the miracle baby,’ they said.

Finally, we went home.

As it was winter, he’d been wearing mittens in hospital and, at home, I changed his clothes in front of the boys.

Shirin and family
We’re so proud of him

‘Mummy, where are his hands?’ Ibrahim asked.

‘He doesn’t have any,’ I explained.

‘That’s so special!’ my four-year-old gushed.

How right Ibrahim was – Amin’s difference made him special.

Layth and I agreed that we’d raise Amin with the belief he could do anything by himself. And very quickly, our bub proved how true this was.

He nailed crawling and walking just like any other baby. And as he grew older, Amin learned how to feed himself with a spoon.

He could also put on his own shoes, build LEGO and hold a drink.

The hospital even gave us tiny gloves with sockets that we attached to the handlebars of his bike.

Amin on his bike
He has special bike gloves

Amin simply put the end of his arms in the gloves and away he went. 

Recently, now three and a half, he used chopsticks!

Amin was also born with a hearing impairment, so he wears hearing aids and we often communicate using sign language.

He’s behind on his speech development, but his cheeky smile, laugh and loving nature more than make up for this.

In February 2023, he’ll start at a mainstream school. Amin can already hold a pen and write, so I can’t wait to see what else he’ll achieve in class.

I’m so proud of my miracle boy. He really is a true warrior.

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