A mother who was born without arms has revealed how she’s adapted to looking after her toddler, using her feet to cook and clean.
Belgian artist Sarah Talbi, from Brussels has learned to live without her arms since birth, and has shared a glimpse of how she cares for her three-year-old daughter Lilia, by using her feet to do things like washing and dressing her.
To get Lilia out of her crib, Sarah has taught her daughter to put her arms around her neck and she uses her core strength to lift her out and place her on the floor.
The mother-of-one cooks by sitting on top of a stool in front of her worktop, holding the knife with one foot and the vegetables with the others.
But she told FEMAIL that she used to be really scared she would hurt her daughter when she was a newborn, because she was so ‘disconcertingly fragile.’
Belgian artist Sarah Talbi, from Brussels has learned to live without her arms since birth, and has shared a glimpse of how she cares for her three-year-old daughter Lilia
Sarah has learned to use her chore strength and her feet in order to complete tasks around the home and look after Lilia, including dressing her for school
Sarah admitted she never planned to speak about her personal life on her Youtube channel, where she discusses her art, but started doing so after some of her followers voiced questions about how she and her husband coped with Lilia.
Now, the artist counts more than 274,000 followers on her channel who tune it to learn more about her art, but also her life.
‘It’s crazy and quiet incredible that so many people are subscribed to my Youtube channel,’ she said.
‘Today I find it interesting that disability is showcased and de-dramatised.
The mother-of-one can chop vegetables and cook meals from scratch for her family using her feet
‘I like to share, and show that my life is as normal as anyone else’s. I think my followers understand that, all-in-all, my life and theirs are not so different,’ she added.
She said she’s spoken about her disability with her daughter.
‘My disability is not taboo and Lilia understands it very well. I am myself very surprised at how naturally she acts around my handicap, as if it is just a detail.
‘She says, “Mum doesn’t have arms, but she has feet” or “Some people have arms and some don’t”.
Sarah said she has spoken of her disability with Lilia and that it is not ‘taboo.’ She added that her daughter sees no issue with the fact she does not have arms
The artist admitted looking after her daughter has gotten easier over time. When Lilia was a newborn, she was afraid of hurting her
‘She sees this are something different but nothing more,’ the mother-of-one said.
While she’s faced some challenges, Sarah said her husband is a present dad who is there to share the load.
‘First or all, I am not raising my daughter alone, she has a very good dad who is very involved,’ she said.
But Lilia’s early days were a challenge for Sarah who had to figure out motherhood with a disability.
‘The challenges were bigger during the first three months when a baby is disconcertingly fragile,’ Sarah said.
‘I was very scared of hurting my baby, so her dad took over a lot.
People have complimented Sarah on her parenting and on her inspirational video, saying her love for her daughter can ‘conquer all challenges’
‘It was very difficult because as a mother, you want that direct link. I never have any issue asking for help when it comes to my disability, but asking for help when it comes to my baby was hard to bear,’ she added.
Sarah explained she was able to change Lilia’s nappies using her toes, however, she relied on her husband to take her out of her crib until Lilia was old enough to cling to her neck.
‘But on the other hand, it was her dad, and he also had the right to look after his baby.
Over the years, it has become easier for Sarah to look after Lilia by herself.
‘From the sixth months, Lilia went from newborn to baby, and things were easier around the house, though I still needed help with the pushchair,’ she said.
Sarah has demonstrated how she uses her feet to cook at home, holding a knife with one foot and the veggies with the others
The mother-of-one has also shared in a video how she has learned how to work a pan on an electrical hob
‘Now she’s three, and I can look after her without any help. We can go out for strolls without anybody having to push the chair or other. It’s real bliss,’ she added.
On her Youtube channel, Sarah has shared several videos where she is seen looking after her daughter.
Lilia is able to get herself out of bed by holding herself up and hang on to her mother’s shoulders while Sarah crouches and moves away from the bed.
Sarah is very dexterous with her toes, and she is able to pick up knives herself, holding it between her big toe and her index toe.
She is also able to use her foot to cook on a pan, holding the pan’s handle with her toe and the spatula with the other.
The mother also knows how to knead dough with her toes to make delicious pastries for her family.
Sarah washes by herself, using her foot to scrub the soap, and has learned to apply makeup, including mascara, with her feet, and also demonstrated how she can put on her own bra.
In order to do so, the mother-of-one closes the bra using her toes, then gets her head through it and uses her toe to drag it down her chest until it falls into position.
In another video, the mother shows how she takes her daughter to the park.
Lilia, who is old enough to walk, holds on to her mother’s sleeve when they walk side by side. Sarah opens the park’s door with her foot.
If Lilia wants to go on the park’s swings, Sarah is able to push her lightly with her knee or foot foot.
Very little people have targeted or harassed Sarah online.
‘I receive very little negative or harassing messages. I often think that mean people see in me the difficulties they themselves cannot overcome in their daily lives,’ she said.
‘I can’t resent them,’ she added.
Speaking of what she hopes her channel can achieve, the mother-of-one said she wants to show: ‘that’s being different is not a problem and that we can all live the life we’ve decided to build for ourselves.’
Lilia is learning to dress herself and Sarah helps her by holding her tops and trousers with her toes when she gets ready for school