Editor’s note: When Aimie Strachan was told her daughter needed to wear an eye patch for thirty minutes per day, she began searching for a book to explain the process to her daughter. When she couldn’t find a book, she decided to write it herself. Aime Strachan shares her story.
I’m Aimie, a wife, a mother of two, and a primary [elementary] school teacher from the UK. When my daughter, Matilda, was one and a half, I noticed her eye turned inward, and I proceeded to take her to the doctor. At age two she was prescribed eyeglasses, though we were told glasses may not be enough for her weaker eye. At two and a half Matilda was prescribed an eye patch. We were simply given an eye patch and told she had to wear it for three hours a day.
As a teacher, I’ve always used books to help explain and introduce new subjects. When my son was starting school, potty training, and becoming a big brother, I used books to help him understand what was happening. I automatically wanted to purchase books that explained patching to young Matilda. I searched online and discovered no such book to explain eye patching to a young child. I was really shocked, frustrated, and sad.
Writing the book
After realizing the book I wanted wasn’t written, I shared my frustrations on social media. I received such understanding from other families in similar situations that it motivated me to pursue writing it myself. I had never written a book and had no experience of publishing; it was a whole new world!
I found my amazing illustrator, Daisy Winter (daisy.draws.illustrations), through social media and she was able to interpret my rough drawings. I had a very clear idea of how I wanted the book to look and I did speak to some publishers who really didn’t understand the need for a book about patching/amblyopia. I decided to self-publish. During lockdown, I worked on my laptop to put the book together. It wasn’t easy, but the joy of finally clicking the publish button was amazing!
Considering writing a book?
To anyone else thinking about writing a book, I say do it! I was simply a frustrated parent wanting to obtain the book I felt my daughter needed and deserved. The kindness and support of friends, family, and strangers on social media really kept me focused. Matilda’s Eye Patch: A positive children’s guide to eye patching is selling globally in Japan, Spain, Italy, Australia, the USA, Canada, and the UK.
A quote that I keep in the back of my head is:
“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”