Sarah Talbi, 38, learnt to dress herself and brush her own hair using her feet as a child. Her disability doesn’t hold her back in caring for her daughter, Lilia, who is now two
Meet the mum born with no arms who does her nails, dresses her toddler and paints – all using her feet. Doctors couldn’t say why Sarah Talbi, 38, was born without any upper limbs.
But as a child, she didn’t see herself different and learnt to eat, dress herself and brush her hair using her feet. As she got older, she developed more skills like chopping vegetables and doing her make-up – all with her toes. And now Sarah has a two-year-old daughter, Lilia, who she cooks for, dresses and plays with. Little Lilia sees her stay-at-home mum as no different and holds onto Sarah’s sleeve when they cross the road.
Sarah, from Brussels, Belgium said: “I can do anything with my feet as long as I don’t have shoes on. “I put my make-up on, dress, cook, shower look after Lilia, I can do everything I want.” As a child, Sarah didn’t see herself as having any issues with her missing limbs. Sarah said: “How a baby takes everything with their hands and makes a mess, I did the same with my feet so my brain was connecting to my feet.
“I could do everything a toddler the same age could do, just with my feet. “As I got older I could eat, but I struggled to write. Those things came later, I learnt it because it was the age of learning.
“Some other children asked why I didn’t have arms but for me, it was totally normal. I thought there were lots of other people without arms and I was just one of those people.” When Sarah was a teenager she studied English and Spanish translation at the Higher Institute of Translators and Interpreters (ISTI), Brussels, without extra support. Sarah said: “I was able to do it like anyone else. When I did Erasmus I had to move but I moved in with friends and we had an apartment together. “I just had an experience like anyone would have done and I did that without struggling.” In September 2018, Sarah had a baby, Lilia, now two.
Sarah said: “It is a huge achievement becoming a mum. It’s my best achievement.
“I think it’s hard for any woman to become a mum because it’s such a big change, plus having a disability you are dealing with two things. “But my disability had to adapt to having a baby.
“Now I have two years of experience and I can do everything with my daughter.
“She holds me by my sleeve when we walk along the street. It’s unbelievable, she’s holding it like a hand.
“It’s funny because sometimes she’ll want to run off and touch something in the street and she asks and tugs my sleeve.
“She doesn’t know I can’t hold her back yet which is sweet.”
- Sarah has even found that she can paint using her feet, and is looking forward to putting on more exhibitions to showcase her work. She said: “I do it with my feet like everything else. My main inspiration is nature, I love painting landscapes.
- “I love nature and travelling and I really miss it.”
- Sarah hasn’t met any other woman who has the same disability as her.
- Sarah added: “I have adapted entirely myself and I can do everything I want. I don’t let it hold me back.”