Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Disabled Parenting

Last night as part of the Baby Britain season BBC Three aired a documentary called A Special Kind of Mum, featuring two young mothers, Michelle and Trish, who happened to be disabled.

Michelle has dwarfism and is a single mother to 2 year old Treziah. Trish, suffers with Arthrogryposis a condition that fuses joints together leaving Trish unable to use her arms and legs, together with husband Paul they have three children, Jessica 4, TJ 2 and new born Amber-Jane.

A Special Kind of Mum showed both women tackling their roles as mothers despite the difficulties and prejudice they faced on a daily basis. Both have been told by strangers and loved ones that they should not be mums, that they are selfish to have children in the first place and were both advised by medical staff that they should consider abortions.

Lately since I’m in my late twenties and have been with Mike (boyfriend) for 7 years, I’ve thought about having children and not a week goes by when someone doesn't ask when we’re going to take the plunge and have mini Lynsey’s running around the house.

To be honest I’m absolutely terrified of having children. Like Michelle and Trish I’ll struggle with the day to day tasks of motherhood but my problems will start during pregnancy. I’ll have to forgo the pain medication I rely on and a growing bump will cause all sorts of problems with my spastic muscles causing yet more pain.

I often wonder how will I cope once my children are born?  I’ve ask my nearest and dearest for advice but most people just say “Oh you’ll cope” or “You’ll be fine” no one gives me actual practical advice to specific problems but after watching A Special Kind of Mum I saw how it’s actually done.

Having little to no use of her limbs Trish did everything using her mouth and teeth. From cooking, dressing her children, changing nappies and picking up the baby, Trish is a brilliant Mum. How people have the cheek to tell her she’s a selfish mother to her children I don’t know!

Trish picking up Amber-Jane
(Image borrowed from the BBC)
Looking at Michelle’s gorgeous little boy Treziah, you cannot comprehend how anyone could have suggested for her to have an abortion. Motherhood for Michelle is tough, her son although is only 2 is catching up to his mums height making him harder to control when he’s being naughty. Michelle even goes on to say she’s trying to be super mum to compensate for her disability but she is doing a brilliant job.

Sadly I know parents who have abused and neglected their children, these people are perfectly able bodied and of sound mind and many of them go years or a lifetime never being pulled up on their behaviour and yet Michelle and Trish are called bad mothers for doing a stunning job, how many of you would be willing to change a soiled nappy with your mouth?

There is a lack of advice, equipment and services for disabled parents, many are just sent in the direction of social services. One parent trying to change that is former Hollyoaks actress Kelly-Marie Stewart who has set up a campaign called Invisible Mums so that disabled parents can have an independent life with their children and those who have not had children, like myself, can begin to plan for their children’s lives rather than living in fear that they might not be able to cope or at worst having the children taken into care because they simply cannot cope. You’ll find the petition here please sign it!!

I may not be able to push my future children in their pushchairs, I may not be able to run around with them at the park or be able to carry them down stairs without having to bump them down whilst sitting on my bottom but I know I’ll do the best job I can do. They will be well loved, fed, kept warm and clean, taught their ABC’s and their manners I’ll just have to leave rugby, hide and seek and hockey to their Dad!


P.s You can watch A Special Kind of Mum online by going here! If you are already a parent and in need of support please go here or Tweet questions to @disabled_parent 

1 comment:

  1. You don't have to be able bodied to be a parent or even a good parent, there are parents out there who are able to run, walk and work ect but they are not good parents. Being a parent is about giving your child the love and attention it needs and deserves, as you know im disabled since my accident and am not able to run around after my kids, but that doesn't change me as a parent they still get my love and attention whether im feeling bad or not. I believe you and Mike will make brilliant parents and yes your going to have a rough pregnancy should you choose to have kids but all the pain will be worth it, and dont let anyone tell you that disabled people shouldn't have kids. xx


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