I Have a Disability, Chronic Illness, and Will Make an Awesome Mom One Day
I am disabled. I have medical needs unimaginable to most and I require lots of help medically and practically to live my life as others do. My ill health is complex, fragile and hugely life-impacting. I cannot get definitive answers as to where this will lead, because those answers do not exist. But, I still have what it takes to be a mom.
That wasn’t what you expected, was it? I get it. There was a time when I would have found that to be a strange statement to include also. But I am writing this today because my experiences have lead me to understand the common outlook society has. Education is needed so the judgement I and many others experience changes in a positive and constructive way.
Those who know me well know I have a wonderful boyfriend who makes me happier than I ever imagined possible. He brings out the best in me and works with me to make my less-abilities easier on a practical level. He is not my caretaker. ‘Caretaker” is not a word I feel describes my partner, because the reality of our situation is like any couple (admittedly on a more extreme level). We pick up on each other’s weak spots and fill in the gaps to be the strength needed for each other. While his help is wonderful, I would not expect someone who loves you wholeheartedly to care any less. So if “caretaker” is a term we feel necessary to use, that will have to be an interchangeable term for the both of us. Stick with me, I promise this will make sense soon…
I am disabled, but I still make my partner happy every day, with the warmth from his smile as conformation. I still cook him dinner when I can. I try to do a task myself before ever asking him to take over. I am still the person he chooses to come home to each day. I have still been able to create an equally rewarding and content relationship. I can love like any other. I can commit my feelings and dedication. I am still able to turn chaos into something wonderful. I feel that I could continue this patter with another life-changing but incredible addition to my life, a child.
I am not “incapable because I cannot walk.”
I am not “selfish for wanting to bring a child into my life knowing it is likely they will have to witness
I am not “selfish.”
I do not “need to content my mother instincts through the children of friends and family.”
This yearning is not “too unrealistic” and it certainty is not a “delusional pipe dream.”
My physical weakness is not “indication I wouldn’t cope with the demands of having a child.”
I should not have to “try a bit harder to get better first.”
Disability would not “automatically disadvantage my parenting abilities.”
Yet every statement made in the previous paragraph have been said to me while broaching the subject of parenting. This is the reason I felt the need to post this today: to show that the absurd points of view I have had to put up with time and time again need to stop! Just as I have proved with my boyfriend, I
will at some point in the future (when we are ready and we make that decision) prove that my abilities are still perfectly within the remit of a dedicated, loving, fully invested parent.
I am a great cook and I will take great care in the physical nurturing of my child. I will always do my upmost to do everything I can myself for my child (just like any other parent) but act responsibly and ask for help for things not within my capabilities. I will still be my child’s number one fan. They will still run back to me for consoling when they graze their knee. I will still show my child love, boundaries,
trust, discipline and respect. I will teach them manners and positively reinforce their good behaviors. I will teach them diversity so that they are able to confidently lead the next generation into a place of acceptance for all. I will nurture their hobbies and interests. I will guide them in making responsible choices. I will hug them through tantrums and tears. I will congratulate their successes. I will master the voices in characters of their favorite bedtime story. I will help them explore their surroundings. I will teach them the importance of checking each way before crossing the road. I will have stickers on hand for the potty training chart. I will make their favorite pudding on a Friday as a treat. They will have the most amazing costume for World Book Day. I will listen to their worries. I will comfort them through thunder storms. I will I will strive for the best for my child, just like any other parent.
With my wonderful boyfriend at my side to support our family unit the same way we support each other now, we will pick up on each other’s weak spots and support those gaps so that together we will make a team (and a pretty awesome one if I do say so myself).
So this is my public announcement. Please think twice before choosing to share your opinion with me and really think hard what impact it is likely to have. Imagine you feel pain with each and every baby announcement, shed tears over pregnancy test ads and have a constant anxiety from feeling judged when the topic arises or completely dismissed like it couldn’t possibly be an option. I would like you to imagine the slap in the face feeling when you’re told “at least you are being responsible” or “at least you are making the right decision” along with all the others I have mentioned. I am chronically ill, I am complex and I am disabled. I will make a heck of a lot of mistakes. Those two statements? They are not linked. I am going to make an awesome mother one day!
Lead photo courtesy of Thinkstock Images