How would you describe yourself? How would those close to you describe you?
I am a wife of one, a mother of two and I have mild Cerebral Palsy which means I walk a bit funny and have appalling balance. Technically, I am a disabled person. I am not in denial about this. I have been this way all my life. I wouldn’t have chosen it, but it is part of me and it always will be.
The point I am trying to make is that I don’t see myself as disabled. I know that I am, and sometimes I am painfully aware of the fact that my legs don’t work properly and I feel very frail at times and the pain can get me down. I just don’t see it as my defining characteristic and neither do those who know and love me.
I wanted to write down my experience of being a disabled mum. Some of the things people have said have been hurtful. If you see someone on the street who walks a bit differently, or they fall over, what do you do? Offer to help? Ignore it? People mostly mean well, but can be very awkward and patronising at times. Some are just rude. When I was pregnant, someone came up to me genuinely surprised that my pregnancy was a planned, happy event. She said, ‘Oh, I assumed it was a one night stand and you got caught out?!’
So, it is beyond comprehension that I could have someone who wants to date me, be with me, marry me and sleep with me? That if I were to get pregnant of course this would be a mistake? I was fuming. In fact, writing this and remembering it now I can feel my blood pressure rising.
Someone also helpfully asked how I would handle the bullying my daughter would inevitably suffer at school as the child of a mum who falls over with frustrating frequency. My daughter is 2. I will cross that bridge IF and when I have to.
I hope and pray that my children do not suffer as a result of my difficulties.
My pregnancies were difficult as a result of my CP but thankfully, I suffered and my children did not.
There are things I cannot manage very well. But with most things, you just adapt a way of working or you figure a way around things.
Growing up, I did get bullied a bit about my legs. It hurt. I would like to say I got over it but I think a more honest answer is you learn to ignore most of it and you process the rest deep down. In my case, I made up for my lack of physical speed by developing a quick tongue. I am writing this to ask you to stop and think when you next come across a person with any type of disability, whether they are a mum, or dad, or not. The disability is NOT all they are and it may well not be how they describe themselves.
Please don’t just see what they may not be able to do, see the whole person. Trust me, they will have overcome obstacles that they will never speak of and probably do so on a regular basis. Please remember that.
Anonymummy is The Motherload®’s anonymous blogging identity; she allows us to tell the stories which are too risky, or too painful to share in our own names. Anonymummy is written by a different author every time. If you have an experience to share via Anonymummy, you can email The Motherload® editor in confidence on firstname.lastname@example.org.