- By Barbara Davis -
In honor of the upcoming Mothers Day, I wanted to include a tribute to mothers with spinal cord injuries. Instead, I spent 2 hours searching the internet only to find voluminous scientific articles on pregnancy and SCI, and pages of articles devoted to quadriplegic parents –mothers and fathers—who are fighting for custody of their children just because they have a disability; not because they have done anything neglectful or abusive.
For many years I have worked with people with disabilities. Some of these were parents. Many of them displayed amazing adaptability and incredible love. There were also some who didn’t know how to be a parent. As a result, there were issues that had nothing to do with the disability.
The non-disabled parent population also comes in those who know how to parent effectively and those who don’t.
I would love to see the day come when I can search for tributes to mothers with disabilities and find some immediately. After all, the internet is loaded with Mothers Day tributes to non-disabled mothers.
It would also be wonderful if people would stop automatically assuming that a person with a disability cannot be a good parent because of the disability.
Being a good parent isn’t about whether you have hands to change a diaper with. There are all kinds of adaptations for that and any other parenting task. Being a good parent takes love, maturity, responsibility and flexibility, among other qualities. People with disabilities are totally capable of learning how to adapt the parenting tasks. They are equally capable of loving their children and keeping them safe, healthy and happy.
Children of parents with disabilities can and do grow up to be healthy, happy and well-adjusted. What better tribute is there that that?