Last week, The Mighty published my piece, 10 Tips for Disabled and Interabled Couples Considering Having Kids, and I’ve so appreciated the kind, engaged responses I’ve received from different people.
When Michael and I got married, we didn’t really know any interabled couples (at least very well) who had been interabled at the time they got married and decided to have children.
In my family life major, I was discouraged to find that there was almost nothing at all about written parenting with a disability–not in scholarly journals, textbooks, or just about anywhere.
Online, most of the advice I found either went along the lines of either “You can do it! There’s nothing holding you back,” or, “Why would anyone with a disability have a child? That’s just signing them up for a horrible life.” That isn’t much of an exaggeration.
Neither is true. Disability isn’t a one size fits all kind of thing, but most disabilities will have an impact on parenting. For some people, it might be better not to be a parent. For others, having a disability means nothing more than finding new ways to get things done. For many people with disabilities, parenting probably would be best with some form of extra support.
That’s not a bad thing. Most parents are not truly self-sufficient anyway. But I think that is a message that is undersold to people with disabilities–either because they are told not to be parents at all, or because they are told they can do anything just like anyone else could do it.
We get cleaning help once a week, and we get a few hours of childcare help each day. For us, that’s what helps us have a really awesome, wonderful, functioning family. And I think it’s working really well. But it would be so much harder if we didn’t have those extra supports.
That’s not all that I write about here, but these are some things that have been on my mind.