Over the next several months I will be researching and writing about the concept of maternity, and how maternity for mothers with disabilities is reconceptualized when a mother is not able to independently parent their children.
Maternity is far more than birthing a child. Maternity encompasses rearing, loving, nurturing and caring for a child, a child born or adopted by the mother. The concept of maternity also includes raising a child. However, what does maternity look like when a mother is unable to be the primary figure nurturing, caring for and raising a child due to the mother’s disability?
I am not referring to mothers who use attendant care and other assistance to care for her child, but rather the mother whose disability prevents her from being able to parent her child. How do families reconceptualize maternity in that context. How are mothers involved in their children’s lives? How do the children view the mother in that context?
Please add your thoughts in the comments.
I attended the Society of Disability Studies conference that was held in the Denver Tech Center last week. I was pleased to see that there were a number of sessions addressing parents with disabilities. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these sessions were presented from the perspective of children of disabled parents, rather than from the parents themselves. A couple were presentations of interviews and dialogues between a child-academic and their disabled parent. Notably missing were the voices of parents in these sessions. This is not to say that there were not parents with disabilities presenting at the conference. A number of parents who are active in communities of disabled parents were at the conference, all of whom were presenting, but none were researching and writing about parenting with a disability. This is a voice that is notably absent in the field of disability studies.