#9 "I feel invisible."

When you feel like the world is not geared up for you, like your existence has not been acknowledged or planned for, it can make you feel a bit like you’re not really there. When people avert their eyes or talk over you, sometimes you feel like shouting, HELLO! I’M HERE. Sometimes you shuffle around with your head down, hoping not be noticed. Sometimes you get angry, sometimes you get frustrated. Mostly you’re just dealing with your own stuff and trying not to to dwell on what anyone else may or may not thinking. On occasions, I am so caught up with what I’m doing (shepherding children around the shops, snack management, being bullied in to buying plastic tat etc.) that I forget. It is often at this moment that someone sees fit to point it out to me. A well timed “Oooooh, are you in pain?” or, “What happened to your legs?” is certainly enough to bring you crashing back down to your disabled reality.

 At the time I generally smile, nod and drag my kids away from the person. Later my inner monologue is full of all the self-assured, badass put downs I wish I had said. “Please don’t other me. I have MS but as you can see I’m awesome and would very much like to be treated as such,” or on my less patient days, “ What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with your personality?”

 Whilst I am forever astounded by the need some adults have to acknowledge the physical attributes of other adults; (anyone who has ever been pregnant will recall the, “You’re HUGE comments... cheers,) there is another side to this. Disabled women frequently experience feelings of being invisible, severely under represented and ignored. 

This reality is symptomatic of a wider societal attitude towards disability that relegates disabled people to second class citizens and makes all manner of assumptions about us. 

I have felt this way. I have also, on the flip side, felt like I stick out like a sore thumb, like I  am ultra, intensely visible. I feel eyes turn to look, I feel every gaze be it one criticism, pity, empathy or a coincidental glance in my direction, perhaps admiring my kids’ shoes or wondering where I get my hair cut. I feel them all with accuse sensitivity. 

I am undoubtedly projecting my insecurities on to others. What arrogance and self importance I have to believe that everyone is so preoccupied with me and my physical appearance that they can hardly look where they are going!? 

The truth is, some people will ignore us, some people cannot face the uncomfortable truth that disability could happen to them at any time. Some people will stare, some will notice. Some will criticise, mock,  pity, empathise. There are, however, many more people who just see a human, doing human things. I know i need to start giving others the credit that I would like to receive; the credit for being one of the good guys who yes may notice, but will not judge.


Sally x

 

 

#8 "Attention Brummies."

This was how I began my call to the Birmingham based mums of Mums Like Us - a network for disabled mothers. I wanted to know their experiences of Birmingham’s top family attractions. I got an overwhelming response. They told me what they wanted from family fun in Brum and what they didn’t want, where they rated and where they didn’t. Mums Like Us members have a very wide range of physical and mental disabilities. Some are wheel chair users, some use crutches, some have visual impairments, some have hidden disabilities. Between us therefore, we have a range of accessibility requirements. Some of us have tiny newborn babies and others have teenagers or even adult children. Our requirements are vastly different but we have common expectations regarding the willingness of attractions to accommodate us and our families. We do not want to be made to feel awkward. We do not want to be patronised. We want to be able to take our kids to the same places as everyone else and to have great family days out. In this blog, I have brought together the anecdotal experiences of Mums Like Us members and the official policies provided by five of Birmingham’s top family attractions. I have done this for Family Fun in Brum in the hope of providing a useful summery of how these attractions cater for disabled parents and their families

·         THE NATIONAL SEALIFE CENTRE

The Sealife Centre’s website states that it has a full access guide.  The link to said access guide is, at time or writing, ironically inaccessible. You can however, find brief details of the facilities offered at The Sealife Centre here.  The site explains the key points for disabled users. It states that it has disability access throughout and disabled toilets available. It is wheelchair friendly (although only ten wheelchair users can be there at any given time.)  The Sealife centre allows assistance dogs and has a free  carer ticket available for every disabled customer.

In my personal experience, I have found the Sealife centre to be an enjoyable day out for the children. It can, however, be overwhelmingly busy. Toilets are few and far between. The layout can feel claustrophobic in places.

We like...

“Great facilities including different level viewing windows. Once inside is very accessible” (MLU member)   

“Areas in 4d cinema not just for wheelchairs but also seats without mechanics for those with sensitivities etc” (MLU member)

We don’t like...

“Floors uneven as they want it to look like rock and some of the pathways are really steep... plus you can't take a wheelchair through the shark tunnel so you miss the best bit” (MLU member)

“Paths to get to it a bit complicated due to based by canal.” (MLU member)

Toilets are few and far between.

Very little seating for rest opportunities.

Cen be overwhelmingly busy.

·         CADBURY WORLD

On the face of it, Cadbury World appears to be doing everything right. The website has a detailed access guide and they have options for the visually and hearing impaired available. Thee website states that they have accessible toilets throughout the attraction. It is impressive that they have available a “state of the art Changing Places facility...The facility includes rails and support arms, height adjustable sink unit and height adjustable changing bed, automatic toilet, ceiling lift and modesty screen.” The problem with Cadbury World from my own experience is ALL THE OTHER people. In high season the place is absolutely chocca (pun intended,) and getting around is difficult to say the least.

We like...

This place has made a mega effort with its facilities. The list on the website is definitely impressive.

Accessible toilets and changing units.

Guides for visually and hearing impaired customers.

Dedicated baby feeding room.

We don’t like...

“ Was a nightmare with pushchair few years back as very busy and hard to get to exhibits, we had to abandon pushchair a few times”

There are sections of the attraction that you cannot take a push chair to. If you are unable to carry your baby or toddler this makes these areas inaccessible.

Little seating around for rest opportunities.

Often overwhelmingly busy.

·         BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY

Birmingham museum and art gallery has a very detailed and recently updated access guide. I’m impressed by the fact that they have lift access to all floors, full wheelchair access throughout and that they have accessible toilets on all floors. They also have wheelchairs to ‘borrow,’ (not hire!) - it is rare to see places like this pass up an opportunity to make money from us. They allow assistance dogs in all areas including the magnificent Edwardian tea rooms. The website also states - “All of our audio visual displays are subtitled and there are several large print gallery interpretations around the building.” This is excellent for those with sensory impairments.

 

We like...

“Birmingham museum and art gallery is fab if you are in a wheelchair.” (MLU member)

Plenty of toilets and accessible baby change units.

Large print and audio-visual displays.

Lovely tea rooms for a rest.

We don’t like...

Everyone is pretty happy with this one! Well done Birmingham museum and art gallery!

·         DRAYTON MANOR THEM EPARK

As our closest theme park, I feel like Drayton Manor deserves a mention here. The best thing provided by Drayton Manor is the, ‘easy access system.’ This allows customers who have provided adequate proof of disability (PIP letter, blue badge etc.) to use a separate entrance on to rides avoiding the lengthy queues. This makes visiting the park much easier and more relaxing for disabled users. The park website has an access guide which explains that this system can be used up to ten times a day and by up to five people. accompanying the person with the disability. The downside of this is that you have to go on the ride! This lead to me on some stomach churners when I went with my daughter in the Easter holidays! The website states that not all rides are suitable for all people. This is due to concerns for public safety. Drayton Manor offers a discounted carer ticket for each disabled customer. This is not available to book online and it can be difficult to get through to the booing telephone line.

We like...

Large family change unit

Accessible toilets

“Drayton manor was fantastic, the staff were brilliant and like most theme parks had facilities in place with pass access.” (MLU member) 

Very friendly and helpful staff. My daughter lost a welly boot and a member of staff went off to find it for me. I felt this was above and beyond the call of duty!

The excellent ‘easy access system.’

Plentiful blue badge parking very close to the entrance.

What we don’t like...

No toilets in the cafés.

Long waiting times if you don’t want to go on a ride.

Some stairs around the park. Disabled access is not always clearly signposted.

Some rides inaccessible.

·         The Think Tank Science Museum.

The Think Tank is a really good day out with children and there is absolutely loads to keep them entertained. Like most attractions, it gets very busy in the holidays so getting there early makes a big difference. The website has a fairly comprehensive access guide which is useful. The attraction is, ‘fully accessible,’ with lifts and ramps throughout. They have an adult change facility with a hydraulic changing table and accessible toilets / baby change on each level. (according to the website, although I struggled to find them and ended up in a queue.)  The Think Tank offers a free ‘assistant,’ ticket to accompany all disabled customers. They also offer guides for those with sensory impairments. The planetarium has space for up to 6 wheelchairs.

We like...

Plentiful seating opportunities

Guides for sensory impaired customers.

Educational resources for children.

We don’t like...

Crowded and  small café with limited seating and long queues.

Difficult to locate toilets - feels like a bit of a rabbit warrn1

 

I am very aware that there are many more major attractions in Birmingham and hope to write a follow up to this at some point with more of those attractions detailed. I’d love to hear your experiences of family attractions as a disabled parent. Please contact me via the website www.mumslikeus.org and if you want to find reviews of attractions written by disabled people for disabled people check out https://www.euansguide.com.

Sally x

www.mumslikeus.or

insta: (for everyone.) @mums_like_us

facebook: (exclusively for disabled mums.) - search Mums Like Us - a network for disabledA mothers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#7 "At the age of 27, I became seriously visually impaired overnight."

There is an advert on tv at the moment that you might have seen. In it, Trevor Mcdonald states that, “we are defined by what we see.” Each time I see this ad my blood boils on behalf of the two million people in the UK alone who have a “significant” sight loss. (RNIB) 

Losing a substantial amount of my own vision in 2008 was utterly life changing and continues to have the biggest impact on my life of all my MS symptoms. 

Since my eldest daughter started school I have felt the pressure to make new ‘mum friends.’ The school gate gang can feel  impenetrable enough for any slightly nervous mum but when faced with visual impairment there’s a new layer of awkwardness. 

My visual impairment is not obvious. Having lived most of my life sighted, I am adept at making fake eye contact. My vision loss is also central rather that peripheral, meaning that I don’t use a cane or an assistance dog. 

I can’t recognise faces until I’m what can only be described as uncomfortably close! I get to know a person’s gait and body shape if I know them well which allows me to recognise some people from more of a distance. I fear many people think I’m just incredibly rude or more than a little strange when I either ignore them all together or smile inanely at everyone hoping I might know some of recipients. 

My visual impairment has caused some good moments, like plunging my fingers in to a bowl of humous at a bbq thinking it was peanuts but on the whole, it’s a pain in the arse. 

Visual impairment has taken away my ability to drive. Sending back my license was a real low point. Although I tried to make light of it by suggesting to my ophthalmologist that I could sell it on ebay, he didn’t laugh. 

I have become better at just saying I can’t read something. I used to just take a stab in the dark at form filling. I used to pay for goods without knowing how much I was spending. Now I’m ok to say to staff in shops and restaurants that I can’t see. It’s a lot harder, however, in social situations, like the school gate. This is something I need to work on. 

I know it’s just an advert, but to say we are defined by what we see suggests that we cannot experience the fullness of life with limited  senses. We feel our experiences, our relationship and our surroundings much more than we see them or hear them. We feel them from within, no matter how our physical self perceives them.

 

 

Sally x

#6 “What are the connections between physical and mental health? I feel like this is something we should be talking about".

Three months ago I left my work for a medical appointment. I have not returned. I was mid way through a crippling MS relapse. My physical health was at its lowest since diagnosis. It was, however, a genuine concern for my mental health that triggered the drastic decision to leave my job.

 

A GP had said to me, “work is good for your mental health, until it’s not.” This sentence rang in my ears for weeks. I was having a lot of time off with illness and appointments. I had begun to feel I was doing my job in the time I was not busy managing my health. The two no longer felt compatible. I was stressed and anxious about this. It made me feel weak, less than enough. One evening,  I attempted to do some work. I wanted to mark some exam papers and check my emails... things i had been doing (with the help of magnification equipment for my visual impairment,) routinely for years. The relapse had hit my eyes badly. I couldn’t focus on the writing. As I began to look at my computer I  started to panic. I couldn’t remember any of the websites I used, any of my passwords or logins, I didn’t recognise the names of my colleagues. I don’t think my physical health has ever frightened me as much as that did. My mind did not feel on my side. I cried and shook and eventually crawled in to bed and slept, exhausted. 

 

There are well researched links between MS and many other physical health (particularly neurological) conditions and mental health. Many people suffer with depression and anxiety as a direct symptom of their physical health condition.  

 

When I brought this issue up with the Facebook and Instagram communities I discovered that there are much less well documented connections. 

 

A widely discussed connection was that between emotional trauma and physical health, including people whose physical health began to deteriorate at the point of that trauma. I was interesting to read that the connections were not necessarily, as I had thought, physical ill health being the cause of mental ill health but vice versa. One woman explained that her physical health was misdiagnosed as it was 'blamed' on her mental health struggles. Others described how their anxiety and depression lead to their issues with, for example, digestion and nutrition. Another described the breakdown she suffered due to agonising SPD (Symphysis pubis dysfunction) during pregnancy. This is, of course, all anecdotal evidence, but it is evidence nonetheless. 

 

It seems to me that the two sides of this health coin are intrinsically connected. When our bodies suffer, our minds suffer too, and this is often true both ways.  The feeling of weakness I described earlier is something we are conditioned to avoid. As women and particularly as disabled women we face an expectation that we should be strong and that we should ‘overcome,’ our difficulties. We should power on and keep going no matter what. We should not let our disabilities affect us mentally. I have definitely been guilty of presenting this view to the world. Generally it helps me to keep as optimistic as possible. It is, however, essential that we acknowledge the connections and that we learnt how to talk about physical health and mental health together. 

 

Sally x

#4 - “A little bit of self care is needed I think.”

I think we all know we ought to find time for ourselves to rejuvenate in whatever way works for us. That might be exercise, meeting a friend for a coffee (or a gallon of wine.) Whatever we do, some time away from the needs of everyone else is definitely a good thing. As mothers, we sometimes feel our job is to look after everyone else and keep them happy. I have recently discovered, however, that you can’t please everyone all of the time, particularly your children! 

I have read and heard a lot about the concept of ‘emotional load,’ or ‘emotional labour.’ I have interpreted this to mean the pressure mothers tend to put themselves under to try to keep everyone happy and make everything perfect. The truth is though, that we all have an emotional load, male or female, with or without children. We all have that internal to do list that seems to grow each time we tick something off it. I do believe, however, that some of us are better than others at ignoring the list for a couple of hours and taking some time to ourselves. Personally I find that my list of things to do is running through my head even when I am out walking, or meeting friends. But at least it gives me space to prioritise and relax a little. 

I get told all the time by family and friends to rest. Sometimes I can and do but sometimes I just can’t help myself from thinking about the list! I have to take myself somewhere where I can’t do any of it! I don’t think that it’s unfair I should do these things as I am at home a lot more than my husband and he works very hard. I do however, struggle with the wider societal idea that women should do these things in their leisure time. We all need a balance. The constant emotional load can be surprisingly tiring.

I am more aware of these types of issues by the day.  When I recently found myself complaining with real passion about Daddy Pig’s man-splaining, I started to think about how motherhood and feminism have come hand in hand for me. Feminism is an important part of my life and my feminist outlook has grown alongside my learning how to become a mother and my learning how to live as a disabled woman. I think all women have a daily struggle against prejudice and discrimination. There is then a specific struggle for mothers to deal with. For disabled mothers there is then this extra layer of discrimination and prejudice. Standing up to this, changing attitudes, being generally badass, whilst trying to please people all the time, often being very successful in a career and bringing up strong happy kids... no wonder we all need the occasional break! 

We have two possible meet ups coming up for Mums Like Us. This just might be your chance for a bit of respite and time for you! The first is the Mums Like Us discussion group at the Women of the World festival at London’s Southbank. This is on Saturday 10th March. The second is at the NAIDEX disability living show at Birmingham NEC where we’ll be in the networking area. Details of these two events can be found on the MLU events page.

I’d like to say that I have written this whilst drinking a coffee by myself in a cafe. It has been excellent time to myself. And now I have the energy I need to go and tick a load of stuff off my to do list! 

Sally x

#3 “Did anyone else fall pregnant when their situation wasn’t ideal?”

Wow. What a question? This Mums Like Us member provoked a huge and varied response with her post about a much wanted pregnancy that turned up at an unexpected and less than ideal time in her life.

The overwhelming response was of support and empathy. Not one mum responded by saying, “oh no, my pregnancies came at the perfect times!” Is this because we all had bad situations or because there really is no ideal time to fall pregnant?

Speaking personally, my first daughter was planned and longed for. We had found it easy to get pregnant but had a heartbreaking miscarriage along the way. By the time that little blue line made its appearance I was desperate to be pregnant. But no, it wasn’t ‘ideal.’ I was getting used to life with MS and was about to turn it all upside down. It was very daunting.

By the time we had number two, the sacrifices were greater. By this time I was on medication that had kept me stable for three years. I was told I would need to come off it when pregnant. My MS had progressed significantly since I became pregnant with the first time, having had a major relapse when she was six months old. I needed a lot of physio and couldn’t work after 30 weeks. A couple of times during that second pregnancy my hips gave way and sent me crashing to the floor without warning. I had bad pelvic pain plus all the usual pregnancy symptoms, (and it really did feel like I got them ALL!) In short, I was a miserable cow for nine long months.

I had, however, wanted this pregnancy with a yearning that far outweighed how I’d felt before conceiving with my first. By the time my eldest was 2, I was constantly thinking about her potential sibling. I’d sit on trains in rare moments of peace, thinking about names, picturing their little face and imagining our complete family of four. I became, to be honest, a little obsessed. This decision was big. It was a risk to my health and my sanity. We were scared of upsetting the balance of our little trio. But we went for it, and once she arrived, we never looked back.

I have heard people be terribly judgmental about the choices of others to have children. Why would you have a(nother) baby when you’re too old / disabled / unhealthy / poor / unhappy / unstable / single etc etc etc? If the people who make these judgments have perfect lives I’d be very surprised. Any woman who has felt that yearning, day dreaming longing for a child will know that if you are lucky enough to be able to, you just do it, and you deal with the obstacles.

I am pro choice. I believe in the rights of women to make choices about their lives and their bodies. Pregnancy is often hard, and for disabled women it can bring additional difficulties and sacrifices. I don’t believe anyone should go through that if it’s not what they want. But if they’re hoping for ideal, I fear this may be an unrealistic dream. It’s not ideal to have a tiny human stamping on your bladder while you’re trying to sleep. It’s not ideal to have piles and thrush and chaffing and the fear peeing yourself if you do a sneeze or cough of magnitude. It’s not ideal to suffer with the self esteem problems, depression, insomnia and anxiety that so often accompany pregnancy and motherhood. These things aren’t ideal in any circumstances. But the great thing about women, is they can do it. They’re built to do it. And even when it’s bloody hard, they get it done.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you’ll join me in wishing for a very happy and successful pregnancy for the lovely lady who let me use her story as inspiration for this blog.

Sally x

#2 OMG! HOW DO YOU COPE? YOU POOR THING!

Some days, just getting through the day as a disabled mother can feel like climbing a series of hills. The people around us can help us navigate these hills or they can create obstacles in our paths.

Mums Like Us member Beth was doing her supermarket shopping this month with her young son in tow. Beth is a hugely proud and adoring mother. She has multiple disabilities and is in a wheelchair. A stranger said this to her, “OMG! How do you cope? You poor thing!” Beth calmly told the stranger that she was coping perfectly well thank you and continued singing to her son, “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey.” Was this person helping Beth up the hill, or was she placing an obstacle in her path?

My initial reaction when I read Beth’s post about this comment was anger. I was angry that she might have felt patronised and singled out whilst doing a basic task.

But many Mums Like Us commented in a wholly positive way, suggesting that we should hail kindness and helpfulness. It is the rude, critical and offensive comments we should concern ourselves with and vow to fight against every day. My anger subsided but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the stranger’s comment was somewhat patronising, even if it was well meant.

So how should you speak to a disabled mum with her kids? Do you need to speak to her at all? Here are my thoughts…

  1. Please don’t show pity, even if you feel it! The mum you are talking to may be doing things differently to you but she is doing it! She is a woman to be admired. She is showing some serious ability right there!
  2. Ask if you can help, don’t just wade in and help. Your motivations might be perfect and kind but she could well have a very carefully balanced system going on. You don’t want to throw her off balance!
  3. You don’t need to pretend she’s not disabled. But please don’t ask her how she’s coping! If you wouldn't say it to another mum, don’t say it to her! We all have days when we feel like we are not coping. Motherhood is hard. For everyone.
  4. Finally, if you are the kind to say it anyway, smile and tell her her kids are gorgeous. You can’t go wrong.

The Mums Like Us community frequently discusses comments that are made about us, our lives and our disabilities. We talk about the occasions we have been ignored, talked about in earshot, patronised or insulted. It is not ok that we have almost all experienced this to some extent. However, we are just as likely, if not more so, to talk about the wonderful people who make our lives easier and happier. We talk about the kindness of strangers who make our days by acting with compassion and respect. But above all, we talk about our family and our friends. These are the people who give us the strength to remain polite and firm when we are put down. These are the people who know our ability. These are the people who help push us up the hills, sometimes literally but always metaphorically.

Thank you to Beth for giving me permission to discuss her post in this blog.

Sally x

#1 — “So, I’m planning to start a blog.”

This is the new blog by me, Sally Darby, founder of Mums Like Us — a network for disabled mothers. Thank you for taking the time to look! I hope you like it.

Mums Like Us is a Facebook group. You can find it here — https://m.facebook.com/groups/467609133571204 I created the group in April of this year. Since I had my first daughter in 2013, I had scoured the internet for the experiences of mums like me. I had found a huge number of brilliant mums both online and personally whose help and support in this whole mothering business had been truly invaluable. But where, I wondered, were the other mums who were doing this while living with disability? I cannot be the only one. Eventually, in March 2017, I found myself in a session at the Women of the World festival at London’s Southbank on disability. Two of the disabled women on the panel talked about their children. Here they are, I thought. These are the women who will know where I can find some support, some community. So I asked the question and was met with a surprising response. It seemed, and I continue to hope I’m wrong about this, that there was no space online for disabled mothers to share experiences, seek support and advice from each other and to be positive about doing this! I knew I wasn’t the only one. There are loads of disabled mums out there. They are parenting bloody well, whilst dealing with and living with some extra challenges. I felt that these mums might feel like me. They might want a place to talk with Mums Like Us. So that was how it started.

I was completely able bodied for 26 years before I became seriously visually impaired overnight. Three years later, I was diagnosed with MS and have subsequently experienced mobility problems. Coming to terms with the changes this brought to my life was not easy. I have often heard people call me “stoic” and “positive,” but in truth it was very hard. Having kids had, however, always been part of my life plans. My husband and I decided to go ahead and try to have children. It was not a decision we took lightly and there were many factors to be considered. I was aware, even then of the criticism I might face. I still believe there is much judgement and ignorance regarding the ability of disabled people to parent. The last four years have thrown me all the challenges you’d expect for any mum. My kids are my world and I parent them to the very best of my ability, as we all do. Sometimes it’s hard, but mostly it’s awesome. The world is full of mums doing it in very different circumstances. Single, married, gay, straight, old, young. We are all just mums doing our best.

Mums Like Us provides a supportive community for disabled mums, mums to be and those considering being mums. It is a space we can say, “this is shit,” but also, “this is amazing,” without fear of judgement. This I hope is also a place we can share resources, ideas and support for each other.

And now, I am starting this blog with the hope of achieving the following:

  1. To spread the word about the Facebook group. Mums Like Us is a lovely, supportive, optimistic, touching, inspiring network of Mums from all over the place. These are all Mums with disabilities sharing their experiences and advising each other on how to best navigate the minefield of parenting, with the additional challenges of disability. I hope eventually this blog will help spread news of this group to more Mums Like Us, maybe spur some brilliant Dad to create the undoubtedly needed ‘Dads Like Us,’ and with any luck, reach some people without disabilities and make them think about the experiences of disabled parents.
  2. To highlight some of the many important issues that are discussed on the group. This blog is anecdotal. I am not a researcher. I will not be quoting facts and figures at you or expressing my political views. I will not be reading mountains of books to intellectually stimulate you ( I have two kids under 5 and a job. I hardly have time to read the Chinese takeaway menu.) I will, however, be sharing the experiences of real women and the discussions that those experiences have raised. I might sometimes get a bit ranty or angry or sad but I hope to also show the immense joy, humour and positivity that I see on the group. I will start each post with a quote from the discussions on the group page. That quote will form the basis of the subject matter for the blog. I will talk about my personal experiences and those of others when I have received their permission to do so.
  3. Finally and perhaps most importantly, to generate a conversation. Mums Like Us is amazing. It is disabled mums supporting each other. But I sometimes think the conversation needs to extend beyond that group. High street retailers should be selling prams with wheel chair adapters, soft plays should be accessible, you shouldn’t have to crowd fund a cot you can put your baby in if you have a disability that prevents you from doing it with a ‘normal’ cot. People shouldn’t be asked if their kids are theirs, or patted and congratulated for leaving the house (true stories!) The message needs to get out there that disabled people do have sex, do procreate, do give birth, do have brilliant kids and bring them up like the absolute superstars they are. I am not suggesting for one minute that the general population is ableist or ignorant. But I do think this conversation is pretty muted. I’d like to turn up the volume.

So I hope this gives a flavour of what is to come. I am very nervous but excited at the prospect of writing a blog. I am not, and have never been a writer but I have found that now I have the passion to do it anyway! Thanks again for reading and see you in two weeks!

Love,

Sally x