The Interview Services
MLU members answer five simple questions.
This is Kate. Kate is mummy to Mia who has just turned 2. Kate has had Rheumatoid Arthritis since her late teens and has more recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She works in admin for a local charity. I think you’ll agree... she’s a bit of a legend. 1. What are the silver linings of being a disabled mum?
I don't sweat the small stuff, facing challenges on most days has created a very resilient and empathetic me.
2. What needs to change to make life easier for disabled mums?
The perception of us - we don't all fit neatly into a little box.
3. What are the main difficulties you face as a disabled mum?
That my disability is mostly "invisible" on the superbad days I'm on crutches and you can see the pain in every step/shuffle. On bad days - I look the same as I do on a good day!
4. How can disabled mums be made to feel like part of the mainstream?
Make us part of the mainstream - make all schools accessible as standard. Ask the question - do you need us to do more so you can take part.
5. What makes you a brilliant mum?
That I'm her world - I'm everything that she needs me to be and she loves me almost as much as I love her.
This is Lena @ileftmyheartinjapan She’s 27 and was diagnosed with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita at birth. Lena is Norwegian and happily married to a Japanese man. They live in Norway and have a 2-year-old and baby #2 is due in August this year. Lena says, “Hunting for and reviewing parenting gear is my latest hobby!”
1. What are the silver linings? Being at home with my children, I know many mothers struggle with having to go back to work early.
2. What needs to change to make life easier for disabled mums? We need better access to and awareness about baby gear that's designed for disabled parents - and there needs to be more of it!
3. What are the main difficulties you face as a disabled mum? Feeling inadequate when I can't take my toddler out by myself or needing help with her when her activity needs are much higher than my energy and capacity.
4. How can disabled mums be helped to feel like part of the mainstream? We need to have baby gear marketed towards us, we need mothers in wheelchairs using nursing pillows, baby slings, etc. We need mothers with cp or muscular and congenital conditions in breastfeeding videos, advertising a stroller or advertising a carrying aid. We need mums who can't use their arms in ads for cradle cots designed to soothe and rock the baby or a hands-free bottle feeding solution. I'm personally so disappointed every time I see baby gear that would be great specifically for disabled mums marketed by and for non-disabled mums because it makes the entire product seem completely unnecessary and that's immediately going to be the first impression people have of it, and that's actually really harmful to new and already insecure disabled mums. I also really wish we'd be represented in tv shows, parenting books(like What to Expect), parenting podcasts, videos, magazines. Bottomline, we need to be visible in mainstream parenting society and by that normalised.
5. What makes you a brilliant mum? I'm raising independent children, not because I can't take care of them like other parents, but because my children have to learn how to climb their chair, bed, climb into my wheelchair, pick up items they've dropped and help pull themselves up
This is Oktober. She is a 45 year old single mum to an 8 year old boy.She has osteoarthritis in her hip, fibromyalgia, degenerative spinal disease, osteopenia, high bp, ibs, Ankylosing spondylitis and more recently had a pulmonary embolism with multiple blood clots which put her in hospital. She can't walk more than a few metres without pain so mobilises with either a stick, crutches, a rollator or a mobility scooter for longer trips.
1.What are the silver linings? She’s a hero. 1. Silver lining is my son is growing up aware of disability and learning skills at an earlier age.
2. What needs to change to make things easier? My ex husband is full of prejudice and tries to put me down when I can't sustain a full day entertaining our child alone and need to rest.
3. What are the main difficulties you face as a disabled mum? When I'm on my own without my boy if he's at school or staying at his Dad's I struggle to care for myself and most times I can't do things on my own.
4. How can disabled mums be helped to feel like part of the mainstream? Mainstream needs more education sometimes the fact that a dropped kerb with a ridge is not a dropped kerb, people blocking them, too heavy doors on disabled entrances, parking bays not close enough or not enough or non existent. However I have several wonderful friends and they know my struggles and often pass on to others thier thoughts.
5. What makes you a brilliant mum? Having a wonderful son helps me try to be brilliant for him. I keep going beyond the point where I should stop just for him. Although it's sometimes harder as he has ADHD and ODD.