When Eileen gave birth to her son Jacob, she had to defend her ability to parent almost instantly.
“I actually had to fight with social workers and pre-natal nurses … to prove that I was worthy of taking my own child home.”
Eileen was born with cerebral palsy (CP), and she’s had to challenge parenting stereotypes since she is now a mother with a disability. Once when she was out in public with Jacob and people would approach her and ask her questions like, “Is he yours?” They would also make statements praising Jacob for “putting up with someone in a wheelchair.”
But Eileen and her husband Ryan pushed forward through the looks and comments, and focused on raising their son who they describe as naturally helpful and respectful of others. Besides the life skills they taught him growing up, they also taught him about staying close to Eileen in public. “He always knew to walk right by my wheelchair, and we taught him traffic safety really early on,” shares Eileen.
“If I let people’s stereotypes upset me, I’d be crying in the fetal position everyday. I have to just get past it. … I think that people sometimes think that because my child has a parent with a disability that he’s deprived of things, that he isn’t physically active, and that he often has to make concessions for his mother because of the fact that I’m differently abled, and that’s not true.”
How have you challenged stereotypes as a parent with a disability? Let us know, and you could be featured on AbleThrive!