Pregnancy and Childbirth With a Disability: Expression Through Poetry

Written by
an AbleThrive community member
Content via Maria Palacios
Source: 
Maria Palacios
Written by
an AbleThrive community member

Maria has captured the experience of being a pregnant woman and new mom with a disability in graceful poetic form. Her words explore the emotions all expectant moms feel and also provide the audience a glimpse of her own unique perspective.
 

The Miracle of Life


Being pregnant was

the happiest time of my life

(both times).

Finally,

my body was doing something

it was supposed to do –

something

I had been forced to believe

would never happen...

something

“normal.”

 

Pregnancy was

the most intimate love experience

of my life,

because there was another life

within my own.

Love doesn’t get

any more sacred or more beautiful than that.

I loved and cherished every minute of it,

and loved to watch my belly grow –

sometimes, it felt like, overnight –

when I could feel a twist, a kick...

a punch.

Boys will be boys,

even in the womb.

I should have known,

since I’ve always wished for sons

and wishes do come true.

 

two boys stand next to their mom who uses a wheelchair

Being pregnant was miraculous

in the physical form,

but for me, it was also about inclusion –

the chance to share a life experience

with able-bodied women,

because my body

was doing something

their bodies did.

My crippled body

could also bear life.

Yes, crippled women

can also have babies!

And by the way, that also means

we have sex,

and chances are, we do other things,

like cooking and cleaning

and all the mundane routines

that fill the lives of walking women.

 

Being pregnant gave me the chance

to share stories like that ... stories

of normality.

Pregnancy was my proof of life

as an average woman,

doing what women are known to do...

you know,

spit miracles out of our womb

and go back to work

as if nothing

happened.

 

Equality

is a double-edged sword.

People would take my word when I said

that I could do anything they can

but forget that to do that, I still need

the ramp, the wide entrance,

the parking spot,

the accessible transportation,

the apartment on the first floor,

the specially designed crib,

and every other invented thing

we ingeniously put together

in order to make things happen

as disabled parents

in an able-bodied world.

 

Looking back, I realize

I was not like other women.

I was not like other moms.

They could get lost in the crowd

after their babies are born,

while no matter how normal I wanted to feel,

I would always stand out.

And after the baby was born,

ableist questions went from, “How did you do it?”

to “How could you do it?” “How irresponsible

to bring a baby into this world –

a baby you cannot care for!”

I knew the magic of pregnancy goes away,

but I never expected ignorance

to hit me that way.

 

I held my babies in my arms

the minute I woke up

when the nurse brought them to me.

And I don’t care

what others may believe

about disabled moms:

The one thing I know for sure

is that seeing those babies

who had existed in my body

for nine months ...

was the most beautiful miracle

of my life.

Love at first sight.

There is nothing more normal

than a mother’s love.


Thank you to Maria Palacios for sharing her poetry with AbleThrive. Maria is a poet, author, spoken word performer, public speaker, professional presenter and workshop facilitator, polio survivor and disability rights activist, and a mother of two. Her work is spirited by her own woman experience and embraces and promotes self-acceptance, empowerment, and social justice surrounding people with disabilities, gender and sexuality, teen girls and women, and a wide spectrum of issues as they relate to diversity. Her hopeful message of pride is consistent throughout her raw and often sensual work. Known in the artistic world as The Goddess on Wheels, her multicultural background and passion for onstage performance have come to life through numerous events over the years.

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ParentingPregnancy and Childbirth