A modern motherhood?2 Comments
There is a group of mothers in our midst that modernity has simply passed by…
Should you find yourself in this circle, you will identify with the turning of life as a mother to a child with disabilities or special needs. It is often monotonous, hum-drum and turns relentlessly day-in-day-out.
It is a motherhood that lacks the modernity our contemporaries living in Western societies have come to take almost for granted. Unlike our emancipated sisters, we can only gaze at the freedoms they enjoy.
For us our version of motherhood is firmly stuck in the 1950s. Endless caring for children with needs often years younger than their chronological age; the bed-changing, hand-feeding, nappy-changing, washing, cleaning… the list is endless and with little or no chance of ever being over for many mothers like me. Often children with disabilities are unable to ‘give back’… They may be non-verbal, physically immobile, unable to connect emotionally, making the rewards of motherhood that much harder to uncover. But uncover it we do; it’s the small things, a look, a smile, trust, treasured all the more for being so hard won.
What we do not enjoy, as we continue to pass through motherhood unnoticed, hidden behind closed doors, are the freedoms like; a day off here and there, a paid job if we’d like, some financial freedom, a choice to be a stay-at-home mum or not, a visit to the cinema with our hubby, a holiday at the seaside, Christmas with the family, playdates with kids from school, ballet classes for our girls, football for our boys… normal stuff.
So much is off-limits. We exist in an opaque bubble, which obscures oppression and disadvantage. We are a disadvantaged, disenfranchised group. Through a lack of affordable, good-quality childcare, first-rate specialist education for our children, respite care and rights to flexible-working and support, we are forced into a lifetime of caring.
Distinctly un-modern, I’m sure you would agree. Hard to imagine this is going on in Britain today? We need to speak up, speak out. Not because it is only about work or our rights, but because it is about a society that does not value our contribution, recognise our sacrifice and support us, our children and our families. Society is allowing us to fade into a life that should be firmly in the history books.
Be proud of what you do for your children everyday, but ask also what you may dream of for yourself…