Coping as a mother with a disability brings a completely unique dimension to motherhood. Let's face the facts - being a good, responsible, loving mother takes a lot of energy and time. Mothers don't get a practice session or any training in knowing how raise your child. You have to learn as you go and use your mistakes as wisdom. Add in a disability and you are lucky enough to have even more wisdom.
Every disability is different especially when it comes to what we can and cannot do for our children. As anyone with a disability knows, we learn how to adapt, change and create new ways of doing tasks. You can't hold your baby and rock them to sleep? OK, have you tried a bouncy seat that vibrates? I absolutely could not live without bouncy seats for both of my babies. I couldn't hold them, but I would have someone sit them in their bouncy seat and I'd get very close. I could talk to them, kiss them and make eye contact. I learned that it was certainly fine to do things in a whole new way as long as my baby was safe and loved.
Being a mother with a disability also means using your strengths at there absolute best. Our strengths can make our weaknesses not seem as apparent. I'm organized and try to foresee any problems or needs my children might have. I also have a vivid imagination so if I can't steer a toy train around my son's wooden track or jump rope with my daughter-I can create a story as they play and be completely present as they play. I can listen to their every word with love and respect. I can encourage their minds, dreams and aspirations. I can setup play dates and fun activities to create lifelong memories. I can be their biggest fan for the rest of my life. I can only hope that what I can do is far more important than what I cannot do for them.
Many people compliment my children positively and think that having a mom with a disability somehow transformed them into being perfect. My children are beautiful, intelligent, kind, funny, and awesome. But, they are still human beings as the rest of us and need guidance. Yes, they probably know the importance of accessibility and wheelchair repair more than the average person. However, my cerebral palsy doesn't consume their life and activities. They live life pretty much as they would regardless of my disability. They might have a broader understanding of differences, more responsible for their belongings because they know I won't pick it up, and be more helpful. They also have typical tantrums, get angry with me over normal things, argue with each other, and do all the normal kid things regardless of my capabilities.
Coping as a mother with a disability isn't too different than any other mother. At the end of the day, I worry if I loved them enough, spent time enough, and listened enough. Sometimes I feel down that I can't run with them, pick them up or just get in a car and take them on an adventure just them and me because I can't drive. But what I can't do as a mother will only push me to succeed in what I can do. At the end of the day, my children hug, kiss me and can't wait to spend another day together so I guess I'm doing a pretty good job.