I am not a perfect mother. My kids can be brats. I sometimes yell too much. My house looks like a tornado hit it almost every single day. So this won't be a blog solely about those precious moments you see on Mother's Day commercials with a beautifully coiffed woman snuggling her cooing baby to her. Motherhood is messy and wonderful at the same time. Then add a wheelchair to the mix.
I'm a full-time manual wheelchair user. I have been since I was two and a half. My awesome parents always encouraged me to do what I could do - which I did. I wasn't a sports star. I didn't break any records or discover new ways of doing things. I just lived my life as best as I could and didn't let people tell me I couldn't do something. I went to regular schools. I went to college for a while. I had jobs. Then I met my husband and a year later we decided we were going to try to have a baby.
And thus my odyssey began. I didn't see doctors very often at that point in my life. I saw them a lot when I was little and my disability was new. But after a certain time, my parents and I were sick of the constant round of doctors and physical therapist appointments that were only accomplishing the maintenance of my muscles but offering no hope of my walking ever again. Plus, in the late 70s, so very little advancements had been made in the realm of physical rehabilitation, let alone information available to doctors and parents about how disabilities and spinal cord injuries affected the daily lives of people, that my parents and I just dealt with what we were given and didn't keep up with the disability community or advancements in physical medicine. The few doctors my parents had approached about whether or not I would be able to bear children could only shrug their shoulders.
Time marched on and like any other young women, I started menstruating in my early teens. Both my mom and I took it as a sign that something was working down there, but in the back of our minds there was always doubt. And the doubt became concern when my husband and I were still not pregnant after trying for a year. We were almost at the point of trying infertility treatments when that wonderfully pink second line showed up on the pregnancy test.
I don't think for this post I'll go into my pregnancies because I could seriously write a whole book by itself about that. But suffice to say, that both pregnancy and motherhood have been a very rude awakening to someone who has always lived her life as if she weren't disabled. The only way I can explain it is like being disabled all over again. Your paradigm has to shift. You cannot do things they way did them before. So as a result you have to figure out new ways of doing almost everything. The one positive among what could seem like a whole slew of negatives is that you have this gorgeous child that is your very own. And they do one thing that sometimes seems so very hard to find from people if you have a disability - they love you unconditionally. Your child doesn't know you have a disability (well, at least not until later anyway). They don't care if your legs don't work or your eyes don't see, or your ears don't hear. They depend and love you just the same as if you were able-bodied. And they grow and adjust right along with you.
I've been a mother for six years now, or seven if you count the nine months I was pregnant with my oldest. I've learned so much in that time, and I've got a lot more learning to do. I have two awesome kids and expecting my third soon. I'm very aware that life is about to get super crazy. Probably even more crazy than I thought it would be, with a school-ager, a pre-schooler and an infant. I think this blog is an attempt to find the funny in all the craziness. Because really, eventually its all going to be funny to me. Life goes by so fast, and I'm starting to learn that my kids are growing up way too fast for my liking. So why not document how this all plays out and maybe learn something in the process.