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ATTITUDES.... ATTITUDES - towards disabled people having children.

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Messages: 1 - 23 of 23
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by PurplePineapple (U14142122) on Thursday, 22nd October 2009

    I've been doing a bit of thinking today..... At the organisation I am involved with (which supports disabled people who are parents - that is disabled people who have children, rather than the parents of disabled children....) disabled parents are at the very heart of what we are and what we do..... HOWEVER...
    all of us who are involved or are disabled parents ourselves are of the opinion that disabled people who choose to have children should be supported to do that.

    We know that many people in society are STILL of the opinion that disabled people shouldn't have children (cause God forbid, that means we have to have SEX!!!) and some are even less understanding when it comes to disabled people requiring a bit of help to be a Mum or Dad.

    SO, here's my thinking, and I'd be interested to see what others feel.....

    40 years ago (or less) disabled people were much more marginalised - segregated from the rest of society, placed into "special schools". They didn't get out into the community much, let alone be expected to have a relationship, get married or hold down a paid job!

    Do some people in this day and age still think that disabled people SHOULDN'T have children? Particularly if they require support and help themselves in order to live independently? We have been made aware of social workers supporting disabled people who have this view!!!!

    No one has ever raised this as an issue with me - but then I am a disabled parent (ouch!)

    Is having shildren and being supported to care for them as we would like to a "luxury"??

    I'm interested to spark a bit of debate around this whole thing about "attitudes", as for all we know, within our Charity - Disabled Parents Network - there may be a whole lot more work we could and should be doing around changing those negative attitudes?

    I'd be interested to know if you've ever had the debate with someone? Have you ever been told outright that you shouldn't have had children because you "are unable to look after yourself"??

    Report message1

  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by MrsWobbly (U13945220) on Thursday, 22nd October 2009

    Having children is a luxury whether disabled or not as bringing up children costs a small fortune.

    I know some people are against it if the disabled people are expecting all of this support for free (paid for by the government)

    I know there is lots of discussion about young girls getting pregnant to get benefits and a house etc etc and not contributing to society. It is seen that they are just freeloading.

    I have always been of the opinion that if you can afford to have children then have them whatever your circumstances. If you are expecting the goverment to pay to bring them up then don't.

    I am disabled and I don't see any difference in paying a babysitter so I can go out, or paying someone to take my kids to school because I cannot drive. I would not however have children if I could not afford to put a roof over their heads or provide them with the things they would need.

    I guess what I'm saying is that disability is not the important bit, it's if you can afford it.

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by PurplePineapple (U14142122) on Friday, 23rd October 2009

    Hi Mrs Wobbly, interesting reply.

    I'd just like to make clear that when I talk about "support" I'm not talking about financial support, but support with the physical and practical aspects of being a parent.

    So, for example, a physically impaired parent may not be able to get their toddler to toddler group without the support to do that, or a Deaf parent may not be able to help their child with reading practice, etc.

    Just wanted to make that clear for any readers of my original post!

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Ironic John (U13895591) on Saturday, 24th October 2009

    There is a lady who I have known for over thirty years now who has CP when as a teenager in the 1960's she was told that she should not expect to live a normal life should never marry or have children as this would be beyond her ability she took no notice now in her fifties she has three grown up children a grand daughter and a great grand daughter she has also fostered over seventy children.

    So I would say that if anyone says that being disabled disqualifies you as a parent then they are wrong and should think again..

    regards John

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by darrowsgirl (U14128133) on Sunday, 25th October 2009

    The only thing that really matters to bringing up children successfully is your relationship with that child. If your child is securely attached, feels loved, nurtured and is given safe and consistent boundaries then other difficulties pale into insignificance. It is the relationship that determines the child's future emotional wellbeing and their potential to be a happy fulfilled adult. Parental disability need not be a barrier to any of this.
    So, if physical or financial obstacles can be overcome, don't give in.

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 5.

    Posted by DeliriumFish (U2951100) on Monday, 26th October 2009

    I agree with darrowsgirl, my parents had plenty of money to bring me up with and they were abusive and probably are the source of my mental health problems now. Being able to love and care for your child is more important than money. Of course on the other hand what about mental health problems as a disability? I would love to have children but my mums mental health problems and the affect it's had on me keeps me from it-I don't want to pass the same things on. I think everyones individual circumstances have to be considered, I think it's more important that the child is planned, wanted and prepared for and the parent has the support they need in these preparations, whether they are disabled or not.

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by darrowsgirl (U14128133) on Monday, 26th October 2009

    Mental health problems are as diverse as physical problems - so it's not really helpful to generalise about them either.
    Your mother's behaviour to you may not have been part of her illness (obviously I have no way of knowing you circumstances), in which case your abuse perhaps came from something else in her or your dad's make-up. Mental illness alone (with one or two very specific exceptions) does not turn people into abusers.
    And even if you have 'inherited' mental ill health as a result, it doesn't make you into your mother. Your own experiences have shaped you and they are unique to you.

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 7.

    Posted by DeliriumFish (U2951100) on Monday, 26th October 2009

    of course, sorry I didn't mean to personalise things and get off topic, I realise that mental health problems in themselves do not cause people to be abusers. I was just trying to bring mental health problems into consideration because I think they complicate things more than just adapting things to enable a physically disabled person to be a parent. My main point was that I believe that people can be parents if they can provide a loving and stable home, regardless of financial situation, disability etc, and that they should be supported to do that. Sorry if I put this across wong.

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by darrowsgirl (U14128133) on Monday, 26th October 2009

    No need to apologise! I was concerned that you felt maybe you couldn't be a good enough parent just because of your mental health. It does'nt necessarily follow, that's all

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Otter25 (U14189455) on Tuesday, 27th October 2009

    I think that this view does persist in certain areas of the community. I have picked kids up from school and had groups of mothers discussing the fact that I am with comments like "that should not be allowed" and " you know their grow to be just like her" which is horrific.

    Some people are still astonished to learn that we can have children, do have children and bring them up successfully. I have had to deal with "I won't put you in that catagory dear as you won't have any children will you"

    Last year, two friends of mine who are married and blind were asked at an ante-natal class if they had undertaken genetic councilling against having children and if they had, what had gone wrong!!!

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by RainbowWheels (U6543338) on Wednesday, 28th October 2009

    Oh goodness! I can just imagine the comments and looks i'm going get at the school gates! I'm a lesbian wheelchair user lol.

    smiley - magic

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by polycarpuk (U13937464) on Tuesday, 3rd November 2009

    I am a disabled parent. We have been subjected to a Social Services check on whether we were adequate parents. (Passed with flying colours, but it keeps coming up and being fended off by one of our Social Workers).

    We also have found it almost impossible to get any support whatsoever. There just is no money in the system at all to provide any support for me being a carer to my son, to the point where my wife has said she feels like a single parent at points.

    We have had some criticism, but more related to my age than my disabilities (I was 50 when my son was born).

    The general attitude has been just disbelief. Dozens of variations on, we don't cater for, we haven't any system for, you're very unusual you know, have you tried X dept. as we don't have responsibility for. It is very disheartening to know that the systems, Social Services, Housing, Disabled Transport etc, just don't acknowledge that I have produced a child. A very fit, healthy, bright, active child., who deserves better.

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 12.

    Posted by mahtnev (U13396030) on Tuesday, 3rd November 2009

    have you contacted disabled parents network

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by stupidvetty (U14222516) on Wednesday, 18th November 2009

    don't you know, disabled people don't need friendhsips, or social lives, let alone relationships, or anything near a family!

    i'm 23, but this is definitely the way I feel, and everyone has always treated me this way. I have never had a single friend, even at school, i'm disabled and so don't need that kind of thing!

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 14.

    Posted by PurplePineapple (U14142122) on Thursday, 19th November 2009

    Ha haa stupidvetty! Yeah, I agree! Blimey, the thought that we might even have a sex life - god forbid!

    I think the attitudes of some social care professionals is that it's ok for us to have support with getting up, washed, dressed, fed and toiletted, but anything more than that is a luxury! So we are made to feel "grateful"....

    Disabled people often make better parents. They take life at a slower pace (well, most of them!), have to have a routine (which children like!) and have more time for cuddles and stories which is often what a child would choose over the latest computer game or video.

    In able-bodied families, often both parents work long hours, have hectic social lives and little time left for quality time with their children and parenting.

    In fact, why don’t we question able-bodied people’s ability to be good parents? When we read so much in the press about failing families and disruptive children, perhaps some disabled parents could teach them a thing or two!

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by nogoelbow (U14234078) on Wednesday, 25th November 2009

    I am able bodied and a good parent thanks very much, I have plenty of time for my children and they are not neglected while I persue my hectic able bodied social life, or dumped off with others while I work long hours.

    I work with disabled children every day as well as disabled parents whom are capable loving and brilliant parents overall, they also have jobs and social lives just like most other people disabled or not and are still the best people to raise their kids. I agree attitudes need to change, people need to open their eyes and minds and accept that whilst someone may be physically challenged it does not mean they are automatically incapable.

    I just don't think making sweeping generalisations about able bodied people is the answer, how does that make your attitudes any different to those who discriminate against you? they make assumptions about you because you are disabled but you make asumptions about them because they are not.

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by Jean - jhmelea (U13794774) on Monday, 28th December 2009

    I think it depends on the disability, if it is genetic (as mine is) and has the likelyhood of being passed on to your child (50/50 in my case) then no I don't think you should have a child - they have no say in an illness you delibratly inflict on them because of your selfish desire to procreate - they just have to suffer the consequences for there entire life. In this instance I would advocate the avenue of adoption or fostering - I am not saying that you cannot be a parent just that you should not have a biological child as thier health is obviously not your primary concern it is the fact that they are genetically yours (imho).

    If however you are disabled in an accident and there is no chance of the child inheriting the condition from you then why not as long as the support structure is strong enough to help you.

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by hypermobilemummy (U14276222) on Tuesday, 29th December 2009

    I had my children before my physical disability had deteriorated to anywhere near the point it is now.

    I get looks, offhand, and just plain ignorant comments - from those who know know better, and from those who plainly should.
    Every school year, I give my childrens teachers a print-out outlining my disabilities, and how they impact on my life.

    Despite this, most still don't 'get it' - thinking that I spend all day sitting at home doing nothing, with a brief outing to drop off and pick up my children. Some days even that is more than I can manage - but I put off taking my medication till the children are safely home, and I can get some relief.

    Some days I can manage a short walk - others I can hardly move. Some days I have some energy, which needs to be carefully paced through the day to make sure I can get to the end of it without crashing. Even with an explanation - I am still labeled as lazy; at best inconsistant, and at worst flat out lying/esaggerating the extent of my phisical imparements.

    I chose to have children when I was abled bodies. I was married to their father. My physical conditions were exacerbated by extreme physical abuse - and yet Social Services are constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure I am caring adequatly for my children - which I am, and then some. My world revolves around them, and their needs always come before mine. Still, since I have 'chosen' to become I single parent, it is me who has put myself and my children in this situation; and far from helping, every outside agency I have encountered is out to find an area in which I am lacking.

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Daringsupercaitriona (U14055735) on Wednesday, 30th December 2009

    When i was 12 my father after eight years of fighing in the courts was awarded sole custody of me after social services and police reccomended that it was safer for me to live away from my mum.

    It was a landmark case over here because he was at the time one of only three fathers in Northern Ireland to be awarded sole custody of thier children. He was also the first DISABLED father in NI to be awarded custody.

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by ShazfromNorthampton (U3255070) on Sunday, 6th June 2010


    I have Cp and use a scooter because I can't walk or stand for long periods at a time. I have two children eight and six years, when they were born the health visitor gave me a student H.V as well because the thought they could get millage out of me!! They found out they got less out of me then an AB person!! because I just adapted to the job so well. After Melissa was six months old I applied to do family link (respite care for a child with a disability), I done that until my youngest was born they we desided to apply for fostering!!.

    We passed and up to date we have fostered six children (short term), which I have loved and according to our link worker have done a good job!! but I can't believe the attetudes of the social workers despite writing reports, emailing them what we are doing.

    They dont think we take them clothes shopping or to the dentist ect as you would any child, just makes me mad!!

    Shaz smiley - biggrin

    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by inmyhead (U14548021) on Saturday, 10th July 2010

    Hi i know this is kind of old now but... My older brother has spina bifida/hydrocephalus/epilepsy/emphasyma etc..
    When he was born my mother was given the choice of him not recieving any treatment, and she was horrified. She has Bi polar and didnt cope with thier options, she did cope with my brother and all of his assorted problems. He was placed on the at risk register just because he was born to a mother suffering MH problems.
    When she was pregnant with me, 3 different doctors advised a termination as i may have been born the same way, and she would have not been likely to cope.
    She ignored them then too. I was also placed on the at risk register at birth. Needless to say we are both well bought up, rounded adults.
    When i fell pregnant with my first child i went for my booking visit with the consultant who read the notes (i know thats not normal) and the first thing he said was, ive a slot at 10 am to terminate in the invent of this scan showing problems.. Welcome to motherhood!!
    Ignorance is no excuse as far as i am concerned. I think they seem forget we are all human and have feelings, disabled or not.
    Doctors are not God. Even they are human and are capable of mistakes.
    My brother was not worth treating as it was unlikey he would live and if he did he would have no quality of life. He is now 42 and has lived independantley and had a full time job. He is in assisted living now. I think they got it wrong for him.

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by MrsWobbly (U13945220) on Sunday, 11th July 2010

    Shaz - good for you. What you have done will have made a huge difference to the children.

    Whilst I agree many medics assume people with disabilites can't be a good parent, there are those who do not hold that opinion and treat parents with disabilities no differently.

    The problem arises when people with disabilites who can't cope with bringing up children without a lot of support choose to have them and then expect to get lots of additional money and free support.
    Some people view it the same way as the NHS paying for IVF treatment. It is very sad that some people are unabe to concieve but that is a fact of life and NHS money is thrown at it when there are people who are very ill through no fault of their own but only get limited support due to lack of NHS money.
    Sadly no one is ever going to agree on these matters.

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 21.

    Posted by nedluddcare (U14482731) on Wednesday, 29th September 2010

    The best nurse we ever had employed on my sons care package had a mother with severe learning disabilities and mental health problems. Sometimes it just works out. I'm glad her mother did it, I just hope she enjoyed it, she brought something really valuable into the world.

    Report message23

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