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Disability and Parenthood: Refute or Salute


Shweta ChooramaniShweta Chooramani fulfils her love for writing by contributing to several blogs, along with being a full-time mother. Previously, she has worked for more than eight years in the international NGO and corporate sectors. When not listening to nursery rhymes, she freelance for public health, disability, education, corporate social responsibility, social audits, community development and rehabilitation projects.

Diversity makes us interesting and attractive. Without diversity, we wouldn’t be better than eggs in a crateSmiley – lookalikes, pale and boring. You choose who you are.
This post salutes the anonymous woman that I met two months ago, and her journey so far.
It was a foggy winter afternoon in Delhi, the flight was delayed, and so my little girl and I cruised towards the baby care lounge.  Our companion was a women in her late 20s perched in the corner seat reading some magazine. I was caught up in the drill of feeding cerelac to a teething toddler, so in a hurry we exchanged a few words. After this, back to our own worlds.
To freshen up , she dabbed on her make up and walked out with aplomb and a smile mutely saying good bye – with her baby bump (probably second trimester) and a polio-impaired leg.
Having gone through the overwhelming experience of being first time mother, she left me with question marks hovering over my head. I couldn’t help but over think about the equation between disability and motherhood. Like how uncomfortable it must be for her to travel in this condition all by herself with just a pair of crutches, would she be alright….

It was the first time that I was seeing a woman with a visible impairment marching happily towards parenthood.

Often, the disability and parenthood combination is viewed with negativity. The notion being that if a woman is not able to take care of herself, how is she going to fulfil the responsibilities of motherhood? After all, she faces enough physical and emotional turmoil without having to go through childbirth and raising a child!

But the question really is, how equipped are we as a society to fulfil her dreams without blaming her for her decision to embrace motherhood? Society involves her spouse, family, friends, gynaecologist, maternity centre, support services, assistive devices, special care givers, employers and general public at large. Empowering a PWD demands a lot from society after all – identifying them, making the family accept them as they are, making them go to school, encouraging higher studies, waiving off fees, giving scholarships, subsidising their cost of living, giving access to assistive devices, making them link with employers, allowing them to marry and as a culmination, to have children.

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Shweta Chooramani is Manager of Corporate Fundraising at NGO Samarthanam, which works for the empowerment of persons with disabilities through education, sports, rehabilitation and income generation activities. She fulfills her love for writing by contributing to several blogs, along with being a full-time mother. Her personal blog can be read at http://sinhasat302.blogspot.in/


12 thoughts on “Disability and Parenthood: Refute or Salute

  1. Chetna mehrotra

    Salute to this!!! Beautifully written and wonderfully expressed.Shweta thank you for creating awareness about this ignored but very important subject in the society.I hope and pray that people should come out of societal pressures and stigma attached to it.Time to be human,behave human and think Human!!!!

    Reply
  2. SSK

    Well-written! I know what you mean when you say “if a woman is not able to take care of herself, how is she going to fulfil the responsibilities of motherhood?” My aunt has suffered from partial paralysis but she has raised two beautiful daughters all by herself. It must have been challenging, especially when the girls were small, but she has managed just as well (if not better) as a “normal” mother would have. I think being a mother gives you that strength.

    Reply
    1. Shweta Chooramani

      Thanks Shuchi. I salute to all those woman who have undergone this. As you said rightly, being a mother gives you that strength.

      Reply
  3. Annapurna chavali

    This is a lovely post. This and giving birth to a disable child is constantly on mind. Being a physiotherapist and a public health person, treating a child with disability was always difficult, especially, when the outcome was known to be not very positive. How does one balance ensuring the child that he/she has the same opportunities as the next child and aalso prepare the child for societal challenges? And not to forget the parents’ turmoil. Nevertheless, they are beautiful and just being a child.

    Reply
    1. Shweta Chooramani

      Thanks Annapurna. The dilemma a mother goes through plus the societal pressure. Will keep coming back to you for more clues on this subject to write about.

      Reply
  4. Philip Verghese 'Ariel'

    Hi Shweta,
    Nice to be here,
    Here, I am via A to z Fb page
    good piece here, yes, in fact
    this 20+ lady proved
    “Disability is not a liability”
    Yes. History is filled with lot
    of such courageous people
    Thanks Shweta for sharing this incident
    C U At A to Z pages
    Happy Blogging
    Philip

    Reply
  5. Shweta Chooramani

    Thanks for reading Philip, as you rightly summarized, disability is not a liability. Looking forward for A to Z challenge, all the best.

    Reply

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