How Will You Get The Baby Down The Stairs?

I promise myself …about once a year I really will write that article about how every single thing to do with pregnancy that your friends, parents, aunties, grandmother and SOCIETY list as a good reason that disabled people shouldn’t have kids from ‘how will you get the baby down the stairs’ to, what if you fall over?’ and ‘how will you keep up with the baby?’ THIS is an excellent example of how disability is actually TRAINING for parenthood!
Every time I talk with pregnant friends or read an article on pregnancy or parenting I’m struck by the irony of the similarities.
Like so many sweeping statements, I’m sure my working hypothesis has flaws, not to mention inbuilt bias (!!) but the balance thing clinches the deal for me. Balance???? Falling into the bath??? (Did you take out the shower curtain on your way down ? Stuff I’ve been doing for 38 years. Pregnancy perfectly mirrors the life experience of a disabled person insofar as it is different for every single person and is handled with more or less dignity and drama depending on temperament.

If that sounds stupid compare it with asking someone who learnt how to fall
I promise myself …about once a year I really will write that article about how every single thing to do with pregnancy that your friends, parents, aunties, grandmother and SOCIETY list as a good reason that disabled people shouldn’t have kids from ‘how will you get the baby down the stairs’ to, what if you fall over?’ and ‘how will you keep up with the baby?’ Every time I talk with pregnant friends or read an article on pregnancy or parenting I’m struck by the irony of the similarities. Their issues mirror the stuff I’ve been doing for 38 years and every single MINOR pregnancy related issue that your friends phone up about from heartburn to backpain (everything short of pre-eclampsia) will be a condition some non pregnant friend has had. Shoot me but even the more sensitive say, “Now I know how you feel”  Yet somehow  NO-one understands parenting except parents but that being the case would folk quit telling ME ‘they know how it feels to be ME when they twist a damn ankle?

Pregnancy perfectly mirrors the life experience of a disabled person insofar as it is different for every single person and is handled with more or less dignity and drama depending on temperament life experiences, support network and how ones own family handled life. Like so many sweeping statements, I’m sure my working hypothesis has flaws, not to mention inbuilt bias but the balance thing clinches the deal for me. Balance???? Falling into the bath??? Did you take out the shower curtain? See , I know this one.  I’d need to talk with open minded souls who don’t feel attacked if I say, “We get that” without feeling that the answer is but you’re _that_ club. You can’t be _this club_ or “well if you’ve got this ALREADY how could you do parenting as well?” Surely THAT question has to be _best_ asked of anyone who has ever tried to be pregnant and parenting AT THE SAME TIME. Bloody hard work but worth it?

You know that feeling of being public property?

The heartburn?

REALLY helpful advice on how to do better from strangers?

People telling you they know _JUST_ how you feel?

REALLY. So Do I.

One day, I really will write that article about how every single thing to do with pregnancy that your friends, parents, aunties, grandmother and SOCIETY list as a good reason that disabled people shouldn’t have kids from ‘how will you get the baby down the stairs’ to, what if you fall over?’ and ‘how will you keep up with the baby?’ Every time i talk with pregnantt friends I find that their issues mirror the stuff I’ve been doing for 38 years. Pregnancy perfectly mirrors the life experience of a disabled person insofar as it is different for every single person and is handled with more or less dignity and drama depending on temperament.

When you want to know how to survive sleepless nights (before or after ) who has had a lifetimes experience of:

a) getting down the stairs safely – after you’ve learnt how to bounce whilst falling you learn how not to fall in the first place which is handy skill for when you get too old to be bouncy. How not to listen to folk who tell you that ‘you’re making a fuss ANYONE can do an escalator!” (moving staircase?) is also a key skill that should of course be passed to every parent with the proviso that of COURSE you can do it in a real crisis, the trick is just to know when NOT to listen to the idiot whose never tried it without a reliable centre of balance.

b) one learns early (unlike auntie who has to learn it at 82 and osteoporosis) very easy ways to fall with spectacular aplomb and drama so that your STICKS (canes) end up in the road but crucially, YOU don’t! It LOOKS dramatic but I have never once fallen in a way that was more dangerous than humorous. The skill is to bruise (or not) without dropping anything vital whether it be underwear, poise or a pile of papers. and which knee not to land on (not the one you landed on last week

c) how will you keep up with the baby? Look, I kept up with everyone else didn’t I? I only held you back because it was nice to get a ten second breather between the bursts of effort that you couldn’t see I was making?

What I DON’T get is why did I never figure out the underlying bull of confused people who aren’t really interested in the real answers to those questions?

es I DO!! But the damn thing turned into a controversial article and an analysis of whether ‘me to itis ‘ is permissible because NO-one understands parenting except parents just as no one (especially not relatives or social services) but if so could folk quit telling ME ‘they know how it feels to be ME when they twist a damn ankle? Or worse NOT realising that I may not have living kids but I DO know about heartburn, back pain, sciatica, swollen ankles, funny knees/kips, pelvic girdle pain, weak bladder and FALLING OVER and most of my friends could list any I’ve forgotten and a few conditions that mirror pre-eclampsia as well. Being un-phased by really being nearly dead (or feeling nearly dead) is in fact not a flippancy but an excellent example of how disability is actually TRAINING for parenthood! It’s scary how easy the ones who actually became parents found the whole thing by comparison with their disabilities and how ignorant everyone was about what mixing the two would mean.

Yep! But you were probably desperately hoping for someone who hasn’t been doing it since they _were_ a baby, right? Irony of the similarities.
There’s an article in here but it is SO taboo I cannot even begin to work out how to write it. Tell a parent you know how they feel – as a disabled person? It’s so taboo I don’t even get FEEDBACK from editors! How to collect a twitter account of hatred from the humourless! No one can know how a parent feels!   And yes, that is a SERIOUS academic response with full awareness of where this one goes….
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s