While Kate and William celebrate or await their ‘happy event’, ( don’t care which and am not keeping track) I keep thinking about all the people I know who are going to be more than just bored with the whole ‘Royal Baby’ hysteria. People who have lost children, people who have had miscarriages, people who have just got plain unlucky and never conceived. I’m also thinking of friends whose own happy event is due to occur not long after the fabled monarchical related parturition. However, the issue for me at the moment, is that despite Channel Four’s mini-season of disability parent related stuff (a nod to remaining Paralympic fever or sop to all the the ‘normal’ baby related programming?) I won’t be joining the happy throng. All things being equal I’d be too busy packing a little bag and making sure that everything was ready for when I returned from hospital. I’d be counting down to more than another’s ‘happy event’ and spring cleaning our flat not only for a few old friends passing through on a trip North to Scotland.
But things are NOT equal. They aren’t even _normally_ unfair.
In a normally unfair world, disabled women would just have the same bad luck as other women who want kids. Maybe a bit more, what with all the meds, but in a normally unfair world, YOU get to make the decisions.
But this is an unfair world of what some call ‘normals’. So, the most I shall be celebrating on the 31st of August is the achievement of having had some friends to stay, maybe of having a tidy home (even if I don’t own it) and not (quite) having to feed said friends on baked beans.
If I am a little overwrought, here’s why. Imagine a younger, slimmer, non wheelchair -using me who wanted kids and took them for granted as a part of my future and you can imagine why I want to spit. On the other hand, to be thoroughly PC, what would it matter if I was older, fatter or in a wheelchair? Well, apparently, it does and always will. Anyone who thinks abortion is a ‘choice’, needs to talk to more people with cerebral palsy. I would be 36 weeks now. That’s 6 more weeks in the womb than I got, mind. And every problem I have had since can be divided between the NHS, the Government and social attitudes to disability in our culture. Did you know that in THIS country ‘medical abortions’ are legal up to 40 weeks gestation (i.e. birth) thanks to that nice Mr Cameron, who feels that no-one should have to go through the ‘hard work’ of bringing up a disabled child (see Hansard Debates) And now we find that the chemical weapons we use abroad are causing ‘birth defects’. Few folk bother to respond to to posts about the euthanasia of disabled babies and abortion is so ‘OK’ well ‘medical abortions’ are.
Medical abortion: Translation: PREVENTING people like me and YOU from having children who *might have disabilities*, but most importantly SELECTIVE BREEDING. Of course we don’t want disabled children [to suffer] do we? And disabled parents? well, they don’t call us disabled for nothing, do they? We just wouldn’t…cope. On the other hand, might you feel differently if you knew that YOUR mental health history meant that a GP can still pass you the paperwork for the abortion clinic if he or she feels that either you or your partner are not ‘suitable’ and continue to stress that you ‘must make a choice’ despite anything you could say about being delighted by your planned pregnancy?
I have PTSD, am officially cluster five and a danger to myself and partner- all of which I might never have discovered had a GP not told me that I was not up to the job and ‘must decide to have an abortion’. I’m guessing those were her reasons, as she stated that ‘my [physical] disability was not the issue’. Odd, considering how often over the years I have been told that my disability (cerebral palsy) was an excellent reason for me never to have children. I might have fallen for it as an excuse if I had not had people tell me since I was in my twenties that despite 12 GCSEs, 3 A levels and two Firsts, I might not ‘cope’ with a baby and that “an abortion would be better in your case”, or if I had not been told by everyone from strangers on buses to an ex-boyfriend that I was not fit to have children.
So, I was pretty well prepared for a fight, even after my own GP said I would have ‘all the support I needed’, even though none was forthcoming ten years ago when we had actually WANTED a family. Perhaps, I thought, in Cameron’s Britain, all parents are deemed to need support, it is such a harrowing prospect, bringing up a child in the current financial and moral climate. Surely my mild CP could not be going to get some support after years of Social Services apathy and Dr. denials? You never forget the moment when a GP hands you the details of the abortion clinic. My husband was too stunned to speak, but somehow, all those pregnancy hormones meant I was fighting back. For 18 years I had been told I should never have kids because of my cerebral palsy and suddenly my mental health history was the issue?
What if I say I realise now that I should never have been depressed about my inability to find someone unprejudiced enough to give me a job and frankly, since the baby ( I realise I am an ADULT and should not have listened to fools who thought a crip couldn’t manage a baby? I will never be a medical guinea-pig again? – I’d be unreasonably delusional, I expect.
I’m hoping I can work this up to an article, for publication but damned if I know who would publish it?