23. Reconstructing Motherhood: Special Needs Mums

02.16.2020 - By The Good Enough Mother

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Sociologists pull back the veil on lived experience and connect this experience with the broader social and cultural context that we live within. Diving into analysis and coming up with theories that speak to individuals’ experiences, we can give broader meaning to them, and this analysis can ultimately be used to provoke and propel social and cultural change. With this in mind, this episode dives into some of the research I’ve conducted with mothers of children with disabilities. I want to give you an insight into these women’s experiences, because I believe mothers of children with disabilities are at the intersection of everything that is empowering about mothering, AND everything that is disempowering about motherhood. The work these women put into their mothering is unparalleled, and it’s not just through choice: it’s often through necessity. But the struggle and isolation they endure is mostly unrecognized, and often unnecessary. We need social, cultural, and institutional change to value the work these women do – and the work that all mothers do. We need to value unpaid care work. Despite living within a patriarchal model of motherhood, I argue these women’s stories show us how we can reconstruct our own experiences as mothers to experience our power and potency, despite the deep complexity and perhaps ambivalence that will always be inherent in the experience of mothering.

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