Writer Eliza Hull’s anthology brings together a series of voices revealing some of the joys and challenges of disabled parents.
“Being a disabled parent is a rebellious act,” writes Eliza Hull at the beginning of a book of essays she’s curated, We’ve Got This. “Disabled people should have the same right to parent as anyone else, but often when we decide to start a family we are met with judgement and discrimination. We are questioned rather than supported. We have to push up against the medical system. And we have to confront how ableist society’s model of parenting is. Yet, despite all this, we still choose to parent. And we are damn good at it too!”
In Australia, 15% of households have a parent with a disability. In UK, there are more than 1.7 million disabled parents.
Hull, who lives in Victoria, Australis, became a parent seven years ago. She has a neurological condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth which affects her balance and causes muscle and sensation loss throughout her body.
She identifies as a disabled parent AND a parent with a disability. “Having children was the catalyst for me embracing disability pride,” she writes. “Having children has enabled me to embrace my authentic self.”
“I spent hours searching bookshops for a volume about parenting with disability,” she continues. “I wanted to feel represented, read a story like mine, know it was possible…In all the stacks of parenting books, there were no mums like me. I felt incredibly alone.”
The result is We’ve Got This (the same name as her highly successful podcast), a collection of 31 essays written by parents who identify as Deaf, disabled, neurodiverse, or chronically ill.
So Christa Couture talks about being parenting as an amputee, while Jasper Peach explains what it’s like to be a dad with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. It’s uplifting, funny, sad and complicated – in other words, exactly like being a parent.
“Parenting with disability doesn’t look like following a textbook,” writes Hull. “It looks like love, connection, pride, innovation and adaptability.”
Check out We’ve Got This.