The grace that comes with motherhood has led women with disabilities contend with the societal denial of their rights to intimacy, pregnancy and motherhood all around the world. Women with disabilities in the society have taken upon themselves the responsibility of providing the society with a clear and good understanding of intimacy, marriage, pregnancy, birth, and motherhood experiences of the world of women with disabilities. The full participant of women with disabilities in celebrating motherhood both of themselves and that of their fellow women with disabilities is just but an aspect of this move towards pushing for inclusion, acceptance and awareness creation.
It is not a doubt that indeed motherhood proves a very rewarding experience for women with disabilities just as it does for women without disabilities. Women with disabilities express their need for intimacy in many different ways regardless of society’s denial. On the other hand, the negative perceptions have not stopped, it is only that women with disabilities have chosen to live fully satisfying lives despite the negativities. Some of the common challenges that can be identified in the journey of intimacy and motherhood include negative societal attitudes toward women with disabilities regarding relationship, pregnancy, and child-rearing. Accessibility of health centers in addition to the ignorance and negative attitudes of the physicians are also reported to be major challenges facing women with disabilities. And at the same time, women with disabilities do not sit back and let the society define their sexuality, reproductive ability, intimate experiences and motherhood. And in the long run, women with disabilities hold each other’s hand in the journey to motherhood and this gives the society a challenge to accommodate disability and motherhood.
The joy of traveling the journey comes with a rewarding experience of motherhood for women with disabilities. Becoming a mother with a disability does not mark the end of the challenges faced by women with disabilities in the society, it opens a new page of new experiences that are marked with new challenges. Women with disabilities still face challenges at every step of their experiences because of society’s prejudices toward disability making it a continuous journey of pushing for their rightful space in the society. Women with disabilities have therefore chosen to live happy and gratifying lives and not pay attention to the problematic attitudes toward them and more general societal prejudices towards individuals with disability. The desire to have children has habitually been explicated by the existence of ‘the maternal drive’: motherhood is often reflected as a typical part of every woman’s female identity. To women with disabilities, this has had to happen despite the major social roles expected from women in their capacity as partners and mothers. They have for a long time fought and designed ways of enjoying and fulfilling their roles without having to let their abilities hindered by the cultural expectations and societal demands.
In many cultures, motherhood is not viewed as optional; rather, society strongly expects women to marry and have children. However, due to the attitudes from the society and the tags on the roles of a woman that leaves out women with disabilities, motherhood and disability are therefore seen to be terms that don’t match. This then shows that, culturally, women with disabilities are denied the possibility of intimacy, marriage and motherhood. But with empowerment, women with disabilities have come out to live their lives in their own unique and satisfying ways hence not oppressing themselves with what the society thinks and says of them. Nonetheless, women with disabilities who do become mothers often experience motherhood as a blessing.