Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ads and campaigns and ignorance

I have a baby. As far as I can tell, she is perfect. She is growing, is complete and whole, and apart from the usual baby challenges (oooh boy - like "Mama should not eat peanuts or else I have an entire day of unhappies") she is normal. Whatever that means.

And I am finding it hard in some ways. It's isolating to be a new mama. I am so lucky to have an awesome community that I can draw on when I'm having the need, and that I can give back to when others need support. It's expensive with me not working, obviously, but as we're breastfeeding and cloth nappying ongoing costs are minimal.

But what if she wasn't? I don't even want to contemplate what life would be like if she had special needs at this stage. From what I know - which is very little - it is a difficult and stupidly expensive situation to be in. And to make it worse, there sometimes just aren't any answers or services or support.

All Consuming wrote about this just the other day. That some days are hard because she wants everything for her son and that's hard, and other days are hard because she wants for something little and that's hard. That is just wrong and it makes me SO angry. And so aware of the priveledge I have in creating a babe that is perfect.

But amazingly, perhaps things are changing here. South Australia State Parliament has gotten its first disabled politician and nation's youngest parliamentarian and she is one of the few to hold the balance of power!

But of course, the article missed the point. We are all disabled in comparison to the perfection that no one can be, and THAT is why disability rights and services are so important! I doubt that Kelly Vincent is the first disabled politician to sit in those seats. Disability comes in lots of forms and yes, she is perhaps the most openly identifying as disabled politician out there but mental illness, injuries, etc all affect all of us and need to be acknowledged so it stops being an "us" and "them" situation.


Billie said...

Thank you for writing this. I've really struggled with the invisibility of being differently abled for many years. I don't like to think of myself as disabled but when my CFS was bad and I couldn't get out of bed or leave the house without suffering severe fatigue and physical pain which wasn't alleviated by rest or medication, I was in many ways very disabled.

I have come to a point now where apart from recently, my health is fairly manageable but when it was bad it was so isolating and so debilitating. The problem with illnesses like CFS and mental health issues and all the "invisible" illnesses is that they're exactly that...invisible. People look at you and you seem normal enough, so you must be fine.

I am so glad that there is a member of parliament with a disability and I hope that her presence helps people who are sick or injured and the people who care for them. I agree with you though that although she is the first obviously disabled person in parliament it's very possible that there were many who came before her, and only when we acknowledge everyone, even the people who don't have a disability as such but are for some reason having a hard time. And only when our wider community does it's best to support each other unconditionally, will we live in a much happier place.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was on crutches with a broken foot years ago, trying to use public transport. It occurred to me that I was far more disabled, albeit temporarily, than someone who's had years if not their whole life to get used to their physical limitations and has medical technology and social services to support them.