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Season 2 #3 Selina Bonnie

My guest today is Selina Bonnie. Selina is an Indian/Irish disabled woman. She is an activist, lecturer and trainer in the international disabled people's movement for over 25 years. Her research focuses on sexuality, sexual expression and reproductive rights for disabled people. She is also a busy wife and mother.

As previously discussed, there is a strong societal attitude that everyone will, should and wants to have children. It can be so pervasive it is almost difficult to see. However, we see that this applies very differently to disabled people, which shows how much of a social construct it is. We talk about the barriers which face disabled people who want to be parents and how important autonomy and choice are for everyone in this very personal decision.

Episode Transcript:

Margaret O Connor 0:09 Welcome to season two of the Are Kids For Me podcast. I will continue to speak to people in a range of different circumstances about their personal and professional experience of answering this question. Thank you so much for your positive feedback on season one, and I really hope you find these episodes useful. My guest today is Selina Bonnie. Selina is an Indian/Irish disabled woman who holds a Master's degree in Disability Studies from the University of Leeds, and a Professional Diploma in Human Rights and Equality from the IPA/IHREC. She has been an activist, lecturer and trainer in the international disabled people's movement for more than 25 years. Her particular research interest centre on sexuality, sexual expression and reproductive rights for disabled people. Selina has been published on related topics in various fora including a chapter titled, 'Towards Sexual Citizenship: Dispelling the Myth of Disabled People's Asexuality' in the book 'Sexualities and Irish society: A Reader'. She is currently the vice chair of Independent Living Movement Ireland, and a regional ambassador for the NUIG Centre for Disability, Law and Policy Re (al) Productive Justice Research Project. She is also a busy wife, mother, and passionate home chef who works full time for South Dublin County Council as their Disability Liaison, Access and Equality Officer. We're approaching the topic in a slightly different way today. There is a strong societal attitude that everybody wants to, should and will have children, which can be so pervasive, it can almost be difficult to see. However, we see that it applies very differently to disabled people, which highlights just how much of a social construct it is. We talk about some of the barriers which can face disabled people who want to be parents, and how important choice and autonomy are for everybody in this very personal decision. So thank you, Selina, I'm so delighted to talk to you this morning, I really appreciate you taking the time. Selina Bonnie 2:16 Oh, you're very welcome. happy to chat. Margaret O Connor 2:18 Lovely. So we had we had a little chat, I suppose last year. And I was just really interested to chat to you further about this. Because I suppose from from my point of view, people are sick of me saying this..but I see it, this kind of the social attitudes, I suppose or constructs that, you know, motherhood is very natural, and everybody wants to do it, and everybody will do it. And that's almost so pervasive that it's hard to see. But then I think it's very easy to see if for some reason you don't fall into that category. And it seems that kind of people with disability are often excluded from that. So they're kind of seen as an exception. So I suppose I just wanted to discuss that a bit more. And I think you've kind of experienced that in your own in your own kind of your own situation and your own work as an advocate and researcher. And so maybe just to start off kind of you mentioned, the your kind of definition of disability and kind of how you approach it. Selina Bonnie 3:18 Yes, well, I would certainly come from.. as a disabled woman, I'm a wheelchair user. And as I said, I would have an academic and activist background, I would come very much from a social rights model perspective. And in a social rights model, which is completely opposite to a medical model, the whole focus is on fixing, and repairing and changing the barriers in society, rather than focusing on trying to fix broken or damaged people. It's very much about fixing the environment for it to be inclusive and open to all. Margaret O Connor 3:52 Okay, yeah, just really important that we clarify, that's the position we're taking. Selina Bonnie 3:59 And therefore, that's why I'm a disabled person. I'm not a person with a disability because I'm a person with an impairment, but most people can't do anything about that. But what they can do is as a disabled person, they can fix the barriers that disable me. Margaret O Connor 4:15 Ah okay, very good..okay. And so would you mind I suppose maybe just kind of telling us your story about, about how you became a mother or your experience with that? Selina Bonnie 4:29 Sure, it was quite the adventure all right. I married in 1995 to non disabled man. And of course, we we've always loved children, we've always been surrounded. We've always kind of had a very active role in our, in our nieces and nephews lives and everything and we of course, wanted children. But I have a condition called polycystic ovaries, which is completely unconnected to my impairment. And because of that, I was classed as subfertile so..which means I could get pregnant, but I would need assistance. So we embarked on that roller coaster. It took us 15 years, and four pregnancies. Finally, we had our daughter on my fourth pregnancy. And throughout those 15 years, the the amount of discrimination we experienced from the medical professional professionals within the assisted human reproduction area, because of me being a disabled person was quite astounding and quite traumatic, really, and I often.. I'm a very determined, strong minded person but I often thought about the other disabled, particularly disabled women because that prejudice is more so against the woman because a woman is quite traditionally seen as the nurturer and as the primary carer. So there's a huge stigma, particularly against disabled women. I often thought of my sisters in the disability movement, who may not be as stubborn and strong minded as myself. And I suppose that's one of the reasons that led me into kind of the activism and academia in that area was trying to use my experience as a disabled woman to try and make things better for other disabled women going forward. Absolutely, because I suppose we know that you know the assisted reproduction route is very difficult anyway, never mind add on all that extra, all those extra barriers and trauma. Okay. Just to give you an example of that negative experience, we kind of met early ish on, we kind of went to the first round of kind of assisted assistance, and it didn't work. It was a less invasive level and just didn't work. So we went to the next level, which was more going down the route, trying to go down the IVF route. And we met with with the person who was supposedly the top man in the country at the time. And basically he hand wrote, and I still have this list, I actually show it in presentations, he hand wrote a list of questions that he wanted answered before he would even consider taking us on. Any one of the questions, he wanted to be guaranteed that I would not have a disabled child. Now who can be given that guarantee, really in life? And he went on to tell me about all the disabled women he had helped, who would..but they had all acquired impairments, through, say spinal injuries or whatever. But he had the issue where I might have a hereditary or genetic impairment that was quite clear. Margaret O Connor 7:48 Okay wow, I mean, that seems like such the wrong way to have the responsibility. Like why was he asking you? You can't guarantee that. Selina Bonnie 7:58 Exactly, yeah. Margaret O Connor 7:59 Wow, so putting the responsibility back on you in that situation. Okay. I mean, even that alone, I mean, a lot of people I'm sure would have found that so traumatic, that that could possibly have been the end of their, their attempt to, you know, to try and pursue services like that.. Selina Bonnie 8:16 And it very nearly was because the next day, I had an appointment with a neurologist who I'd never met before. And I brought her the list of questions. And I went into her room, and she took one look and went why are you here? I'm not supposed to see you for six months or six weeks, in a different place. And I was just shocked at that as it was, I just thought well I got the letter for the appointment.. And then I talked to her I told her about the meeting I'd had the day before and I showed her list of questions. And she just looked at me, looked at the list and went oh, no, no, no, you could never have a child and off with you kind of thing. So I have to say, for a couple of years after that, we did nothing about it, because it really was quite devastating. And to this day, I have such negative negative feelings against, particularly the neurologist because she is so respected in her field and so renowned. And when I think of the way she treated me, you know, it was just horrific. Margaret O Connor 9:21 Yeah, yeah. So there was no proper consultation. There was no discussing with you. That was just a straight off. This is this shouldn't happen or won't happen. Yeah. Selina Bonnie 9:30 Yeah. Yeah. Margaret O Connor 9:30 Okay, so how would you proceed from there? Selina Bonnie 9:35 What happened was, as I said, we took a couple years where we just, um, we actually tried to go down the route of inter country adoption, because I'm half Indian. And there's so many little girls over in that continent that could really do with loving homes so we thought, okay, we'll go down that route. But again, we met such prejudice.. I am.. at the time my sister had had her first child, quite young. So we pretty much co parented him. So when I was on my way home from work on Friday, I'd swing by, pick him up in his little little seat and take him home. And he was ours until the Sunday evening. So when the, I can't remember was she was a social worker or an OT or what she was... But she had come to an assessment and she came on, like the Saturday morning. And like my niece, my nephew was about nine months old at the time. So she observed me, basically being a mother to this baby and feeding him, washing him, dressing him, the whole lot. And it was in her report then, she refused to recommend us, she said that I would not be able to pick up a child from the floor, or I would not be able to chase after a child if they ran away from me. And for that reason, we were refused. So what happened then was a few years later, I happened to be chatting with a colleague in work, who happened to be going down the IVF route. And she mentioned the clinic that she was dealing with and how lovely they were. And I just thought, maybe we could chat with them, just just to see, you know, it's been long enough, we've kind of licked your wounds long enough. And it was such a different experience. They were so open and welcoming. Now their physical building wasn't fantastic from an access point of view. But that didn't matter because their attitude was so positive and welcoming. And the consultant, he kind of.. I showed him the list. And he was like sure we will deal with whatever, whatever comes along, and it was just a completely different experience. And that's what kind of got us back on the road again. Margaret O Connor 11:56 Okay wow. But like that.. what kind of time frame was that? Selina Bonnie 12:01 Um, it could have been maybe three or four years. Margaret O Connor 12:06 Wow Selina Bonnie 12:07 It was significant enough now. So, because I, I had already had one miscarriage for a year, and I spent my first wedding anniversary in the Coombe (Hospital). But then after we got back then with this, when we got with these good people, these decent people, I had a failed IVF. And I had a little girl, she only lived, she was born very early, so she only lived for an hour. And then I had another miscarriage. And then we had our daughter in 2007, we finally finally got there. She was born very early as well. So she was kind of in the NICU for two months. Margaret O Connor 12:52 Yeah I mean, that's tough. And even in terms of kind of the emotional supports on you know, for all of those events, like do you feel like you were kind of appropriately supported, you know was there any issue in accessing supports? Selina Bonnie 13:08 I don't think I don't remember ever been offered anything from professionals in relation to that but like we've got really good family support and you know, kind of, so we were fine. And we were.. they say that an experience like that either breaks a relationship or makes it stronger, and certainly with us, it made it stronger. So we have we had the support of each other, and the support of our friends and families. And then as an activist in the movement, I would have had my peer support through other disabled people as well. Margaret O Connor 13:43 It's really important tough because that's so tough, that's a really tough time, and lots of different things to be dealing with there. Okay, and I know we were talking there just before you came on, so your daughter is now in first year of secondary school. Selina Bonnie 13:55 She is Margaret O Connor 13:56 Well technically anyway! She hasn't gotten into the building yet at the moment.. Selina Bonnie 14:01 Yeah, yeah. Margaret O Connor 14:03 How has the experience been? So then you're obviously after after she was born, like do you feel like what was..was your experience affected in any other way as.. I suppose dealing with other people or just schools or kind of the normal stuff we associate with parenting? Selina Bonnie 14:18 Um.. not really .I said I would be quite a strong minded and kind of rights based person. So I've made sure that there wasn't any barriers, like when she was in creche.. I work for local government. She was in the creche in the same building as I worked and so of course, it was all accessible because it was a public building. So I was very lucky in that respect. And our public health nurse, the baby nurse was she was very good. I have to say she was didn't make me feel different in any way. She was very, very good. So we had quite a positive experience. The hardest part of being a parent, especially to a very young child, was the inaccessibility of the environment. For example, quite often, baby changing facilities are located within the accessible toilet. But I found that the actual facility, the baby's changing facilities, although they were located in the accessible toilet, they were not accessible, they were up too high for a wheelchair user to use. So and because the minimum dimensions for an accessible toilet really are the minimum, they need to be looked at, we found that there was really, when she was a baby, there was really only maybe four places we could go outside the house that would have a toilet big enough that would fit me in my wheelchair, my husband to assist me and the baby in the pram. You don't want to be leaving the baby in the pram outside the door or putting the baby onto the floor, you know. So they were the, it was more the physical barriers that caused us difficulty. And I actually found it quite insulting, that, you know, you put a facility within the accessible toilet, but you don't make it accessible. Margaret O Connor 16:21 Yeah, absolutely. Selina Bonnie 16:23 It's very indicative of a wider kind of societal kind of attitudes that you don't necessarily think of disabled people automatically as becoming parents, like, as you mentioned, kind of there a while ago about this whole, like expectation of motherhood or parenthood, but it's a different experience when you're a disabled woman, you know, people don't necessarily automatically consider that you would become or would want to become a parent. So it's quite a different experience. Margaret O Connor 16:58 And I know, you've written about that, and kind of tracing the history of as you know, that there are very strong kind of, again, societal attitudes and views of disabled people and disabled women, and like one of those is that, that disabled people don't have a sexuality or don't have sexual needs, you know, even before you ever get near parenting. And yeah, could you just expand on that a little bit? Selina Bonnie 17:25 Well I think kind of traditionally, if you go back to the more medicalized or dependent view of disabled people very often and traditionally, or historically, disabled people were kind of almost thought of as perpetually childlike and vulnerable, we still have the term vulnerable, particularly in this COVID world as a lot of talk about vulnerable people. And quite often disabled people, regardless of whether they have an illness or not, are lumped in with that category. And I think you're not necessarily going to consider a vulnerable person to be suitable to be a parent or capable of being a parent so there is that, that issue. But there was also then it just this traditional thought that just disabled people weren't considered as kind of gendered or sexual beings and, and, as of having a desire to have that part of life, and to have that quality of life. There's also the issue with that, when you think about personal rights, and public rights. And traditionally, it's much easier to fight for public rights, like education, employment, housing, transport, but it's much harder to fight for personal rights, because they're very personal. And whether it's sexuality, or relationships, or parenting, or, or kind of the whole kind of repeal the eighth or any of them. Now these personal rights are much more difficult because you're exposing yourself more so and your core to scrutiny and kind of having to break your own right to privacy in order to tell your story to try and induce change. So it's been very much to focus on, well, let's get the housing and employment and education and the important aspects of life rather than looking at people more as holistic beings. And then there is also the issue that you know, very often, people kind of presume that disabled people will fit neatly into this little box, but very often these days like it used to be the term multiple oppression, but we've moved into a more kind of positive way of thinking now, when we talk about intersectionality which really in plain English what that means is that we are all more than one thing, like I'm a woman, I'm disabled, I'm a mother, I'm a public servant, I'm an activist. You know, I wear many hats. And we all do. I'm half Indian so I bring that in, as well. And so it's important that we don't just look at maybe making one aspect of society open and accessible, we've got to also think about whether it's kind of this whole..whether its the LGBTQ community or the non national community..we need to think of people as being more than one thing. Margaret O Connor 20:25 Yeah absolutely. Yeah. I suppose yeah, I think I suppose it probably feels like disabled people don't get that, excuse me, don't get that, you know, it's very much the disability maybe takes priority in other people's eyes and in service provision. Yeah. And I suppose I know as well, just kind of from what you said in the book like that those kind of social attitudes really permeate in in very practical ways. So just even in access to, to sex education, like that isn't or hasn't been typically provided, or as standard provided to disabled people or in educational settings for people with disabilities has changed or is it starting to change? Selina Bonnie 21:08 It has changed a little bit in mainstream schooling, but it needs to be a lot better. I'm actually on the parent's committee at my daughter's school. I did, I decided as she was a first year and I was new to school, it was a good way of really getting to know the school. So I said I'd put a bit of time into it. And I'm actually because of my kind of background in kind of sexuality and that, I volunteered to have a look at their draft Relationships and Sexuality Education policy that they're developing at the moment. And so I need to get back to them with my feedback. But one thing I've noticed, and through reading some of the other things are going through the kind of legislation at the moment in our in relation to, RSE, Relationship and Sexuality Education in schools, is that really the needs of disabled students, I think it needs to be much more rights based, I would have concerns about that the mainstream course, is not really inclusive. And because it's not just about, it is the same with family planning information, or sexual health information, it's not just about making information available in in accessible formats. What's really important is the actual content needs to be relevant and useful. It's not just because there is no point in providing access to information if the information is not applicable to you, or not relevant to your, your life or your experience. So I would have a few concerns in that regard in relation to, to relationships and sexuality education, for schooling at the moment. But even in a wider context. I many years ago, I saw a wonderful table in a book, and it was about it was a list of the current family planning methods that were available at the time. And then it also kind of had listed kind of various impairments and it gave a bit of a narrative of on what the possible, how difficult or easy it might be for someone with that level of say dexterity or whatever to use, what contraindications might be for that impairment, and things like that, it was really excellent. And I've only ever seen it in one place and it's now completely out of date. And the book is actually out of print. So things like that need to you need to happen. Margaret O Connor 23:48 So yeah, so accessibility is one thing, but relevance and just, as you said kind of just including, you know, that people need that information. You know, like, I suppose awareness on a general societal level, that, yeah, we need to we need to look at this and even you were saying as well kind of the layout and the planning, the accessibility of health services, maternity services, family planning services, all of those kinds of things. Like to your the first step, I suppose really is thinking that you know, disabled people will need to access these services at some point, you know, not skipping that. Selina Bonnie 24:25 Absolutely sure. When I was pregnant, my husband had to physically lift me up onto the examination bench because it wasn't height adjustable in the consultants room. When we had difficulty, coming into kind of miscarriage and we had to go to the early pregnancy assessment unit, he had to pull my..lug my wheelchair down like five steps down into into the unit. I've actually been talking to some disabled woman recently about the whole issue of access to breast check services and smear testing. And I would have significant concerns about disabled women's health in Ireland in relation to those two areas because the level of inaccessibility currently is just shocking, really shocking. So, you know, it's..there's a lot of areas, every area really needs to be fully inclusive and accessible, not just one area. Margaret O Connor 25:30 I know in that book chapter that we read it had, it was census figures from 2011. But at that point, it was about 13% of the population was having..being disabled people, and 51% of that were female. So I presume it probably the same.. Selina Bonnie 25:47 Probably, I wouldn't have up to date figures. But I would say it would be quite similar. Yeah, we haven't had any big wars or anything. That is the thing that really affects the figures. Margaret O Connor 26:00 It's significant, you know, 13 percent of the population and half of that being female. So yeah, I suppose again, it's just trying to broaden the conversation. Okay, and I suppose have there been any other improvements? Or I suppose, is there anything kind of positive on the horizon in terms of.. Selina Bonnie 26:19 Well, one thing that I have noticed, like, Why think back to when I had my daughter, back in 2007. And I knew very, very few other disabled parents in Ireland, or knew of very few disabled parents in Ireland. Whereas now, I know so many, I think that's a good indication of society is opening up in certain ways, we still have a lot more to do, as I said the physical structures need to become more accessible. And there's still the issue of attitudes, because if you look at TV and media, the significant lack of positive, empowering images of disabled people, in relationships or as family members, and just as members of society, or if you look at even that images used by different agencies to for different reports, or whatever, the images, they'd be very sure to have a few different ethnicities, and you know male and female within the imagery. But really, the rest of the diversity of society, whether it's specifically disabled people or whatever are rarely included in that imagery, and if you don't see yourself, it's sometimes very difficult to believe that that applies to you as well. I'm just gone back to this in the education.. I can't say with any certainty but I would be concerned and I'd be very interested to know, what level of RSE is actually delivered in the segregated schools. I will not say special because they are not special, they are segregated and they kind of are for young people with particular particular additional needs. But I would like to because it's very important, I think, particularly for a young disabled person to stay safe. And body kind of awareness is very important, because I said to her as a young disabled person, you get very used to adults, viewing you and examining you, you know whether that is medical professionals, physios all that sort of thing. So if these young people are not given the proper kind of stay safe or body awareness education at an early enough stage, how can they be empowered to protect themselves and to know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate? And the fact that they have a right to say no, and have control and choice over their bodies? So, you know, we still have those areas, we still need to go and improve. Margaret O Connor 29:12 Okay, okay. And I suppose it is just that wider, yeah, that wider idea of choice and that they do have and like, we want everyone to have as much awareness and education and, and representation really, is important as well. Selina Bonnie 29:28 It's also about creating an expectation. Like if you do not feel included in the class, say the education that you're you're taught you and your classmates are being given. If you did feel that it applies to you. How can you develop an expectation of your own, what might be possible in future and what you might be entitled to in future life? Margaret O Connor 29:51 Absolutely, yeah. Okay. And are there any kind of particular supports or groups or places that you direct people who maybe want to find out more about this or link in with other people maybe in similar situations? Selina Bonnie 30:05 There was an attempt for a number of years just to establish disabled persons..a disabled parents network in Ireland. But it was very kind of difficult. One because trying to find somewhere that's accessible to a large number of disabled people, so that you can actually come together, it's very difficult and can be very costly. And then people were so busy getting on with their lives being parents, and being employees or whatever they were, that it was very difficult to actually try and get together so that kind of floundered. But I would love to see something like that be rejuvenated, absolutely. But really, I think a lot of the time, it's very much you build your own network, your own support networks. because there aren't really any that I know of at the moment. There is this work going on to try and improve the situation like I'm involved with a research project in National University of Ireland in Galway, with the Centre for Disability, Law and Policy. They have a funded project called Re (al) Productive Justice, and I would be one of their regional ambassadors with that, and they are looking into the whole area of reproductive justice and disabled people, whether it's parenting, fertility, abortion, oh, the whole range. And they are putting together a report, they've had a lot of different kind of discussion groups and that, but they're also developing a toolkit, a suite of toolkits for different areas of the medical and social service profession that they can use to appropriately include disabled people and appropriately provide services and support to disabled people in these areas. So that I think has huge potential. Margaret O Connor 32:02 Yeah definitely. I know, I've looked they have some talks on YouTube and definitely really, really interesting. And, that sounds fascinating. Yeah. Okay. So yeah, so I suppose we're probably approaching it from from kind of two sides. But really, the the idea is the same. It's opening up those expectations. Equally not assuming that everybody necessarily will or wants to have children but not assuming that disabled people don't or can't. Selina Bonnie 32:27 Exactly. Margaret O Connor 32:02 Yeah so to actually open, open that up and have more options available. Fantastic. Okay. It's so interesting, really, it's been really great to talk to you. Is there anything else you'd like to include? Selina Bonnie 32:43 Well just something a couple of just issues. One, kind of going back to something I referenced earlier on about the expectation of women to be the nurturer and the carer. And the discrimination that's felt more so much by disabled women. I've read in various for about now it is other countries, I haven't read about it in Ireland, that, say for example, if there's a mixed ability marriage, and it breaks down and there is a custody battle, statistically, if it's the woman, the wife is disabled, the mother is disabled, although generally in law, the rights seem to be with the mother, if it's the mother is disabled, very often the children are awarded to the Father. I've read that in a number of cases. Now I don't have case law in Ireland. But I've seen it in in, in other in other countries. I've also seen case, particular in the UK, I remember reading a story about one woman who was disabled, and she had number of PAs. But throughout her entire pregnancy, there was she pretty much had been told that her baby will be taken off her at birth, because she wouldn't have the support services to help her to raise that child. Now she fought it and eventually everything worked out, but like it's stressful enough being pregnant, but to have this fear.. And I've heard many cases of women here in Ireland, whose children, disabled women whose children are being ripped from their arms basically. In today's Ireland, that so that's a huge, huge problem being faced by disabled woman at the moment. Margaret O Connor 34:33 Oh god ok.. I can't remember her name now, but there was a talk in the Centre for Disability and Law, they had a speaker who was saying something similar to that, that it didn't happen to them, but they were so worried that they had to be like the perfect parent that if they, they felt that if they were come struggling with any area after that their child was born that you know, they would be so took too much more scrutiny. Yeah, in the impact on things like postnatal depression or anything like that, like the pressure that is huge. Yeah, Selina Bonnie 35:09 Yeah, there is a lot of issues in that regard. Basically disabled mothers are being set up by the system to fail. Like there is a system where they're brought to some place. And kind of they live with the child for a certain amount of time, I can't remember the exact terminology. And they're observed basically 24/7, to see, are they capable of being a parent. And this feeds into whether or not the child is taken off them or not. But the problem is, they're lifting a disabled person, a disabled mother out of her own home, out of her own environment, putting her into an artificial environment, in in a location different to where she would normally live, so she doesn't even know the area and they're expecting her to be able to adequately show them that she can be a mother. So basically, that's completely setting her up to fail, and giving her no chance whatsoever, rather than working with her in her own home. Margaret O Connor 36:12 Yeah yeah. Okay. So the focus or even it sounds like, like the resources are being put in at the end and not in the middle where.. Selina Bonnie 36:19 It's horrific and you know in 2021 Ireland, that should not be happening, and people should know what's happening. Margaret O Connor 36:22 Yeah I've never heard that. Yeah, so there's still, unfortunately, a lot of work to be done. And yeah, okay. Okay. But I suppose yeah..and even just going back to what you said about the courts, I suppose, again, it just shows. I'm not saying that it's ideal, either, that the rights are normally with the mother in general situations, but then where disability is a factor that switches things so again, you're kind of seeing I suppose there there are a range of social norms, which may not be helpful, but then they're, they're impacted by in that particular situation the disability as a factor. Yeah, so I suppose I think it's sometimes it's only when we see that you see how pervasive the the other beliefs are, yeah, Selina Bonnie 37:15 On the other hand, on a positive note and there's been a lot of positivity (laughter), there's actually been a lot of research, it's a wonderful organization in the US, it has been there for many years, called Through the Looking Glass. And they were set up by disabled parents, and they, they provide such a huge range of support to disabled persons and parents within the US. They're incredible. And they've done a lot of research as well. But I've read a number of cases where research been done. And it's actually been found that children who are raised by disabled parents, particularly disabled mothers, there's actually a much better communication, and relationship because if you, and I can actually relate to this as a mother myself, because you have to spend a lot more time..depending on depending on your impairment of course, but quite often, you would spend a lot more time carrying out tasks with the child. And there has to be like, I remember when my daughter was so tiny, even from day one, when I was helping her in the NICU, I'd be saying to her now lift your left arm and put your foot in here and turn over there. And it was this constant narrative, and communication. So even at a young kind of toddler stage, she was aware there were certain things mammy could do and mammy couldn't do, and she knew there were certain ways mammy did them. And we worked together, and they're was really strong cooperation, which builds a very, very strong relationship. And there has been a lot of research which has shown the actual positive benefits of having disabled parent. Margaret O Connor 38:56 You'd imagine, and I'm only talking off top my head, but you'd imagine that that would build kind of an empathy as well for the child to understand why you might need to do things a different way. Yeah, Selina Bonnie 39:05 Absolutely. Margaret O Connor 39:06 Yeah well that is nice. It's nice to end on a positive note (laughter) and to hear that, but thank you so much. It really is fascinating and I'm delighted to be able to talk to you. So I really appreciate you taking the time. Selina Bonnie 39:21 You're very welcome. I appreciate being asked. Margaret O Connor 39:24 No problem. Thanks a million. Selina Bonnie 39:25 Okay, take care. Bye. Bye, Margaret O Connor 39:28 Thank you. Thanks very much to my guests for taking part and to you for listening. I would love to hear your feedback and any suggestions for other topics you would like to see covered in this series. I would also love to build a community of like minded people. So please follow the Are Kids For Me pages on Facebook and Instagram if you want to find out more on this topic. I look forward to hearing from you and watch out for the next episode soon. Transcribed by

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