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Mexican musing – acceptance

March 9, 2012

I just returned from a week-long holiday in Mexico with some of my husband’s family.  I had planned to post from Mexico but a combination of inconsistent access to the internet and a busy schedule prevented that.  That busy schedule included laying in the sun and reading.  In addition to reading a couple of books of fiction, I finished reading “Reconstructing Motherhood and Disability in the Age of “Perfect” Babies” by Gail Heidi Landsman.  The author states that this book is about “transformation, about the meanings mothers of “imperfect” children give to motherhood and to disability in an age in which infants are commodified and technology seems to hold out the promise of “perfect” babies.” (page 3). 

 This book is about a couple of things for me.  This book helped me to understand why many mothers either deny their children’s challenges or seek ways to ‘cure’ their children.  I didn’t understand why it was so difficult for mothers to accept their children as they are when it is clear how very much the mothers (with whom I work) love their children.  The book reminded me how very strong are our society’s negative perceptions of people with impairments.  It showed me how we all (even those with impairments or with loved ones with impairments) internalize the belief that we all should want to be more physically able, more intelligent, more able to manage stress, more, more, more….

The mothers that Dr. Landsman interviewed for this book showed me that whatever approach parents take with their children, they are influenced by both their awareness of our disabling society and their strong desire for their children to have friends and be loved.  I want my work to contribute to a society in which more children and adults are accepted as they are.  A society in which we are curious about what each person may be able to contribute – from a smile to love, from offering a different perspective to offering a big, new idea.  What kinds of activities can contribute to that?

Sheila Howick Hamilton (northernot)

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