Sexuality and Disability

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 21–47 | Cite as

A Ramp to Motherhood: The Experiences of Mothers with Physical Disabilities

  • Ora Prilleltensky


This paper describes a qualitative study on the experiences of mothers with physical disabilities. Two focus groups were held for mothers with young children and mothers of older children. Eight mothers also participated in in-depth interviews. All had a mobility/limb impairment; most were wheelchair users. Participants described reactions to their pregnancy, their stay on the maternity ward, and their experience as a disabled mother with a newborn baby. They encountered a range of reactions and attitudes to their pregnancy, with some facing opposition and scepticism. Mothers varied in the level of formal and informal support available to them and in the number and magnitude of stressors that they faced. Those who required assistance to carry out caring tasks emphasized the importance of retaining control over the parental role. The shortage of funded resources to help meet children's needs was noted as a major hurdle for mothers with physical disabilities.

motherhood disability pregnancy 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human and Organizational Development, Peabody CollegeVanderbilt UniversityNashville

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