Maternity, disability and sex education. View the latest Avalon Foundation research

As part of the Avalon Foundation’s research, “Sexuality and Parenting for People with Mobility Disabilities,” mothers of children with motor disabilities were asked about the mothers’ experiences in the context of dealing with the disability, as well as conversations about sexuality. See interesting conclusions!

Mothers are more likely to talk to their children about sexuality

Research has shown that mothers tell their children more about sexuality than fathers. This is connected, inter alia, with their greater participation in the daily life of the child, concern for his health. For mothers, sexuality is closely related to the relationship with the self, the physical, and a sense of attraction.

The women also emphasized that disability is an additional challenge in this area, as they lack additional specialized support.

– Because yes, there is no information anywhere where you can help such a child with a disability – said one of the respondents.

– 10 years ago, it was very difficult for us to find a sexologist who would take care of a disabled person, as well as a teenager who would recognize another mother.

How do mothers view the disability of their children?

In mothers’ narratives, apart from the child’s limitations in various fields, disability appears as an institutional and informational problem. It was understood as deficiencies in the availability of support from state institutions (including a lack of financial support). These shortcomings require the need to search for information and deal with oneself.

The women respondents also stress the importance of the issue of social acceptance of persons with disabilities. The need to treat children equally. According to the respondents, children’s disability is more acceptable than adults’ disability due to society’s mental and cultural barriers.

– Society does not know how to deal with people with disabilities and prefers to stand aside – says one of the mothers.

“Sometimes I have the impression that we have more obstructions in our heads than our children, and sometimes it seems to us that our children are more disabled than they do,” adds another mother.

Child sex education is still a taboo subject

Mothers emphasize that the need to be attractive to someone else occurs in everyone, regardless of whether they are a fit or disabled person, and parents should support their children and make sure they are attractive. Thanks to the conversation, children learn to realize themselves and their attractiveness and gain the feeling that they are a sexual being capable of love and being loved. The topic of conversations with children about the relationships of people with disabilities is mainly raised by mothers.

The relationship between a child and parent has a huge impact on the way you view your body and accept your disability. The importance of the relationship with the child was also discussed by mothers of persons with disabilities, emphasizing that they wanted to build positive feelings for the child regarding themselves. It is important for parents to be aware of the enormous impact on their children’s psychosexual development through messages directed at them. The narratives of women with disabilities shows that such negative messages were often directed by parents.

A new series entitled “On Fatherhood – Short, Effective and Direct”

To normalize the topic of motherhood for women with disabilities, the Sexon Project has launched a new series of interviews, “On Fatherhood – Short, Effective and Direct”.

– As part of the series, we will talk with parents of people with disabilities and parents of people with disabilities. We want parents to support, learn and motivate each other by sharing their own experiences. We will further debunk stereotypes and see that disability does not take away the joy of parenting, but rather encourage the authors of the course.

Excerpt from the interview

Sexon has prepared an introductory clip for the premiere of conversations with women with disabilities about their experiences of motherhood. We encourage you to read!

“In Polish homes, you don’t talk about sexuality, but how is it like in your own home?

Disabled mother: I come from this family, where this topic may not be taboo, but it was not fully covered and I knew how it caused me problems and difficulties in many ways. At home, I try to make it something completely natural. I would very much like this topic to be treated as something very natural and important to us. In order for education on this topic to be present in school differently than it is up to now, because I consider it very important in the lives of our children.

What is the biggest challenge for you in raising a disabled child?

My son was born with spina bifida which resulted in hydrocephalus and insensitivity from the waist down. Eric is in a wheelchair. The biggest challenge, in the past, is society and its lack of understanding. Right from the start, you have to fight people who say they know better than you.

Later, you are faced with a system so backward that in order to get something you deserve, you have to master all the actions to constantly explain to others that you have the right to certain things.

The next challenges are the architecture and its misalignment, and here, too, there is a lack of understanding of the subject of people, because once you can go up the stairs with a stroller, but if you do it several times a day, it will not be the case. That’s cute anymore and there’s a problem they just don’t exist and they don’t notice.

How can you support other mothers with disabilities?

Don’t be afraid of parenthood, because disability is just a part of your daily life. The presence of the child not only fills the house, but also the heart of the parents. During my pregnancy, I stopped worrying that I couldn’t handle something, but when I took my son in my arms, those worries disappeared somewhere. I carry my son myself, go for walks, etc. I don’t think about what might be hard for me, I just take care of my baby. I forgot about my disability. Only it matters.”

Where can you see more?

The first interview as part of the new series will be published soon on the website www.sekson.pl.

If you are a mother with a disability or you are raising a disabled child and would like to share your experience, please write to: projekt@sekson.pl

The entire research report is available at: Research | sexon

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