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Mother’s Day in the Extra Lucky Community

By Taryn Lagonigro

As we take time to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, we acknowledge that this holiday can sometimes be experienced differently for mamas in the disability community. While we like to think that being a part of this community brings with it so many beautiful things, there can be some unique challenges and emotions for moms who are raising a child with a disability. 

Moms in the disability community may experience emotional and societal barriers that impact their experience of motherhood in traditional ways. When you have a child with complex needs, your Mother’s Day may not look like a day out with family or a perfectly posed family photo. While we all try not to fall into the comparison game, it can be hard on these days to not look at the experience of others and not feel a tinge of sadness. Motherhood may look different than was initially envisioned when dreaming about a future and a day like this can bring up some of those feelings. We always say that in our Extra Lucky community many feelings co-exist and it’s very normal to grieve the things that make life harder for our child while also feeling immense joy and pride at the people they are. 

Often some of this grief is around how the outside world is just not set up properly for our children with disabilities. This is a feeling that can come up daily, but especially on holidays and major events. Challenges such as accessibility barriers, limited support services, economic hurdles and societal stigma can contribute to feelings of isolation and stress. Thinking about something like going out to brunch may involve all of those challenges. Can the restaurant accommodate my child’s wheelchair? Will anyone be there to help us? Can we afford that when we have surgery costs coming up? Will he or she become overstimulated by a crowd? These are some of the many thoughts that can come up around a decision many of us take for granted. 

Sharing about all of this doesn’t mean that mamas in our community want pity. Extra Lucky mamas love their children deeply, but just want patience, understanding and support from the outside world. That can start by taking an extra moment to think before making a judgment call. If you see an overstimulated child at a restaurant, maybe consider that it’s not simply bad behavior. If you have to wait a few extra minutes while a family is accommodated, try to have some patience in that moment. 

Mother’s Day is the time to celebrate the diverse experiences and perspectives of all mothers, including those who may be managing extra challenges. Take the time to listen to their stories, learn from their experiences, and honor the strength and resilience they demonstrate every day, just like you would do if you were in their shoes too. 

So, how can you support a mama on a disability journey this Mother’s Day? 

  • Offer practical support such as assistance with daily tasks, transportation, or childcare. Maybe this is the perfect time for a no or low-cost gift like mother’s helper hours, keeping her company on a long drive to a specialist or dropping off a homemade meal.

  • Consider their unique needs and preferences when planning celebrations or activities for Mother's Day. A crowded restaurant may bring many challenges that will wind up being more stressful to the mom than anything else. Don’t assume though! Ask her how she feels most comfortable celebrating the day with family and work together to come up with a plan that’s best for everyone. 

  • Be a supportive friend or family member by offering a listening ear, empathy, and understanding. Validate their feelings and experiences, and offer words of encouragement and affirmation. Allow them a safe space for all of their feelings and don’t find pity in them. Your experiences may be different, she may be navigating hard things, but she likely doesn’t want you feeling sorry for her. 

  • Advocate for greater accessibility and inclusivity in your community to ensure that mothers on a disability journey can fully participate in Mother's Day celebrations. Consider hosting or advocating for inclusive events or activities that accommodate a diverse range of abilities and needs.

  • Take the time to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of mothers with disabilities. Acknowledge their strength, resilience, and contributions to their families and communities.

  • Use Mother's Day as an opportunity to raise awareness about the experiences and challenges faced by mothers in the disability community. Advocate for policy changes, increased funding for support services, and greater inclusion and representation in society.

As we celebrate Mother's Day, let's remember to honor and support mothers in all different journeys, including the disability community. By recognizing the unique experiences, offering practical and emotional support, promoting accessibility and inclusivity, and advocating for change, we can ensure that all mothers feel valued, appreciated, and celebrated on this special and important day. Let's work together to create a more inclusive and supportive society for mothers.


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