Emmerdale, Eastenders, Coronation Street – I’m an avid soaps fan! I remember writing a few years ago about a story line in Corrie where a disabled character fell pregnant. Her dad was really dead set against it and I was pleased that such issues were finally been addressed. In a current storyline, Emmerdale is bringing Disabled Parents into the spotlight and I’m really hoping that the writers will take the opportunity to try and change perceptions.
The abilities of disabled people
The story focuses on Ryan (played by James Moore) and his partner, Gail. Ryan has Cerebral Palsy and it’s just been revealed that the couple had a child 13 years ago who they gave up for adoption. Last night’s episode saw them discussing their reasons for giving up their son and Ryan voices his anguish as he thinks his disability largely influenced the decision. “And I’m never going to be dad material, right?” Ryan remarked. Heartbreakingly, his partner admitted that his disability had played a part in her decision to walk away from the child.
Disabled people can be parents
As a disabled parent myself, the episode both upset and excited me. Before I had my first son, Jack, I worried about so many things. Would I be able to manage with the demands of a baby? What would other people think about me becoming a mum? As they grew up, how would my kids see me? All of these things weighed heavily on my mind and still do, from time to time. Luckily for me, I have a brilliant husband and family who believe in my abilities and absolutely support me to do anything I set my mind to.
But I was saddened by the story too; the worry that Ryan expressed about his ability to be a parent and his partner’s honest reply, was a little troubling. Ryan lives independently, owns and manages a pub and drives a car. With the right support, I don’t see why he couldn’t become a parent. It would be brilliant if the writers were to develop this storyline further and challenge the false perception that disabled people can’t make good parents.
Lack of information for Disabled Parents
When I became pregnant for the first time, finding information and support for disabled parents was near on impossible. I’m convinced this is because society in general just don’t expect disabled people to become parents. I’m really hoping that Emmerdale take this opportunity to challenge perceptions, break the taboo and educate people.
Here’s to Ryan and Gail deciding to have another baby! 🙂