Parents, carers and disabled parents
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Being a disabled parent

Matthew J. PopeMatthew J. Pope Member Posts: 1 Listener
I was just wondering how others manage with day to day stuff, access, any restrictions, social service assistance, or interference, and other such things.

I am a daddy, so I am doubly cursed, as well as being a disabled person. My wife at the time and I made the decision to start a family, we were subsequently lucky when we eventually found out we were expecting two little bundles. I was disabled at this point, when we met I was disabled, in fact I have been disabled since the age of seven years, this was no shock.
The nature of my disability is that of mobility, restricted movement, shorter stature and using aids to walk with. I cannot climb stairs but we were lucky enough to move to a house that was adapted for me.

So, shortened version is that she left, ending our relationship and taking my precious two, they were three at this point. I took this very badly, initially I was only allowed to have my children on my own during the day, only. I wanted to have them stay with me overnight, in our home. She refused, citing that being the mother meant she could do what she liked. I then had sought legal assistance, I was lucky enough to find a very switched on lawyer who was quick enough to apply for legal aid just before it ended (how anyone will cope nowadays I have no idea)

I took things very badly. I took an overdose and almost killed myself, which was actually my goal. My justification was that she and my children would be better off without me and as they were so young they would forget me. I was in an induced coma for a while, suffered renal and liver failure, had seizures and ultimately lost some memories. However, it turns out I do not die easily and was sent back.

A battle ensued, as you can imagine. Neurological and psychological testing, Children and Young People's Services were brought in to assess me as was an independent psychologist who was ordered by the court to report on whether or not I was safe and capable to look after my own children, on my own in my house-just me and them! Whilst this was being dealt with I had to be supervised in seeking my own children. Anyway, being accused of being incapable of looking after my own children by the girl I loved, and who I had shared care of the children with, was probably the bit that pushed me over the edge. To be honest, I don't know when or how, other than being g told, about how I did the deed. I just remember the feeling of intense unhappiness, as I felt this still, somehow, during g the coma. Or maybe I imagined that.

Ultimately, I won unsupervised contact with my children, they are able to come home with me and the three of us sleep under our own roof. My access is currently alter weekends andvevery Monday after school and then returned Tuesday morning. Holidays are supposed to be 50/50 but there's a sticking point currently, nothing that some negotiating can't fix, if not then I will take it back to court.

I think I manage reasonably well. My two are now 6 years old, they are clearly more independent and are good at helping me to help them. I am probably over cautious regarding illnesses as 111 has been called on several occasions, funnily enough my gut instinct seems to be true.
As I am mobility restricted I now use a mobility scooter more for day to day activities, especially when dropping off and picking up my two from school. I have also become a governor at their school and keen on promoting a positive view of disability. I have gone from being known as "that funny little man, mummy!" to 'look mummy, that's Martha and Elliot's daddy!'.

My ex wife has continued to put barriers in the way, and I have just had to be a bit creative in finding g ways of countering these. Unfortunately she uses the "if you don't do X then I will stop you having them" a bit too often, I also know that this pushes my buttons. Losing her was the worse thing, then. I am not losing my children now, as they are the only ones who truly love me unconditionally, and I love them beyond all else.

I guess this illustrates that there is hope no matter what, but it is a huge battle, which people like us in this society face everyday.


  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Posts: 2,733

    Scope community team

    Hi Matthew
    It seems like you have been through a lot! I'm a dad to a very lively 7 year old and whilst I have not been through the same situation as you I can empathise with your predicament. The most important thing that i have learnt in the last 7 years is that we are far more bothered about our disability than our children are! Keep strong for your kids and try not to rise to the bait. It can be difficult to remember at times but they need mum and dad.
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy

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  • Patrick DevinePatrick Devine Member Posts: 1 Listener
    I am a disabled dad of twin boys my wife is able bodied my boys are now 6 I hate that my health is failing I can do less for them than I would like they help and love me unconditionally I'm sorry how things have worked out for you and can't believe someone who professed too love you can use your kids as a weapon and ur disability against you
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