Tag Archives: mothers day

I’m just like any other mum – disability doesn’t change anything!

Marie and her husband Dan are the proud parents of Mark, who’s three years old. Marie has brittle bone disease and uses a wheelchair, so aspects of being a mum can be challenging. To mark Mother’s Day, Marie updates us on their past year –  Mark has been coming on in leaps and bounds, and there have been changes for Marie and Dan too.

Mark has my independent streak

Mark has stopped being a toddler and is most definitely now a fantastic, handsome and intelligent little boy. He has absorbed my fierce independent streak and most household tasks now echo with ‘No, Marky do it!’ in his own special little voice. His increased independence makes life easier physically – all the jobs I couldn’t do like picking him up are now in the past – but we have new challenges, how DO you discipline your toddler when he’s your own height? It’s a good job I can still shout and hold the purse strings!

One of his favourite things (at the moment!) is cooking, and this is where our fantastic adapted kitchen comes in; it means I can cook for the whole family and Mark can get involved too. He loves making gingerbread men! We designed the kitchen ourselves with a number of clever adaptations using standard materials to make it as cheap as possible – things like using wall units as low-level cupboards to give my chair room to fit underneath. It’s amazing how a few simple bits of lateral thinking make all the difference!

While the more sedate things are mummy jobs, the active things are daddy’s domain. Mark recently started swimming, something that he can do with Dan while I watch. I can swim (I’ve been known to flap about and propel myself up to 800 metres, although I won’t break any records!) but the idea of going in a bustling, busy public pool with Brittle Bones doesn’t sound too smart. I leave that one to the boys.

Marie and her 3 year old son Mark sat at table

Returning to work

And Mark definitely is a boy now, we registered him in our local preschool for 3 mornings a week starting back in January – the start of his funded time. He adores it! Whilst we’ve always had him out and about doing things (Start the Art, Mini Strikers, Rugby Tots to name but a few) since he was about 6 months old, he really has responded well to the structure of preschool. The loving and nurturing home we have created for him has worked, he’s ahead of his age targets across the board.

Mark now being at preschool has left a hole in my life, and I’m never one to sit still doing nothing. I’d get bored too fast. So, I decided to use my degree (First-class BSc in a number of subjects including Social Policy and Child Development) and my long experience in the health and social care field as both a recipient and worker to get a job where I can really make a difference. Such an opportunity arose and I’m proud to say I am now a college tutor, tutoring a wide range of courses. It’s brilliant! I get to bring a unique view to the table, helping students (e.g. care practitioners) see the wider issues at play beyond just learning the course. I hope they are learning a lot! Mark can also see me earning (as he puts it) ‘pennies for rides!’. I guess that returning to work as your child gets older is just another one of them milestones and I see myself as just like any other mum despite the 200+ broken bones, life-saving surgery as a teenager, the fact that I’m fully wheelchair dependent and have daily chronic aches and pains from years of physical trauma.

Dan has a new job too. Sadly he was made redundant following a very successful career in space research – he was one of the team who landed a spacecraft on a comet in late 2014. Google ‘Dan Andrews Rosetta’ if you want to read more! Sadly the end of the mission meant an end to the funding, and he lost his job. That was, naturally, a worrying time for us all. Not only was he job-hunting – he needed a company within a short commute distance to tie in with family, with normal office hours and that would recognise his transferable skills. He struck gold and is now working in the fascinating field of special missions aviation. Mark should have fun telling his school friends about what Daddy’s done for a living!

Marie holding a tray of gingerbread men while Mark sprinkles on flour

Remembering my own mum

So that’s it from us. A year of changes for us all and a lot of adventures! We like to think we’re giving Mark the best upbringing we possibly can. He’s always doing things and he most definitely doesn’t see me as anything other than ‘Mum’! It is still hard doing this without my own mum, there are countless times when I want to just call her and ask ‘What do I do if he…?’ or to share the latest milestone met. Readers who read my last blog will know that she passed away very suddenly in 2012 and this will be another emotional Mother’s Day for me. As well as all my other health conditions I am now also battling prolonged grief disorder but I am using my strength to ensure I am making each day count and living life to the full with my lovely little family. All I can say is that my upbringing from her definitely stuck, I wouldn’t be the fiercely independent working mum and wife that I am today without her teaching me that my disability needn’t stop anything!

Find out more about Marie and her family – read her previous blogs. If you have a story you’d like to share, get in touch with the stories team.

“I want him to have the childhood that I never had”

In November 2013, Marie and her husband Dan became the proud parents of Mark via a surrogate. Marie has brittle bone disease and uses a wheelchair, so aspects of being a mum can be challenging. As Mother’s Day approaches, Marie tells us how Mark is growing up. 

Well, what can I say? Mark is now two years and three months old and we simply do not know where that time has gone.Mark plays with a sponge football

It’s a cliché to say ‘They grow up so fast’, but they really do! We are having so much fun and Mark has an amazing social life. He attends ‘Stay and Play’, ‘Mini Strikers’ and ‘Rugby Tots’ twice a week. ‘Rugby Tots’ has a Saturday session so daddy can come along too.

We have been out and about so much that I have recently had to have new tyres and motors on my powerchair. 1200 miles of mostly outdoor wheeling in a year will do that!

I’m enjoying everything about being a mum and I especially love being able to drive Mark to all his children centre activities in my adapted van. People stare and seem amazed when they see you are a disabled mum but when they see you driving your son around in a VW Caravelle with controls that look like they came from a games console, there are even more amazed looks!

I’m so grateful for the Motability scheme. The independence it gives me to enable me to take my son places like any other parent is what the scheme is all about.

He doesn’t see me any differently

Mark is getting even bigger and stronger and the challenges of being a small brittle mum are constantly changing. Mark (like any other adventurous toddler) likes to climb and jump so we need to be careful as there is a risk of him hurting me. Mark is now getting to the age where he understands that mummy could get hurt and so knows that daddy is who you go to for rough and tumble!

Mark running and smiling on the beach

I do really miss being able to physically pick him up but we still sit next to each other and cuddle on the sofa for story time before bed. We also love to hold hands and watch Peppa Pig together (Mark’s favourite!)

Now that Mark is walking and running independently, some things are a lot easier. He can walk over to me and climb up to my wheelchair when he wants a kiss or wants to see me. He’s even started passing me a cushion before I am about to climb onto the sofa as he knows I use one to transfer.

He doesn’t see me any differently. I’m just mum and he likes being helpful. He has an obsession at the moment with making sure daddy wears his slippers around the house!

Remembering my mum

Mother’s day is fast approaching and some days I still have to pinch myself to realise this is still real, that I’m a mum and we have a beautiful son. My only wish is that my own mother could have lived to see him. She sadly passed away a year before he was born but I’m proud to say she knew our plans and was as excited as we were. I know that she is looking down on us and I would like to use this blog to honour her and thank her for everything she did for me. Without her I wouldn’t be where I am now or have the knowledge I have to be a mum myself.

Marie with her mum

Hopes and fears for the future

Like any mum I have my fears and hopes for my child’s future. I think because of my own brittle bones I am always afraid of Mark getting hurt.

My biggest fear is him falling off a bike or out of a tree when he is older and him getting a fracture himself (even though he doesn’t share my condition). I fear this for him because I know how much it hurts and never want him to experience it! At the same time, I know I would be the best person to help him through it.

My hopes for his future are that he will always be happy. I want him to have the childhood that I never had. Already he does so much for a two year old I know that we will succeed in making his childhood the best it possibly can be. Every day he’s doing something from football to visiting the zoo. My other hope for him is that one day we will be blessed again with a second child so he can be a big brother.

Marie, Dan and Mark enjoy lunch at a restaurant by the sea

Scope’s online community has loads of tips for parents and families. Visit our tips pages and get involved.

This Mother’s Day is going to be tough

At three foot six and with brittle bone disease, raising a baby was always going to have its challenges. Last November Marie and her husband Dan became the proud parents of Mark, via a surrogate. As Mother’s Day approaches, guest-blogger Marie reflects that one of the hardest things is not having her own mum around.

Marie holding her baby
Marie with her baby Mark

This Mother’s Day is going to be tough. It will be really happy because it will be my first year of being a mum, but it will be difficult because my mum won’t be there. My mum died in October 2012, so this will only be my second Mother’s Day without her.

I think about my mum every single day. For some reason, when I am giving Mark his feed at about eight o’clock, I think about her the most. Mainly I think about how sad I am that she didn’t get to meet Mark and that she’s not here to experience what we’re experiencing.

Mark is growing every day, getting bigger every day. He’s doing more, like he started giggling in the last few weeks. It’s amazing, but there are two sides to it. At one end of the spectrum, I’m so happy because it’s our first baby, but at the other end, my mum’s not here to experience it.

I am glad that my mum knew what we were doing, that we were trying to have a baby. She was a bit worried at first about how we would cope physically, but when we explained that there would always be someone with me, she was fine.

She knew I just need a strong pair of arms to enable me to do things, because she was that strong pair of arms for so long. Now, my personal assistant and my husband Dan do the lifting for me: lifting Mark on to me, lifting him into his buggy, or lifting him from his cot. Once Mark is within my reach I can pretty much do most of the tasks for him on my own. But when something happens in life you naturally want to ring your mum and I can’t do that anymore.

It’s difficult, but now I just have to focus on being a mum to my little one and do what she used to do with me, with him. Sometimes when me and Dan bath him, if it’s a bit chilly, I put his clothes on the radiator to the warm them up and that’s something my mum used to do with me.

And if I’m ever feeling down, Mark is always there to pick me up. One of the best things is his smile. His eyes are so big and blue. As soon as I wake up in the morning I look over at him and he just smiles. And that just makes me happy all the time.

Marie is blogging about being a disabled mum for Scope, and has been raising awareness by talking to Sunday People