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Constructing the (M)other

Narratives of Disability, Motherhood, and the Politics of «Normal»


Edited By Priya Lalvani

Constructing the (M)other is a collection of personal narratives about motherhood in the context of a society in which disability holds a stigmatized position. From multiple vantage points, these autoethnographies reveal how ableist beliefs about disability are institutionally upheld and reified. Collectively they seek to call attention to a patriarchal surveillance of mothering, challenge the trope of the good mother, and dismantle the constructed hierarchy of acceptable children. The stories contained in this volume are counter-narratives of resistance—they are the devices through which mothers push back. Rejecting notions of the otherness of their children, in these essays, mothers negotiate their identities and claim access to the category of normative motherhood. Readers are likely to experience dissonance, have their assumptions about disability challenged, and find their parameters of normalcy transformed.

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Chapter Six: Mothering While Black: Shapeshifting Amid Ableism, Racism, and Autism (LaChan V. Hannon)


chapter 6

Mothering While Black

Shapeshifting Amid Ableism, Racism, and Autism

LaChan V. Hannon

“But, I love you…” Avery pouted. His face was still with disappointment as I stopped him from snuggling around my neck.

Mike fussed, “Boy, get off her!”

I’m not sure if it was territorialism I sensed between them, or just a father-son relationship.

Maybe, it was a bit of both. But there was something in my husband’s tone that I could not attend to in the moment. I looked at Avery’s sad eyes and gently said, “But, I don’t want hugs right now, Avery. No, means no. Look at me, please. I need for you to be able to stop when someone tells you to stop. It will save your life.” He looked at me with his typical blank wide eyes. “Do you remember when we used to play red light, green light? You would hear me say ‘red light’ and you’d freeze like a statue in your tracks? That’s the same way I need you to listen now. When a girl or boy doesn’t want your hugs and says no, they are saying, ‘RED LIGHT. STOP.’ Do you understand?”

“But, I love you…”

“And, I love you too, but no means no AND stop. You have to always ask permission to touch someone, even your family, even your friends, even when you’re playing. You MUST ask permission....

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