As someone who lives with Cerebral Palsy, it’s difficult for me to see myself as physically attractive. I rely on other people to help me use the restroom and take a shower. Needing assistance with such personal tasks has made my relationship with my body incredibly complicated. I find it extremely difficult to see myself as a whole human being.
I also find it hard to pursue an intimate relationship with somebody if I chose to. The idea of being intimate with someone is quite frightening to me. Eventually, my romantic partner would probably have to help me use the restroom or take a shower. It’s hard to separate my body from needing help and being attractive. Non-disabled people probably don’t worry about being a burden to their partner. For most of my life, ableism has made me feel unworthy of having a romantic partner.
I wouldn’t want my partner to think of me as a burden. Given that my partner would have to help me with specific tasks like driving and cooking, I wouldn’t want them to become sick of me and my needs. I wouldn’t want them to end up feeling like my babysitter. I worry even more about what could happen if I could need a medical procedure such as Botox injections for my lower limb spasticity. Would my partner want to stick by me when I needed them more than usual? I’ve always wondered what I’d be able to contribute to a romantic relationship if I were to pursue one.
I’ve often thought about having children later on in life as well. I do wonder if society would deem me unfit for motherhood because of my Cerebral Palsy. My biggest fear is that my child would resent the fact that they had a disabled mother. Would my child want a mother who could run around with them instead of one who might have to keep up with them from her power wheelchair? Would my child want a mother who couldn’t drive them to school because I can’t drive? I wouldn’t be able to go down slides with them or pick them up if they fell. However, just because I have CP doesn’t mean that I cannot raise a child if I so choose. I may have to find creative parenting solutions, but that is fine with me.
Cerebral Palsy affects every aspect of my life. I want people to know that those with physical disabilities can make great friends and romantic partners. Love is love regardless of ability. Give people like us a chance, and you just might find the right person for you.