The grace of motherhood: Disabled women contending with societal denial of intimacy, pregnancy, and motherhood in Ethiopia

Belaynesh Tefera*, M.L. van Engen, J.J.L. Van der Klink, Alice Schippers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

This study aimed to provide better understanding of intimacy and marriage, pregnancy, birth, and motherhood experiences of women with disability in Ethiopia. Qualitative, in-depth, and semi-structured interviews along with personal observations were used to explore the full experiences of participants, as told in their own words. The result of the interviews indicated that relationships and motherhood proved a very rewarding option for women with disabilities. They also expressed their need for intimacy regardless of society's denial. Challenges identified include negative societal attitudes toward women with disabilities regarding relationship, pregnancy, and child-rearing. Accessibility of health centers in addition to the ignorance and negative attitudes of the physicians are also reported to be major challenges for the interviewees. This study highlights how rewarding the experience of motherhood was for the interviewees and also shows that women with disabilities face challenges at every step of their experiences, because of society's prejudices toward disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1510-1533
JournalDisability & Society
Volume32
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Motherhood
  • intimacy
  • pregnancy
  • disabled women
  • Ethiopia
  • QUALITY-OF-LIFE
  • DISABILITY CULTURE
  • EDUCATION
  • ABUSE

Cite this

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title = "The grace of motherhood: Disabled women contending with societal denial of intimacy, pregnancy, and motherhood in Ethiopia",
abstract = "This study aimed to provide better understanding of intimacy and marriage, pregnancy, birth, and motherhood experiences of women with disability in Ethiopia. Qualitative, in-depth, and semi-structured interviews along with personal observations were used to explore the full experiences of participants, as told in their own words. The result of the interviews indicated that relationships and motherhood proved a very rewarding option for women with disabilities. They also expressed their need for intimacy regardless of society's denial. Challenges identified include negative societal attitudes toward women with disabilities regarding relationship, pregnancy, and child-rearing. Accessibility of health centers in addition to the ignorance and negative attitudes of the physicians are also reported to be major challenges for the interviewees. This study highlights how rewarding the experience of motherhood was for the interviewees and also shows that women with disabilities face challenges at every step of their experiences, because of society's prejudices toward disability.",
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The grace of motherhood : Disabled women contending with societal denial of intimacy, pregnancy, and motherhood in Ethiopia. / Tefera, Belaynesh; van Engen, M.L.; Van der Klink, J.J.L.; Schippers, Alice.

In: Disability & Society, Vol. 32, No. 10, 2017, p. 1510-1533.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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