By the mobileWOMEN.org Team
Misconception #1: We can't speak for ourselves.
Ever notice when you're in a restaurant and the hostess asks the person you are with, where you would like to sit?
Guess what? We are able to communicate ourselves! Even if someone can’t speak, chances are they have found a way to express themselves. We lead active, productive lives and have no problem answering a question or finding another restaurant!
Misconception #2: If you're married, you must've married before you sustained your injury/disability.
No, actually we do date and have active social lives. We have plenty to offer in a relationship. Many can see our strengths, attributes and beauty!
Misconception #3: Women with disabilities don’t have sex.
We can. We do. We like.
Women with disabilities have the same needs and desires as everyone else. They are also used to being creative and thinking outside-the-box, so watch out!
Misconception #4: Your spouse must be in a wheelchair too.
Yes, some us do have spouses in wheelchairs, but many of us do not. That’s like assuming we only date people of the same race!
Misconception #5: Women with disabilities aren't capable of being mothers.
Not true! Women with disabilities make loving and capable mothers. There are plenty of products and modification ideas out there to help mothers care for their children, in ways most conducive to them.
Misconception #6: All women with disabilities are "special” and should be treated that way.
This couldn't be further from the truth! Yes, we are super amazing but we actually want to be treated like others, as an equal. Yes, we have challenges but doesn't everyone? The only difference, is that ours is visible. It’s ok to complain to us too – we like to know that we can be of help and are grateful to be treated as any other friend.
Misconception 7: Because you have a disability, you must be depressed all the time and sad.
We all have our moments.There is no disputing that there are obstacles and things can be frustrating at times, but many of us lead fulfilling, joyful lives. In fact, because we have had to face adversity, we actually know how to appreciate things in life and learn to not sweat the small stuff.
One of our contributors shared, “There have been so many times in my life that I have been asked how I got somewhere. People are always surprised when I say, "I drove myself." I love being able to get into my van and go. It gives me such a feeling of independence”
Misconception #9: Women with disabilities can't work.
Another contributor shared, “I worked for 29 years. Whenever I had to schedule an appointment for a doctor or, especially, a medical supply company, they are so surprised when I would tell them that I worked! I used to get the feeling that they thought I sat around the house all day.”
Women with disabilities are “confined” to their wheelchair.
Media portrays the use of wheelchairs or other adaptive devices in a negative way when in fact, they enable us to do all the things that we do each and every day - get out of bed, run errands, go to work, raise our children, exercise and for some, even travel and dance. We aren’t "confined to it"; we are utilizing it to be mobileWOMEN!
When you are uncertain about a segment of the population like women with disabilities, our best advice is look them in the eyes and have a conversation with them. When we don’t know a group, there is a barrier but when those boundaries are broken, we see commonalities with similar goals and inherently, become one.
If you know some common misconceptions, we would love to hear them on our mobileWOMEN.org Facebook page.
Also, please share this with your friends as you will be taking a small step towards breaking boundaries!