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‘Celebrating diverse motherhood’: Physically disabled women’s counter-narratives to their stigmatised identity as mothers

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This study examined how disabled women negotiated their stigmatised identity as mothers by presenting counter-narratives to the culturally dominant narrative of disabled motherhood. Eleven Finnish physically disabled mothers were interviewed. The data were analysed by focusing on these counter-narratives, their linguistic features and their functions in the interviews. The disabled mothers produced four types of counter-narratives about their motherhood experiences: (1) celebrating diverse motherhood through individual coping; (2) performing motherhood through collaborative caring; (3) boosting motherhood through praising one’s children; and (4) normalising (disabled women’s) motherhood through identifying with the mother community. All the counter-narratives included explicit or implicit references to the culturally dominant narratives of disabled motherhood, but instead of taking their stigmatised identity for granted, they adopted a critical position towards it. Producing counter-narratives enabled the disabled mothers to position themselves as good mothers and care providers, and not as questionable mothers or recipients of care.
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Keywords: counter-narrative; disability ; motherhood; narrative research; stigma

Affiliations: University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Appeared or available online: Fri Aug 25 08:15:00 UTC 2017

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