How to support the needs of mothers with physical disabilities?

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Purpose: The objectives of this study were: (1) to understand and describe the challenges that women with physical disabilities face during their motherhood process; (2) to understand and describe their strengths, and (3) to produce a list of supports that health professionals and policy makers should apply in order to address the needs of these mothers. Methods: The study was conducted within the phenomenological-constructivist paradigm. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 mothers age 32-62 with various physical disabilities. Results: The findings revealed both physical and mental challenges that these women have faced during their motherhood. Although these challenges, the women evaluated that motherhood, in the context of disability, helped them to develop positive disability identity, to frame and accept their interdependence and to become resilient. Their disability also influenced the children, i.e. they have learned how to cope with difficulties. The mothers recommended making the environment more accessible for them, providing physical and emotional support, parental guidance, information about their rights, and financial benefits to meet their children's needs. Conclusions: Mothering with a disability can result in personal growth, but this positive process requires interdependence, creative and collaborative approach applied in rehabilitation practices.Implications for RehabilitationSupporting mothers with physical disabilities should address not only their physical needs but also their mental and social needs. In particular, mothers with physical disabilities want and need parental guidance as well as accessible recreational activities for them and their children.An interdependence and creative approach should be applied in rehabilitation practices in a way that recognizes the right of women with physical disabilities to become mothers, express their needs and develop solutions in collaboration with health professionals.Health professionals should look for strengths of mothers with physical disabilities and use their strengths to accomplish personal aims within individual rehabilitation programs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)928-935
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015


  • Coping
  • Disability
  • Motherhood
  • Support

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation


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