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This Mother’s Day, Yvette Pegues reflects on her journey as a disabled mother raising two sons after a traumatic brain and spinal cord injury left her reliant on a wheelchair and caregiver. After experiencing multiple miscarriages, Yvette finally became a mother to two boys, but faced societal discrimination and scrutiny over her ability to parent due to her disability. Parents with disabilities, especially those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, often face high referral rates to child protective services and have a high likelihood of losing custody of their children.

Yvette’s children faced bullying and questions about their family dynamic, which led them to create a book to share their experiences with the world. As a Black, disabled, Afro Latina woman, Yvette’s experiences of discrimination and judgment as a mother were intensified. Despite the challenges, Yvette and her family persevered, with her children becoming her unwavering support system and advocates for disability rights.

Yvette’s journey forced her to redefine parenting roles with her husband taking on more caregiving duties and the family receiving support from friends, neighbors, and their church community. Yvette embraced vulnerability and allowed her sons to see her disability without shame, creating a strong bond based on empathy, advocacy, and caregiving. She prioritized her children’s emotional well-being and fostered a nurturing household that uplifted both parents and children.

Yvette’s disability became her parenting superpower, enabling her to show up for her children despite living with chronic pain. She and her sons have become advocates for disability rights and strive to normalize disability within family units. Yvette hopes that sharing her family’s story will make a difference for people with disabilities who are parents or want to be parents, emphasizing the importance of supporting parents with disabilities and challenging unfair judgments and family separations.

As a disabled DEIAB executive, engineer, and diversity champion, Yvette uses her platform to advocate for parents with disabilities and promote inclusion and acceptance. She encourages nondisabled parents to model allyship and educate their children about selflessness, access, and acceptance. Yvette believes that all parents, regardless of disability, deserve to experience the joys and struggles of parenthood and hopes her family’s story inspires others to embrace their own unique journeys.

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