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Able To Parent

April 22, 2021

Emily Yates and her partner Christopher ‘ CJ’ Johnston have been together four years. CJ really wants a baby but Emily – a wheelchair-user with Cerebral Palsy – has fears and barriers that she feels she needs to overcome.

Will she be able to carry a baby? What extra strain will her disability put on her and CJ’s relationship as parents? What impact will her disability have on their child as he or she grows up?

To help quell these concerns and make a final decision, the couple look around them for advice and inspiration. They meet Kelly, a powerchair-user and mum to two boys, who offers practical advice on handling trickier situations. Megan was raised by a paraplegic mother and gives a child’s perspective, while the artist Alison Lapper – arguably Britain’s highest-profile disabled parent – shares her story, including the astonishing level of vitriol she received during her pregnancy. In 2019, Alison’s son Parys tragically died of an accidental drug overdose. How will this experience colour Alison’s advice to Emily and CJ?

As they explore all this together, Emily increasingly realises that many of the barriers she faces are ones of perception rather than practicality.

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