Shooting my mouth off

I learned a valuable lesson today. I think. Don’t agree to be interviewed whilst pregnant and highly hormonal/grumpy.

I was asked by the Al Jazeera news team if they could come over to interview me for a piece they were doing about disability. My knee-jerk was a definite ‘no’, which I assumed on reflection, was the wrong response because I was usually saying no to things instead of ‘yes’. So I changed my mind.

I thought it would be a straight-forward Q&A with the interviewer’s line of questioning being edited out afterwards. This was a significant assumption, because any comment I made would look like I was simply ranting/fuming at society’s attitude towards disabled people, rather than reacting in an aggressive, paranoid fashion towards the interviewer.

So all was going well with the line of questioning being intelligent and sympathetic until I was asked ‘why are you having a baby if you’re disabled and need all this support?’ I was pretty (perhaps naively) taken aback by this – what a thing to say to a heavily pregnant woman who has 6 weeks left, and has just opened her heart up to you about her disability and how society views it!

So I let rip. It was an ignorant, stupid question, I responded. And it made me sad that people still had this view that disabled people didn’t have a right to have children, and anyway, why should I even justify my and my partner’s choice to have a child to someone I don’t even know and didn’t know me?

He looked pretty sheepish and we moved on.

I felt instantly mortified by my reaction. Could I not have just said simply ‘why should my disability stop me from having a child?’ Could I not have just replied calmly with ‘I have a huge support network behind me and both my partner and I are in a good financial situation right now, our decision to have a child was based on that, and the fact that our baby will be well loved and supported and will have everything they could ever need.’

Then they wanted to do some filming of me ‘pottering’ around the house – stroking the cat, sitting at my computer, making a cup of tea, reading in the garden. Major trauma this, because mistake #2: I hadn’t realised they were going to do this and therefore the only tidy room of the flat was the lounge. The hallway is full of baby things and the kitchen is a tip. And that’s all on camera, for everyone to see and judge.

They were really nice guys, the Al Jazeera team, and I am pretty traumatised/mortified that I let my pregnancy hormones affect my response to a seemingly innocent question….

Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks. Time for a chocolate biscuit, I think.


Blog, Disability, DLA

1 Comment

  • wisehedgecrone


    They might be ‘really nice guys’ but they shouldn’t make ignorant and offensive comments. If they’re that ‘nice’ then they will realise they fouled up. I suspect the interviewer is kicking himself hard too now. And I stand by my view that you were right to react the way you did. A homophobic or racist comment would be equally offensive and attract a similarly angry response and no one would question that. Disability issues are in the same league. So now be compassionate towards yourself and your reaction, take a breath and move forwards.