Experiences of being a parent in a wheelchair | Ade Adepitan and Linda Harrison on Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Podcast
Series Eight of the Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast continues as we’re joined by Paralympian, children’s author and TV presenter Ade Adepitan and his wife singer/songwriter Linda Harrison (aka Elle Exxe). Not only that, but their son Bolla wanted to get in on the action too, and if there’s one podcast where babies are welcome, it’s gotta be Happy Mum Happy Baby, right?!
Ade and Linda have been together for a decade and have, in that time, been on loads of adventures together. But most recently, they’ve embarked on arguably the biggest adventure of all – parenthood. Bolla was born in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and this hugely impacted the way both Ade and Linda experienced Linda’s pregnancy and Bolla’s birth.
They talk about their first meeting at the National TV Awards, when Ade described seeing Linda as “a beautiful ray of light with this most amazing smile”, their decision to start trying for a baby and the feeling of leaving the hospital with the “precious thing” that is a baby”.
Amongst all of that, Ade speaks frankly about his experiences of being a parent in a wheelchair and his fear of being judged by other parents: “One of my biggest fears was always could I be a good father in all the ways that an able bodied person would be a good father? The first time I went out with the ergo sling on my own with Bolla, I was really nervous about it. I was thinking. what if I fall out of my wheelchair, what if Bolla starts screaming and people start looking at me, thinking I’m not fit to look after a baby?
“I think the feat for a lot of disabled parents is that we’ll be judged by able bodied parents as not being capable of looking after our children.”
They speak too about Linda’s determination to make sure Ade was able to parent in the same way she was, when Ade explained: “Linda researches everything. She was constantly like if we’re gonna get a pram we’re gonna get a pram that works for Ade, that Ade’s going to be able to push as well. If we’re going to get an ergo sling we’ve got something that works for you. I never think about myself in that way. I’m so used to accepting that this world is not built for me and just making do.”
Linda is also really honest about her fears around labour – something we reckon many Mums will identify with – and how the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated that: “I’d always been scared of labor. Everyone talks about it and it’s a necessary thing that you have to go through but I just wasn’t somebody that felt that my body was made for this. I was like my body is not made for this and I don’t know how it’s gonna happen and the one thing that I thought would get me through was having Ade there. I was like I know if he is by my side I can do this and so yeah there was a definite fear of him potentially not being there, especially because he wasn’t allowed to any of the appointments.”
Watch Ade Adepitan and Linda Harrison’s conversation with Gi below, or find it wherever you usually listen to your podcasts. We’re in all of the regular places! Check out all other episodes of Happy Mum Happy Baby here.