Living as a Mom in a Wheelchair


As a mom of three in a wheelchair, I draw plenty of attention.

I get questioned from little kids all the time; “Why can’t you walk?” “Are your legs broken?” or “Why are you in there?” 

At first, the mom or dad is just horrified and humiliated that their child would ask me such a question, but they start to relax the moment they see me smile.

I’ll usually start with something simple to see if that will pacify them. I simply state that my legs don’t work anymore. Kids, will be kids, though, so more often then not they ask, “Why?”.

I’ll usually twist my mouth a little and pretend to ponder their question as if it is the most important question ever. And it is; they really want to know.

I tell them that we all have nerves in our back that are kind of like a cord on a lamp, and my cord was cut, so it no longer works. The nerves send special signals to your legs and arms so they move but my legs don’t get the special signals anymore.

The child will usually look at me funny and just say, “oh, ok”. It’s almost always the exact same conversation. The same looks. The same reaction from the parents. Yet, each time it makes me proud to know that a child has learned that they can inquire about things. They can learn about different walks (or rolls) of life. Everybody is different yet we all share the same desire to be a part of each other’s worlds.

Parents: Please, let your child ask questions. Don’t be afraid of what someone will think. Chances are, they’re happy to tell your child why their hair is blue, or they have a scar down their face. They want to inform you but if you don’t ask, how will they know you care?

So how exactly do I chase three boys, while sitting in a wheelchair? I get asked variations on that questions fairly often and it’s not a question that I can really answer with words. I just do it. See for yourself…


About the writer

Priscilla Hedlin is the voice behind the The Wheelchair Mommy blog. She's a homeschool mom to 3 boys, ages 3, 6, & 9. No, she's NOT trying for her girl. The wheelchair has been making her butt look big since 1999. She's been happily married & living in Austin, Tx since 2002. You can frequently find her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

From Around the Web


Margaret 1 month ago

Am in a wheelchair can I have kids??

Sylvia Tavares 1 year ago

Hi, read your blog and was moved by your motivation. I look forward to Meeting you at Blog Elevated conference.

Anne Marie 1 year ago

I’m another mom in a wheelchair (well, mom-to-be) and I love it when kids ask questions because there is only curiosity in their question and it seems to make the adults around them more comfortable. Sure, I don’t know exactly how I will keep up with my little one when he is born but I do know I will find a way, that’s just what people do. We all adapt and figure life out,

Traci Shannon 1 year ago

I love that The Wheelchair Mommy shared her thoughts on the questions she is followed with everyday.

Jaclyn Rebecca 1 year ago

Love this post! I was diagnosed with MS shortly after my son was born and couldn’t pick him up or walk without a cane and some days I still do need it. I haven’t had a child ask about it yet and my son is only 18 months so it will be quite a while til he starts asking questions. I don’t know if I will end up in a wheelchair…all depends on the progression of the MS. The future scares the crap out of me BUT I won’t let it get in the way of the now. I try to stay in the best shape I can so I can keep walking and chasing (well stumbling really haha) after my son. I want to show my son that I don’t have a disability…but a diff ability. I want to show him you can do anything if you work hard at it even with limitations.

Kristin Shaw 1 year ago

So proud to see you here, Priscilla!!

Elaine Mingus 1 year ago

This makes me feel more comfortable about letting my kids ask “awkward” questions to those with disabilities. Right on, sister! Love your honesty.

Alison Kothmann 1 year ago

Priscilla! You are amazing! Thank you for the courage and heart to tell your story! God bless you and your husband and your family! I am so happy I met you!

Nicole Martel 1 year ago

Wow, that woman is amazing. I can’t imagine how hard her days are… sure she makes it look easy, but I’m sure it’s not!

Stephanie Stearns Dulli 1 year ago

I love this one. I love her take on how kids are curious and bear no ill will and just want to understand! Great post!

DeLinn Payne 1 year ago

As a former elementary school teacher, I love that you allow kids to be kids. Their curiosity is so natural, and it is usually parents/adults who have a harder time with things that are “different”. Love this post as a teacher, and as a mom.

Kristin Barclay 1 year ago

I’m really glad you shared this, as a Mom, I often struggle with when to let my kids exercise their curiosity and when to reign them back in. Even as an adult, I never know when its okay to ask questions, or to offer help, so thank you for sharing your point of view and giving us some guidance.

Katie Terry Corbridge 1 year ago

You are AMAZING Priscilla! xx

Priscilla Hedlin 1 year ago

I’m sorry to hear that @claire

MyLove M. Barnett 1 year ago

Both my dad and my husband’s dad are confined to wheelchairs, so our kids thankfully don’t go about asking those kinds of questions because they’re use to seeing it, but I have often wondered the best way to handle that when they get vocally nosey about other people’s issues out in public. Some people handle it with humor and grace (as exemplified here) and some people don’t. You can’t stop kids from being curious, but you can use it as a positive teaching moment. Thanks for this!

lesbomom 1 year ago

This was sooo moving. I have a friend who is a dad in a wheelchair because of MS. The difference is that he can walk and he has the braces, it is just extremely difficult and overly tiring for him. And man – there are some days that I can not keep up with him. I learned never to see the wheelchair as a disability with him. And now he is the full-time legal adoptive parent of his ex-wife’s children. And they keep him busy. But he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jessica McDougal 1 year ago

I am mom of three in a wheelchair and your so right lets the kids ask … they ask me all the time and I think its precious and awesome how up front kids are! My kids actually tell the other ones whats wrong with mommy they answer for me! This is a really cool article glad somebody posted about this!

Katie Calahan 1 year ago

Parenting is all about adaptation, for everyone. I just think as disabled mothers we get creative to stay independent and on top of things.

Kati Gardner 1 year ago

Mom on crutches (one leg and I don’t use a prosthesis). We all do what we have to do. I do get great parking though, so there’s an upside to everything. Katie Calahan I’d love your thoughts.

Kris Callaghan 1 year ago

awesome, but that video pretty much made me barfy. to much movement lol.
But I have one i can bearly keep up with and i have two working legs.
i dont get embarassed when my son asks questions, If the person gets made it’s like well it’s not like my son knows everything! I try to answer questions about why someone is someway or another but for the most part they answer his questions to. happily.

Daddy Fishkins 1 year ago

Priscilla is my favorite mom blogger – by far!

Nasha Gonzalez 1 year ago

Mom in a chair here, too. I see how easy some of these mom’s have it and I’m a little jealous, but this kid just brightens my day and I go above and beyond (if possible) for him.

Claire Louise Friis 1 year ago

I’m also in a wheelchair. My children who are now 19 , 18 and 16 find it hard to have a sick mom. They want a healthy mother, well I’d love to be healthy as well!! It’s tough being sick and a mom. My children have been in foster care for over 7 years because it’s classified as mental cruelty watching me in pain.

sammie 1 year ago

Thank you so much for sharing! I’m happy to read your post. I would initially be mortified as well to have my child be so forward, but like you pointed out it is important to let them inquire and learn. You rock, mama!

Catherine Koziupa Obrig 1 year ago

God bless her!!

Kristen Mae of Abandoning Pretense 1 year ago

Thank you so much for sharing this, mamma! xo

Lawry 1 year ago

You go Mom….but I have always hated that how do you do it question…no matter what the situation is the answer is always the same…you live your life and just do! And thanks for reaffirming my philosophy about different types of people…I always tell my 6 yr old if he wants to know why someone is in a wheelchair or missing a limb etc to ask nicely and don’t just stare! We had such an encounter with a injured vet at the airport and I was in tears by the end of his conversation because he was so sweet to explain what happened (kid version of course) and my son’s reaction of Thank You and giving him an unsolicited hug just tore me up!

Inese 1 year ago

I am keep reading your posts and can say- you are wonderful person. Unbelievable how you are managing boys and so busy day run. It really inspired me!:)

unforgiven 1 year ago

Such an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing.

    kay 1 year ago

    I have a mommy friend who is in a chair as well, and she puts ALL of us to shame! She is very active. Participates in marathons, travels to play in tennis tournaments and basketball competitions. She had a special bike made just for her to ride in a marathon. Trained for days on end, while her kids were in school. She is indeed a wonder woman!

    My hat off to you, Priscilla! Lord knows I would never have the strength and determination that you do!


Jody Caudle 1 year ago

From the time I was a child my mother had problems walking. She had Charcot Marie Tooth disease. She went from all manners of braces to walker to wheelchair. She lost her leg from the knee down. And eventually was paralyzed from the waist down. She never let anything stop her. She had gardens, animals,and volunteered at the Red Cross, along with being a wonderful mother to 5 children and 11 grandchildren. While I was growing up kids and adults always looked at her funny and asked questions but I don’t think it bothered her too much or she just never let it show. My amazing mother lost her battle in 07 at only 56. I applaud all women that tackle life like this. Its not always easy but they give it their all. Thanks to all the moms who fight these similar battles everyday!

Sue Kloetzer 1 year ago

Priscilla is an AMAZING mom, and her husband an amazing husband and father! We were part of an online group before she was married, then when she was pregnant with both of her boys….she’s since had a 3rd. :)


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