Mothering Hands is a concept inspired by observations of the gaps in fractured and fragmented current service delivery system for families with children with disabilities in the Washington, DC area. There are trauma spots along the journey for families navigating the care system from suspecting a condition to receiving an initial diagnosis to care coordination for the long term supports and services needed. While there are variety of ways families encounter the care system, ranging from the NICU to the pediatrician to an early childhood care provider, to social services case management and even in the school system at any age; there is a consistency in the lack of social emotional supports offered to families at all these entry points in engaging the disability care systems for their loved ones. Per these observations, the concept of an organization aimed to offer emotionally intelligent support for families of children with disabilities navigating the care system was born.
At the core, Mothering Hands is a cooperative business model aimed at helping families generate sustainable income by leveraging the lived experiences navigating currently fractured system of care and establishing a unique platform improve their lives through our membership. We do this by creating opportunities to promote and sell care packages, offer trauma-informed peer counseling to new families first encountering the disabilities care system, join in staffing our community-based programs and work as partners in the establishment of a family-centered home health agency.
Membership in Mothering Hands is open to everyone who wants to contribute to improving the disability system of care for children and families. Programming and services are targeted to family members; and financial opportunities through our network prioritize those with the lived experiences as primary caretakers, siblings and service providers for children with disabilities. In promoting inclusion, there are social events that are open to families of nondisabled children and the community at large.
What is mothering?
What if mothering is about the ‘how’ of it? In 1987, Hortense Spillers wrote ‘Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: A New American Grammar Book,’ reminding her peers that motherHOOD is a status granted by patriarchy to white middle-class women, those women whose legal rights to their children are never questioned, regardless of who does the labor (the how) of keeping them alive. MotherING is another matter, a possible action, the name for that nurturing work, that survival dance…Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines – edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Willaims (Preface by Loretta J. Ross)