A wife not a caregiver

Emmanuella Akinola
Posted January 10, 2021 from Nigeria
A wife not a caregiver
Emmanuella Akinola standing by her husband Opeolu Akinola

One of the things I never expected when getting married to a disabled person was that I will be called a “caregiver” From my understanding a caregiver is someone who is volunteers or is paid to look after  child, elderly person, sick person or disabled persons. Most time the recipient of the care does not have the capacity to return same.

I am a wife to a disabled person not a care giver. This means that my husband who is blind has the capacity to give me as much care as I would.

In 2011, I was invited to serve in a disability right advocacy group, on my first meeting a fellow member told me to note that I was invited to represent care givers. My response was, I am sorry I cannot serve in that capacity because my experience is different from such.

When you call a spouse of persons with disability a care giver you are stripping the couple of their full life. You are directly saying the spouse with disability has nothing to offer you, so you are in for a job. This is what necessitate questions like: how do you cope? How does he dress up? Why did you allow him travel alone? Etc When I said “Yes I do” 13 years oga I did not sign a contract letter that says you are in for a job, he made promises which he know he has the capacity to fulfil.

Any way being a wife in itself requires I give my husband care in whatever area he might need it whether he is disabled or not and in his capacity as husband he give me care. Therefore,  we are both caregivers.

Let spouses of disabled persons enjoy their relationships don’t prescribed responsibilities don’t create labels form your imagination.

 

Comments 7

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Tarke Edith
Jan 10
Jan 10

Hello sister
thank you for being a care giver to your husband
you know dear what God has join together can not be separated by man.
Thanks for being there for him dear.
keep up sis
love you

Emmanuella Akinola
Jan 11
Jan 11

Thank you Sis.

Nini Mappo
Jan 11
Jan 11

Hello Emanuella,
I am glad that you can take back ground and educate others about the relational codependence in a marriage even if one spouse has a disability. I was thinking if I were you I would have accepted the invitation to serve in that capacity because I would inject a new perspective and empowerment to spouses who forgot that they were also receiving care from the 'spouse in need of care.'

I know that in developed countries the reference of family members of persons living with a disability as carers is to acknowledge the possible challenges of living with a disability and provide resources and extra support if needed, but if in your context it feels like devaluing the other spouse then there is a problem. We all have inherent value as human beings, whether we have a disability or not, and what we contribute should be acknowledged and valued, however great or small.

Good on you for defending your right to be a Wife who cares and is cared for, not only a carer. Many blessings to you and your family!

Emmanuella Akinola
Jan 11
Jan 11

Thank you so much Nini, I actually served on the project just kept correcting the label. I really appreciate your understanding.

Hello, Emmanuella,

You have a message to share with the world, dear. May all men with disabilities find a wife like you. May my 7-year-old son with special needs and disabilities find a wife like you one day. I have met many young girls who have a list of men they are to marry and this guy needs to be physically perfect. It takes an extraordinary woman like you to embrace and accept a man for who he is and be willing to receive his love in return.

What a lovely post this is. I am so glad I read your story, dear. Please tell us more. How did you meet? What was about him that you fell in love with? What captured your heart? What captured his heart? I love LOVE STORIES. Please write a post about it.

KABAHENDA KIGGUNDU
Feb 17
Feb 17

Hello Emmanuella,

Emmanuella,

I applaud you for raising an important issue about spouses with disabilities. The societal expectation, in African society especially, is that the spouse without disabilities, usually a wife will provide all the care for the husband.
Of course, when your husband married you, he knew that he would provide for you and you will also provide for him.
I am glad that you are challenging perceptions that make wives "care-givers" or "unpaid workers" of men with disabilities.
Being disabled is not a disease and there many men with disabilities who lead very productive lives and who are still the bread-winners in their families.
Your husband may be blind but that does not mean that he is disabled in all other aspects of his life.
Your point is very clear: being disabled does not mean being incapacitated. I am sure that it will help other women in similar situations to stand and say that they are partners of their disabled husbands not "unpaid workers."

Thank you for this great awareness raising. Keep it up.

Laetitia Shindano
Feb 20
Feb 20

Merci chère pour le partage de votre expérience qui va éclairer et edifier beaucoup de gens qui pensent qu'une personne handicapée est nulle en toute chose. Vraiment votre mari en est l'illustration au vu des services que vous vous rendez mutuellement.

A la prochaine.