A Disabled Single Mother

Life is a journey filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, and challenges that test our strength and resilience. For some, like me, the journey is even more arduous due to the intersection of disability and single motherhood. Being a disabled single mother of two children has its own unique set of struggles, but determination, and unwavering love for my children, I have learned to navigate life’s obstacles with grace and courage.

Tyra Randle and family

My journey as a disabled single mother began unexpectedly, as life often does. On January 15 of 2020, I was shot 8 times and one of those lovely bullets left me paralyzed. Suddenly, the life I had envisioned for myself, and my children was turned upside down. The challenges seemed insurmountable. How would I provide for my children? How would I meet their needs while struggling to meet my own? How can I heal them while healing myself?

As a single mommy, there is no one to share the responsibilities and burdens of parenting with. Every decision, every sacrifice, falls squarely on my shoulders. Add to that the physical limitation imposed by my disability, and the weight of responsibility feels even heavier. Simple tasks that many take for granted like lifting a child, running errands, making bottles at night, or even potty training became a monumental feat for me.

Despite these challenges, I have found strength in the unconditional love I have for my children. They are my motivation, my reason for pushing through the pain. Every smile, every hug, every “I love you, Mommy” reminds me that I am not alone in this crazy life. My babies give me the strength to keep going, to keep fighting, no matter how difficult the road may seem.

One of the biggest struggles I face as a disabled single mother is the constant juggling act of balancing my own needs with those of my children. There are days when the pain is so overwhelming, yet I push through because my babies need me. Guilt creeps in when I can’t do things for them like attending a school event, play hide and seek, or just simply being the active energetic mother I used to be.

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Imagine waking up every morning to face the day with basically half a body and limitations that others may not understand. Simple tasks like getting out of bed preparing breakfast and getting the kids ready for school can feel like climbing a step mountain. Try doing all of this while in pain or having spasms.

Being a mother is a challenging and rewarding experience in itself, but being a disabled single mother raising two children adds another layer of complexity to an already demanding role. Every single day is a battle against physical limitations, societal barriers, and emotional struggles. Despite all of those challenges, I try to lead by example and demonstrate resilience, determination and how to beat adversity. One of the biggest struggles I face is the lack of support and understanding from society. People often underestimate my abilities and question my ability to raise my children. When I express to them what all I do, and can-do people look so surprised. The stereotype of the “ideal mother” and someone who is abled-bodied and independent can make it even more challenging for disabled mothers to feel accepted and respected in their parenting journey.

Now, don’t get me wrong, life would be so much easier with a partner or a husband. But sometimes life doesn’t go the way you wanted or planned. Being disabled isn’t a choice nor is being a single mother. But at the end of the day, you put one wheel in front of the other and keep on pushing.

Learn more about Pregnancy & Paralysis

About the Author - Tyra Randle

My name is Tyra Randle, and I'm a domestic violence survivor. On January 15 of 2020, I was shot 8 times in my home by my son's father and was left paralyzed. Since then, I have devoted my life to being an advocate for domestic violence survivors as well as the disabled community. Now, as an experienced and esteemed public speaker, Diamond in the Rough aims to deliver education, inspiration and hope to a variety of audiences. I have been featured on Good Morning America, collaborated with "Disabled but not Really," and participated in conferences and webinars. TikTok: @tyinthecity Facebook: Tyra Randle or Diamond In The Rough Instagram: @diamond_inthe_roughKC

Tyra Randle

The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.