Interview with Alice
Int: So, @@Alice## I generally start these conversations by asking you to tell me about yourself and then we'll talk about your experience. Resp: Okay. My name is @@Alice##. I've been deaf, a deaf person, I mostly uses sign language, I use it as well. I work as, well I was a well-known advocate in the deaf community. I did a mentoring role for young deaf adults. I work with @@NGO## which is the national charity of deafness and hearing loss. And most of my work would involve working primarily
... solely within the deaf community. I've had a chequered career. I've worked in [00:00:47.1]. I've been a civil servant, I've worked in IT, I've worked in retail, I've worked in so many different... The only thing I haven't worked in is with food. I'm not working with anything to do with food, I think. Int: Hospitality. Resp: Yeah, it's the only thing I haven't worked in. But I became deaf when I was two from meningitis. So, I wasn't born deaf and I was what's called a mainstream educated deaf person which is why I have my speech. Int: Okay. Resp: I was speaking before I came deaf as well. But because I became deaf when I was two, I'm still regarded as a pre-lingual person which means I became deaf before I was... My mother said I was talking the very same and after I became deaf. I think that's really why I have an ability to talk and an ability to be able to pronounce my words. It's not perfect. I know I have a speech impediment as well but I do my best. I don't make any apologies. So, I am who I am. I'm married to @@Laura## and we have two children. Well I'm the biological mum of the two children and I had them before I got together with @@Laura##. But because@@Laura## is my partner, she regards them as her children as well. Int: So, you went on that journey as a lone parent? Resp: I started off my journey as a lone parent. Yes, I did, yes. I mean I was in a relationship years ago with my son's dad and that lasted about three years and me and him weren't working out. We parted very amenably. He's now 22, my son is 22 and he lives with his dad. He chose to live with his dad since he was 18 and I have a 15-year old daughter by another relationship. But a fling, basically a fling and I chose to have her. I mean a lot of people were telling me I was mad to have her considering who her dad was and there was a lot of media, highlights, publication about him at the time but I chose to go ahead and have her and I've no regrets to this day. But she considers my wife her mum as well. So, a lot of people think when they meet us that @@Laura## is the mum and I'm just the other mother, you know, because she's so like @@Laura##. They're the same [00:03:07.3]. She's much tall, she's a great singer but nobody in my family can sing. @@Laura## is a singer and all @@Laura's## family are musicians. So, you know, it's just a strange... Int: The story of nurture over nature. Resp: Yeah, it does. So, anyway, that's me. I don't know what else I can say on that maybe, you know. Int: That's very interesting. So, your two children are from a heterosexual relationship rather than you going down the road of IVF and it being a same-sex kind of partnership. Resp: Correct, yes, it is. I didn't go into any of that at all, you know. Neither of my children were planned. Neither of them were planned, they just happened and that's it, you know. Int: And can you tell me what your support was like when you were pregnant with your children? So, I suppose you've had a good, there was a seven-year gap between two of them. Resp: Yeah. Int: So, can we talk about your first one maybe and what it was like in terms of the appointments that you had, your antenatal appointments, were they accessible? What sort of support, where did you look for support? If it was unplanned sometimes that can be you know, an [00:04:12.0] time. Resp: Yeah, I went through... When I first got pregnant, I think looking back in @@late 90's##, in @@late 90's## I was pregnant. There was a still an attitude towards being a mother and being deaf. There was a lot of people going oh, you're pregnant oh my God, what are you going to do and all this type of thing. Even my mum was disgusted, didn't want me to come home at all. My mam had a pub in the West of Ireland and considered herself to be you know, a person of... Int: The community. Resp: Yeah, a very important person in the community and she didn't want me to be dragging up, couldn't name it to the birth because I was [00:04:56.3]. He was my boyfriend for quite a while, it didn't matter. And I was @@mid twenties## years old. It didn't matter. Certainly not respectable. It took her a long time to get used to it. In fact, I never saw her from the time she found out I was pregnant until I think my son was about four-weeks old. Int: Okay. Resp: And the only reason I saw her was she ended up in hospital and she'd had the last rights and I had to go down to see her.