Heather Kuttai

A respected leader, administrator, coach, athlete, writer, and mother, Heather Kuttai has been spinal cord injured for over three decades. She is a three-time Paralympic medallist and an experienced provincial and national team coach. She pioneered Disability Services for Students at the University of Saskatchewan, and in addition to being an advocate for students with disabilities and the creator of several student retention programs, she was also responsible for the development and writing of a University policy for this office. While at the U of S Kuttai worked on several research and writing projects. A sought-after motivational public speaker, Kuttai is frequently asked to make public presentations on topics such as disability, dealing with adversity, parenting, and sport. She was recently inducted into the Saskatchewan Sport Hall of Fame and received a YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Leadership and Management.

  • Maternity Rolls

    Pregnancy, Childbirth and Disability

    By Heather Kuttai     April 2010

    Heather Kuttai is a 40-year-old white, heterosexual woman. She is married and is the mother of two children. Living in a quiet, middle-class neighbourhood, her life is, in many ways, seemingly the quintessential picture of what many consider to be traditional. However, her life is not as conventional as it appears: she is a paraplegic and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Her disability dramatically changes the picture. Much of the writing about the experiences of women and mothers excludes the stories of women with disabilities. Established norms dictate that a mother’s body be “healthy” and “whole.” Because the body with disabilities is often seen for what it cannot do, taking on the role of mother can give the body a different value, status and worth. Heather’s experiences as a woman with a disability experiencing pregnancy and childbirth offers insights into what is already known about women’s bodies. The stories she tells of her life, her pregnancies and giving birth illustrate both her self-awareness and her awareness of our society’s negative perceptions of disability.