Skip to Content

Adiba Nelson – Inclusion And Empowerment From The Stage To The Page

Adiba Nelson, author, mother, and disability rights advocate shares her lived experiences to help others feel less alone. She’s the subject of the moving Emmy-winning documentary, The Full Nelson, and her debut memoir, “Ain’t That A Mother,” drops in May 2022.

Ain't That A Mother, Adiba Nelson

Following the birth of her daughter, Emory, Adiba found herself in the throes of postpartum depression. While struggling silently, she wrote humorous articles about motherhood.  

After finally reaching out for support and getting therapy, Adiba opened up to her community about her depression. In turn, so many women came forward with shared experiences. This wasn’t the first time Adiba used her voice to help others feel alone, and it sure wouldn’t be the last. 

Adiba’s first book, Meet ClaraBelle Blue came out in 2013. This book was born out of frustration that she didn’t see her daughter represented in children’s books during a fateful trip to a book store. 

She searched for children’s books featuring characters with disabilities and couldn’t find any featuring children, let alone a Black girl on the cover.

After finding one Little Critter book featuring a character who was disabled, Adiba said, “My kid is not a critter. What about the kid who is looking to be included?”

And in true Adiba Nelson fashion, she rage-wrote a children’s book featuring a Black girl in a wheelchair in ten minutes! 

Related: What Happens When You See Bodies That Look Like Yours Represented

At first, she thought this book was just for her daughter. But, once her cousin read it, he knew it needed to be everywhere and connected her with an illustrator. 

She went on the hunt for an agent, but everyone turned her away. One publisher even said the world wasn’t ready for this story. So, Adiba self-published on May 4th, 2014. Meet ClaraBelle Blue has sold over 6,000 copies and is in many countries. 

Along with writing, another passion of Adiba’s is burlesque. And for over six years, until she recently retired, she proudly took the stage to help celebrate more diverse bodies. 

When she started, she didn’t see any Black plus size women who looked like her performing burlesque in her hometown of Tuscon, Arizona. So, she felt deeply called to represent herself and her daughter. As Adiba wanted to learn to fully love her body to teach her daughter how to love herself – and burlesque did just that! 

From the burlesque stage to the TedEx stage, Adiba moved hearts and minds. 

Related: Actor Jen Ponton Dishes About Dietland, Fat Activism, And More

In 2018, what she thought would be a two-minute interview turned into a documentary about her life called The Full Nelson.

Never in her wildest dreams did she think this documentary would become an Emmy nominee. Let alone an Emmy award-winning documentary!

And now, her debut novel, “Ain’t That A Mother”, drops in May of 2022. 

Listen as Adiba shares her story in her own words and hear excerpts from her book, thanks to Blackstone Publishing, during episode 159 of the Plus Mommy Podcast. 

Recording & Show Notes: Plus Mommy Podcast Episode 159

Transcript happily provided upon request. 

Resources Mentioned On The Show:

Adiba Nelson is an author, screenwriter, retired burlesque performer, disability rights advocate, and most recently, subject of the Emmy winning documentary, The Full Nelson. She wrote and self-published her first children’s book, Meet ClaraBelle Blue in 2013. Adiba’s memoir, “Ain’t That A Mother”, is currently available for preorder and will be available everywhere books are sold May 3, 2022.