Preparing For Parenthood When You Have A Disability
Just listen to some of the comments from friends, family, and even complete strangers about what it’s like becoming a new mommy or daddy. It’s wonderful, inspiring, and rewarding, as well as terrifying, exhausting, and nerve-wracking. Needless to say, there’s an awful lot of emotion wrapped up in this single life event, so it’s likely filled with anticipation, tinged with a bit of fear and excitement, as well. The last thing you want to worry about it is how your disability will affect your parenting.
The truth is that it need not matter much if you make the right preparations for the years ahead. These preparations will help you enjoy the triumphs of raising a child and steer through the difficult patches. Baby Wit shares some techniques on how to make that happen.
Learn New Skills
Many new parents decide to just wing it, figuring that natural instincts will kick in when the baby arrives. That may not be the best approach. Luckily for you, Lifehacker has created the Baby Boot Camp where you can learn the basics, like how to hold your baby and bottle-feed them, as well. Some of those tasks may be different for you depending on your particular impairment, so it may be worthwhile to practice.
Divide Up Tasks
Of course, you don’t have to do everything yourself, and the same goes for the chores that seemingly multiply when there’s a tiny new member of the household to look after. Sit down with your partner and talk about who should do what and when — bearing your limitations in mind. Cooperation and communication will make things run much more smoothly.
It should come as no surprise that babies are a bit of a financial burden, no matter how cute they are. Get a leg up on new expenses by calculating how much you’ll pay for necessities like food and diapers, then cutting your current spending to make sure you have the cash.
Financial planning especially applies if you intend to purchase a new home for your budding family. Before you do anything, you’ll need to sit down and figure out how much you can afford to spend on a new home. After doing a little research about the cost of homes in your price range, get in touch with a reputable real estate agent to begin the process.
Improving mobility can cost a pretty penny as installing a wheelchair ramp at the entranceway can be expensive. As far as improving access between rooms, that can be done on the cheap by installing expandable hinges on your doors rather than widening the doorways themselves. Safety in the kitchen and bathroom should be another concern, and that can be addressed with skid-resistant flooring.
Revamp Your Lighting
Imagine entering a dark room with the baby in your arms and fumbling around for the switch. That inconvenience is eliminated with motion-sensor lighting. It sounds expensive, but there are simple “plug-and-play” solutions on the market that cost little more than $10, which is a small investment for greater safety and comfort.
Get the Right Equipment
Did you know there are adaptive strollers on the market that connect to the front of a wheelchair so you can transport your baby more easily? There are also adjustable harness-style carriers and cribs that allow easy access to your sleepy little angel. There are baby jumpsuits and rompers without any fasteners for those who have limited hand movement. Read product reviews carefully before buying anything, of course.
Build a Support Network
Building support begins with friends and family that want to help out with some of those household chores or drive you to a doctor’s appointment. When it comes to information and advice from others in your situation, you’ll find that at the Disabled Parenting Project, which has a library and message board.
Keep Your Health Up
Making sure you’re healthy is something all parents need to do because raising a child is strenuous physically and mentally. You’ll need to learn some quick but wholesome recipes for balanced meals as time and nutrition are of the essence. Don’t forget to fit in some exercise and relaxation into your busy schedule, either.
Hopefully, this helps ease some of your concerns about the challenges that lie ahead. And remember to stay positive because there’s much more to parenting than just the difficulties. There are wonders and rewards, as well.
Image via Pexels.