Preparing for Parenthood When Disabled

We are pleased to share this blog from Disabledparents.org

One of the biggest challenges we can face is parenthood. Countless things have to be accounted for, yet we can never be truly prepared no matter how much we try. When you have a disability, there are extra things to consider, like home adjustments and getting the best support. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider.

Prioritize Self-Care

Staying healthy is immensely important during pregnancy, so it’s essential to keep to a good diet, maintain an exercise routine, and to minimize stress when possible. Your overall physical and emotional well-being will greatly benefit from any act of self-care. Aquatic and physical therapy, if available, can be good ways to exercise as a disabled parent. However, you have to pursue self-care, try to take a few steps back and keep your stress levels low. Even as you are preparing your life for a newborn, it’s important to delegate as much as you can to your loved ones. Don’t hold in your emotions or fears. It’s a natural part of pregnancy, and opening up can really relieve a lot of stress. You can combine this with staying as social as possible. Friends are a great support, and sharing your pregnancy with them can really strengthen the relationships we have. Lastly, take naps, as many as you need. Pregnancy is exhausting, and while a nap won’t leave you entirely refreshed, it can give you some much-needed energy and rest.

Make Home Adjustments

The most important thing we can do as parents is to create an environment which is safe and perfect for us to care for our children as much as ourselves. Accessibility is the key. You may already have skid-resistant flooring to prevent slips, grab bars, expandable hinges on doorways, or ramps, but a baby will require their own modifications. If necessary, don’t hesitate to ask for help from others in adapting your home, and be sure to have everything in place before the baby’s arrival. Try to tailor a changing table to your specific needs. You can bathe your little one in the sink, if its height level is practical, but you can also use a tub that can be adapted to your requirements. Daily bathing in a tub isn’t a necessity, as you can sponge your baby on a changing table or in your lap. When it comes to cribs, look for one that has an accessible side, and perhaps one that can be better modified to your needs.

Accept Support

Becoming a parent can be daunting at the best of times. When you have a disability, it can sometimes feel like there aren’t a lot of resources available for you. Depending on your disability, however, there may be organizations or parental support groups that can give you some good pointers and advice. Utilizing organizations like Through The Looking Glass can provide invaluable direction amid all the uncertainties of becoming a parent. When it comes to medical professionals, don’t hold back in seeking guidance from disability specialists. While they may not have much information for pregnancy and parenthood, their insights can still be useful. Consider, also, consulting with an occupational therapist, who may be able to offer specific advice for new parents with disabilities. In addition, looking for an obstetrician-gynaecologist can be tricky in itself. Research them extensively, and look for anyone who can offer an accessible and positive environment while giving whatever support and understanding is desired.

Being a parent with a disability has specific challenges, but the rewards can be just as unique. These will be some of the most wonderful years of your life. With these tips in mind, you can ease some of the issues you may face, and allow yourself to focus more on the joys that parenthood brings.

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