We were recently contacted by Ashley from Disabledparents.org about running an article on preparing for a baby as a parent with a disability. Ashley has kindly supplied this article and whilst it refers to American stats, we feel that there is a lot of practical advice in this article that would be useful for any adults with a disability who are considering parenthood here in the UK so we wanted to share this with you.
Here is what Ashley has to say…
There is no such thing as a perfect parent, though all parents strive for it. Every person has their own unique battles and challenges when it comes to raising children. Parents with disabilities will face struggles, just like anybody else, but today’s world has plenty of helpful resources and advice to help you tackle them.
Becoming a parent with a disability comes with its own set of challenges, but you are not alone. Recent estimates indicate that there are between 4 million and 9 million parents in the U.S that have some kind of disability. Preparing for a baby’s homecoming is a challenging time for any parent, but a little planning can go along way to starting you off on the right foot.
Prepping the Wallet
Get a head start in understanding where you stand and avoid being caught off guard. According to the Huffington Post taking a financial inventory is the first step to effectively organizing your finances. Follow a few basic considerations:
- Know where you stand: Get a good idea of where your yearly budget is, bills and other responsibilities.
- Control debt: If possible, work toward paying off or reducing debt before the baby comes.
- Rainy day fund: Begin setting aside a chunk of money for unplanned expenses.
- Get advice from other moms: They might provide some useful tips and information about how to plan expenses.
The instinct to prepare your home for the baby, as outline by the American Pregnancy Association, is called nesting and consists of various types of preparations. Below are some tips:
Deep cleaning. This can be a good first step and while it seems nine months is plenty of time, the earlier you begin, the better. Give your house a deep cleaning. Don’t strain yourself too much. If necessary, hire a little help. Also, as Fatherly suggests, avoid strong chemicals that might be toxic to little ones. If you clean your carpet, make sure to avoid heavy chemicals.
Safety concerns: Secure or remove any furniture or objects that might fall from the wall or cause a hazard for your child. Cover up electrical outlets and install childproof locks on cabinets that might contain cleaning products of harmful chemicals. Smooth out edges of furniture, tables or chairs to avoid bumping once your child starts to crawl.
Meal prep: Cooking gourmet meals will certainly not be on top of your list when you’re struggling for four hours of sleep. Before the baby arrives, spread out a couple of cooking sessions and prepare meals to be frozen for easy access those first few months. That frozen tub of spaghetti will be a lifesaver.
House logic: Most homes are not designed to accommodate all disabilities. If you’re in a wheelchair consider replacing stairs with ramps or purchasing expandable hinges for doorways. Avoid slips by installing skid-resistant flooring.
The right stuff: A small accommodation can go a long way in increasing functionality and convenience. Look into adaptive products that can make carrying or changing a child easier depending on your particular circumstance. Some of these can include side opening cribs, accessible baby bathtub, baby changing stations and specially designed wraps to carry your baby.
Once you have your house cleaned and have made all the possible preparations to your home, remember to enjoy the moment and anticipation of baby en route. Have confidence that although parenting with a disability is complex and difficult, you are not alone and others can relate to your challenges. Online resources including New Mobility magazine and Disabled Parenting Projects can help build an online support community or with advice on a specific question or issue.
They say that parenting isn’t a practice, but a daily learning experience. Open yourself up to learn new things about yourself as you meet the daily challenges of raising a kid. What matters most is that you love your child, and despite whatever obstacles and difficulties you come to face, you remain strong and determined.
For more information on parenting with a disability, visit:
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