PREPARING FOR PARENTHOOD WHEN YOU HAVE A DISABILITY
Preparing to become a parent is both exciting and nerve-wracking. So much preparation is involved, from preparing the nursery to buying a car seat and everything in between. But if you are disabled, the preparation and modifications you need to make can be even more overwhelming. If you have a physical disability, it can be challenging to lift your baby or fasten the child into the car seat. If you have a visual disability, it will be difficult to change the baby’s diaper or even dress the baby. Maybe you have a chronic disease that makes you tired all of the time. If so, the physical and emotional toll that taking care of a little one causes may make your fatigue symptoms even worse. Read on for some advice concerning preparing for a baby when you have a disability.
Some disabled mothers don’t receive prenatal care because they are worried about negative reactions from healthcare providers. But it’s important to push your fears aside so you can receive the necessary care that ensures you and your baby are healthy. Prenatal care reduces the risk of complications during pregnancy. It also provides you with the opportunity to ask your doctor any questions you might have about pregnancy and your unborn child’s development.
FIND SUPPORT FROM OTHERS
Parents with disabilities should reach out for outside support when taking care of a child. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or an object of pity. Your goal is to provide the best care for your child; the assistance you receive helps you achieve your goal and makes you a stronger person and parent. So if you are disabled, don’t feel shy about asking for assistance from others. Your grandparents, parents or siblings can help with painting the baby’s room or even chores around the house. Take advantage of paid babysitters to help you when you’re not feeling well. Ask friends and family to transport you and your baby to doctor’s appointments, and also investigate community organizations that may offer transport services.
KEEP YOUR NEWBORN NEARBY AT NIGHT
Current safe sleep recommendations advise that a newborn should sleep in your room for the first six months of his or her life. It helps to reduce the risks of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Consider putting your baby in a bassinet near your bed so your baby can safely lie near you. If you have a physical disability, this will make it easier for you to attend to your child when he or she wakes during the night. Instead of going down the hallway to the nursery, you merely have to reach over and pick up your baby. Then you can breastfeed the baby or rock it back to sleep–without even leaving your own bed. Keep diapers, baby wipes and diaper rash cream in your bedroom so you have everything you need.
There isn’t much written information available about parenting with a disability. For this reason, reach out to other parents with disabilities. If you have a network of other moms and dads who are going through what you’re going through, you can receive priceless advice that will help you as you care for your little one. You’ll enjoy a support system that helps you to see that parenting with a disability is challenging but possible.
KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE
Don’t neglect the job of keeping your home safe for the new little one. Keep smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the main areas of your home, and test them on a regular basis to make sure they function correctly. Your home should have a fire extinguisher for emergencies as well. Secure large pieces of furniture and TVs to the walls so they don’t fall onto you or your baby. These are just a small sample of things you can do to prepare for parenthood, whether you’re disabled or not.
Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t have and care for a child. After all, parents without disabilities seek help from family, friends and community organizations. Disabled parents should do so too. Getting the support you need as well as finding innovative ways to care for your child despite your disability will help you overcome many obstacles to parenthood.
Written by Ashley Taylor – www.disabledparents.org
twodadsandakid resources : http://www.wand.org.za/about-us/wands-aim