Back in December I was sent a very lovely email by Ashley Taylor from the website Disabled Parents. She asked if I was interested in allowing her to write a guest post on my blog about what takes to be a parent with a disability. However, I feel like able-bodied couples could also learn something from her words too! I will certainly send this to my sister and brother-in-law later today!
Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer. photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two children.
Preparing for a child takes a lot of planning, but for those who are living with a disability, it may feel a bit overwhelming at first. It’s common for new parents to feel unsure of their abilities, but being as prepared as possible for your new little one will help boost your confidence and allow you to find joy even in the hardest of times.
Finding support during this time is important, whether it’s from friends or family; knowing you have someone to talk to and get advice from is incredibly helpful with a major life change. It’s also a good idea to get organized and think about the easiest ways to maintain your mobility as well as your physical and mental health after the baby comes; many parents have detailed plans for their child but forget to take care of themselves.
Fortunately, there are simple ways you can prepare for a child no matter what your abilities are. Here are just a few.
THINK ABOUT THE FINANCIAL ASPECT
No one likes to think about money, especially as it pertains to a new baby, but it’s important to plan for–and understand–the financial side of having a baby. Not only will you need to figure out the costs associated with labor and delivery, you’ll also want to plan for postnatal care and think about how much time you and your partner will need to take off work. If you have savings, they might come in handy around this time. If not, think about starting a savings account, or open one up for your child that you can add to over the years. For more tips on preparing financially for a new child, read on here.
CREATE A BIRTH PLAN
Every birth is different, and every couple can choose from a variety of ways to bring their little one into the world. Whether you want to go with a local hospital or a midwife-assisted at-home birth, a traditional delivery or a C-section, you and your partner should be on the same page well before the baby comes. Talk about what you want the birth to be like and do some research on the best ways to make it happen.
LEARN COPING METHODS
Living with a disability can be stressful, and adding parenting on top of that can be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. Learning different coping methods will help you deal with stress and anxiety as they come, and it will allow you to tend to your mental health so you’re the best possible version of you. A great way to do this is to practice self care; that is, do something that relaxes you and makes you feel good in a healthy way. You might take up a hobby, create art or music, bake, or relax with a good movie. Whatever it is, use it to boost your mood and stay positive. These types of coping methods are great for keeping stress at bay and avoiding unhealthy habits, such as substance abuse. For more information on how to cope, check out this article.
GET YOUR HOME READY
It’s never too early to start thinking about preparing your home for the new baby. Whether you want to start nesting and getting the nursery ready or making safety preparations, taking the time to get things clean and organized for the entire family now will allow you to enjoy parenthood that much more once the baby comes. You might also think about preparing a few meals to freeze so you’ll have easy things to grab and heat up when you get home.
Preparing your home–and yourself–for a new baby is not a small task, so ask for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support, and keep communication open with your partner and loved ones to make things easier on everyone involved.
If you have a disability and about to become a mommy/daddy-to-be, it would not hurt to check out the ‘disabledparents’ website!