5 Practical Tips for Soon-to-Be Parents with Disabilities
All expecting parents are regularly filled with a confusing mix of excitement and fear, both looking forward to their new arrival and dreading the moment they have to start parenting. For those parents living with disabilities, these anxieties are compounded by the fact that it is not always obvious how parenting will be affected by the disability.
One of the best ways to deal with this stress is to start taking practical steps to prepare for the baby. You will never be 100 percent ready for what being a parent feels like, but you can make sure your life is as prepared as it can be for when the time comes.
List Your Challenges
Make a list of the challenges you face in everyday life due to your disability. Which ones are likely to be affected by a child? Facing your problems directly makes it easier for you to address them and find possible solutions. For example, do you struggle with cooking healthy meals due to problems with your grip? If so, a food delivery service could be the solution once the child arrives. Are you worried that a hearing impairment will keep you from hearing its cries? As a workaround, you will need a baby monitor with a visual alarm.
Prepare the House
All parents have to baby-proof the house to a certain extent, but parents with disabilities have even more to do. You should try to make your home as accessible as possible — life with a baby is chaotic, and you need a home you can move around in freely and safely.
Do Your Research
Your particular needs mean that not every baby product will be well-suited for you. Take your time when it comes to baby shopping, looking up online reviews and making sure you are only buying quality products that will work for you; for example, BabyGearLab has an extensive collection of guides and reviews available online. You have time before the baby arrives, so use it wisely to make sure you are fully prepared.
Plan for the Worst
No one wants to think about their own death, especially when there is a child on the way. However, making a plan to prepare for the worst is crucial if you want your child to be safe and secure in case anything happens to you. This includes having a will, determining guardianship of your child and life insurance. Each of these provides a layer of protection for your family and your child in the event of your death. It also doesn’t hurt to consider burial insurance, which can lighten the financial burden on your loved ones.
Look for Help
Many disabled parents are reluctant to get help. Instead, they are eager to prove that they are just as capable of handling a baby than any other parent. What this ignores is that most parents need some type of support, especially during the early days. This is often a family member or friend, but it can also be a professional, such as a postpartum doula or a night nanny.
If you want to rely on your loved ones, start thinking about who will be a useful source of support and talk about your needs with them. If you’d rather hire someone, start researching options and meeting people now so you know you have someone you trust when the time comes.
Whenever you feel yourself getting worried or anxious about your future as a disabled parent, start taking practical steps. Do research, make decisions, check things off your to-do list — these steps can help you feel in control. When your baby arrives, you will feel more prepared and secure because of the work you put in. That is not to say that parenting with a disability will be easy or predictable, but that it will be less scary and intimidating.
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