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Parenting with a disability can bring extra challenges. Bringing a baby into the world is hard work and these challenges can be amplified when you have a disability. There’s so much more you have to consider even before you get pregnant. More planning is required depending on your disability. That may be financial or may mean renovations on your home so you feel confident enough to start a family.
Below, we’ve listed some tips for disabled parents who are preparing for parenthood:
If you’re having a difficult time getting pregnant, In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a great alternative. It’s a medical procedure that involves extracting an egg from a female and sperm from a male, and then manually combining them in a laboratory dish. The embryo is then transferred to the woman’s uterus so she can go through all of the stages of pregnancy. The only downside with IVF is the cost—it normally starts at £8,000. So, it’s important to plan ahead and stash away some savings if you want to pursue this fertility option. While IVF is expensive, it also has a great success rate. As Qunomedical explains, “The success and availability of IVF have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.”
When your mobility is limited, it’s important to make sure you can easily get around your home, especially with a newborn. Once your baby comes home from the hospital, you’re going to get little sleep. Making any home renovations you require need to be done before the arrival of your baby. Whether you need to install grab bars or rails, lower your kitchen cabinets or widen your doorways, completing any home modifications before the birth of your baby will help you relieve some stress.
More than likely, there are disabled parents in your community that have experience raising kids. Asking for their support or getting some advice can help you prepare for parenthood a little easier. It’s good to have the support of others that are going through similar issues. Raising kids is hard, and when you have a disability it’s helpful to have someone on your side that you can count on to get you through the hard times.
As a disabled parent to a newborn you may struggle with caring for your baby. If you have limited mobility, it may be easier for you to keep your baby next to yours. Another element you may struggle with is bathing your baby. If you’re scared to do this alone, ask your partner or a friend to help you. When bathing your baby, floors may become slippery which can be dangerous. When it comes to carrying your baby in a wheelchair, seating aids can help.
Some disabled parents find that regular baby equipment doesn’t suit their needs. However there are many items around which can help you. Whether you need a specially adapted wheelchair that allows you to pull or push a buggy, a baby carrier with extra space for bottles, or a baby alarm and monitor that comes with flashing lights. There are various types of baby equipment out there to fit your disability.
Raising a child while you are dealing with a disability is tough. But, with the proper planning and equipment, you can take on this new challenge with positivity and newfound energy. Once your newborn finally comes home from the hospital, life will be a blur, so planning as much as you can ahead of time will help you relieve a lot of the stress you have about parenthood.
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 two children.