Many argue that disabled people don’t make good parents because of their physical limitations, which hinder them from providing the care that babies require.
In fact, a study out of the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that such children grow up with certain advantages, including a greater sense of empathy. In other words, disabled people can’t only be good parents, they can be great ones.
However, that doesn’t eliminate the difficulties that certain impairments can impose when it comes to taking care of a baby, particularly ensuring they get a healthy amount of sleep, as you’ll see. Nonetheless, those obstacles can be overcome.
In honor of parents-to-be who are managing a disability and for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, Mom Sense podcaster Kanika Chadda-Gupta explains how you can be prepared for this incredible change.
Yes, babies are expensive, so having money in the bank — as well the right insurance policy — would greatly aid your efforts as a parent. Mama & Money has come up with a checklist to help you map out your financial future that includes evaluating income and drafting a budget. Bear in mind, however, that you may have additional expenses due to your disability.
Improving Mobility at Home
Building a wheelchair ramp at your entrance can be costly. However, it’s a worthwhile investment, as it makes getting in and out of the house with a sleeping baby in your arms that much easier. You may also want to consider installing expandable hinges on interior doors as well as skid-resistant flooring for safety.
If you need help paying for these modifications, consider a home refinance. Refinancing can give you a one-time cash payment which you can then use to pay for these projects.
Creating a Nursery in Your Bedroom
Having the baby sleep just a few feet away provides many advantages. For one thing, you don’t have to go far when the little one wakes up in the middle of the night demanding to be fed, which is particularly important if you suffer from a mobility impairment. This could mean remodeling to make room for a crib and perhaps an old-fashioned rocking chair. As a result, you may find that you’re grabbing a little more sleep every night.
Buying the Right Equipment
About that crib in your bedroom — you’ll want a model that makes it easy to put your baby to sleep without even standing up, and New Mobility has a few recommendations. You’ll also find wraps and carriers for transporting your child around the house and bathtubs to keep them clean without having to get out of a wheelchair.
Learning About Baby Care
Having the right equipment can only go so far. Learning how to take care of the baby is absolutely essential, and that means not only feeding and changing their diaper but also holding the little one in your arms and gently rocking them to sleep. Don’t just assume that you’ll figure that all out when the big day finally arrives.
Finding Help Now
It’s important to find help from family and friends because you’ll need an extra pair of hands at some point, and there’s no reason to feel guilty about that at all. For example, even if you have an invisible disability like Multiple Sclerosis or Crohn’s Disease, you already know these take a toll on a person’s emotional, physical, and social well-being. And when you consider the risks associated between pregnancy and these diseases, it’s critical to tap into the help you might need now and once the baby arrives.
Staying Healthy and Stress-Free
Self-care means eating balanced meals and getting some sleep. Yes, you need to rest just as much as the little one to stay mentally and emotionally sound enough to fulfill your duties as a parent. Keep your energy levels high by drinking plenty of water and eating lots of protein, fruits, and vegetables. One tactic to achieve that is dividing the night into shifts, with each partner doing equal baby duty. And when the little one is napping during the day, do the same.
With a plan in place for tackling the difficulties of parenting, you can happily anticipate the wonders and joys, and there are many. Soon enough, you’ll be hearing the little one’s first words and watching their first steps — that’s something to look forward to.