How to prepare your life and home for a new addition
A parent who has a disability may face unique challenges in conception, pregnancy, birth, and child care. Do not let these challenges get in your way of experiencing the joy of parenting. Taking the necessary measures to prepare will set you up on the right path.
Preparing for conception
While many people with disabilities can conceive naturally, certain types of medication used for treating and managing disabilities might cause infertility. However, all hope of having a child is not lost. There are options available for parents-to-be who want to have biological children, such as in vitro fertilization.
Once you are ready to conceive, schedule an appointment with an obstetrician and your disability specialist. Although your disability specialist may not know a lot about conception, he/she is well-versed with your condition and its limitations. The specialist will be able to offer great advice on managing your disability while pregnant.
Your obstetrician will walk with you through conception, pregnancy and childbirth. Also, you may want to see a genetics specialist to determine whether there is a probability of your condition being passed down to your child.
Pregnancy and childbirth
Pregnancy comes with discomforts such as nausea, fatigue and back pain, among others. Depending on your disability, these symptoms may be heightened. You will require regular medical attention to monitor progress and mitigate any difficulties early on. Go to a hospital with specialized facilities and personnel to cater to people with disabilities.
Although most deliveries among disabled women are through C-section, some women have successful vaginal births. There have been a few cases of home deliveries too. Talk to your obstetrician to determine your most suitable delivery method.
Plan your finances
Since fertility treatment is usually expensive, and many insurance plans do not cover it for people with a disability, it is important you start saving for it early. Look for financial support in clinics and charitable organizations that help people with disabilities. Negotiate with your insurer to see whether they can cover some costs. Some people have raised money for their fertility treatment through a GoFundMe or Kickstarter campaign.
Furthermore, pregnancy, birth and childcare will come with extra costs. Create a budget for your anticipated expenditure and start saving up. If you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits, your child will also be entitled to up to half the amount that you are eligible for. Your spouse will also qualify for Social Security benefits if they are caring for your child.
Prepare your home
Make modifications to help you operate more efficiently. If your mobility is limited, consider lowering the kitchen counters, widening doorways, installing handrails and replacing stairs with ramps. Reposition light switches to an easily-accessible location.
Create a safe space for your child. Install padding on sharp furniture corners. Cover electrical sockets. Keep toxic items in top cabinets where your child cannot reach them. Install gates and fences to keep your child out of specific areas in the house.
Invest in adapted child care products. A parent in a wheelchair will find a side-opening baby crib more convenient. A sling harness will keep your baby close to you. Replace your regular bed with an adjustable profiling bed. A wearable babble band is useful to a parent with a hearing disability, as it vibrates or lights up when your child makes noise. Magnification aids and talking clocks come in handy if you have a visual impairment.
Take care of yourself
While you’re caring for your child, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Self-care activities, like eating a nutritious diet, getting exercise, and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule will not only keep you feeling your best, but will also give you the energy you’ll need to keep up with your little one as he or she grows.
Today, there are numerous resources, support systems and information to help all of us be the best parents we can be. Above all, try not to worry too much, and enjoy your new journey. Many parents with disabilities have come before you and done an excellent job. You will be a great parent.
Night Owl Can help with your transition home
We offer Night Nannies to help mom at night or to simply let you rest, while we care for the newborn. We are flown around the world for our services. Whether its overnight care, or Sleep Training, we have you covered.
Book your Night Nanny or Sleep Trainer today!