Parenting with Disabilities: What You Can Do to Help You Focus on the Joy of a Newborn

Bringing a precious life into the world can be one of our proudest moments. Of course, a new arrival comes with challenges, but they can be just as rewarding as the joy. When one has a disability, however, there are things to consider to make the transition to parenthood a smooth one. Below are some tips to help you along your way.

Make Your Home Thrive

An accessible house is a happy one. Your home may be modified to meet your needs, but further adaptations could be helpful. You might switch out steps in favor of ramps, or add expandable hinges through the home. Safety will be imperative as well. Make sure that flooring uses skid-resistant material, and add grab bars to bathrooms to prevent falls. Ease of access will be paramount, so consider adjusting countertops and replacing knobs with levers. Are there specific parts of your home where you feel most at ease? If so, focus your efforts in these places to create areas that are perfect for both you and baby. Baby-proofing the home for your newborn is something to pursue even if there is a while yet before they crawl.

If making your home more accessible proves too challenging, a new home could be in the cards. While you may not be in a position to move now, you can start surveying the market, and most importantly, you can start putting money away for a down payment. The more you save, the better your interest rates will be, and you’ll secure a lower mortgage payment. While 20% is standard, certain types of home loans allow for lower down payments. Plus, you may be eligible for grants or homebuying programs.

Have the Tools Ready

Being prepared also means having the right tools and supplies. If you have plenty of space already, build up all the stock you might need for the new arrival. Otherwise, start clearing out space in your fridge for formula and bottles, as well as cabinets for clothing, toys, and ever-present pacifiers. Look to invest in adaptive equipment, too. What might be most beneficial will be dependent on your disability, but there is a range of tools you could take advantage of. Some cribs are now height-adjustable and can be opened from the side. There are plenty of strollers that are lightweight, and a few can be attached to wheelchairs. Make parenthood a little less stressful by adapting equipment alongside an adapted home.

Build Up the Love

Having a child brings with it so much joy, but the extra responsibilities can be positively disorienting. This is where loved ones can come in. You may be worried about asking for help or perhaps feel a tinge of guilt over reaching out to others, but this can be a fantastic way to involve them at such a precious stage of a child’s life and give you time to re-energize. Think about what chores and errands could be shared, and be specific with your requests. For instance, if you find that meal prep or grocery shopping is simply too exhausting, ask loved ones to help out now and again. You might be surprised by how restorative it can be to have others assist at this time. Being attentive to your emotional and physical wellness really can help you be in the best position to care for your baby. Of course, having a space where you can engage with other parents can also be helpful. Check out online support groups to see if you can find a community to seek out advice and simply be listened to.

Research, Research, Research

Knowing your rights is incredibly important as an expectant parent. It can seem like one’s time is filled with countless appointments or nights browsing how-tos, but it’s also good to know what resources and support you have available to you. While it can seem like there is a dearth of information, you may well have access to assistance at the federal, state, and local level. This can be invaluable as you make your financial plans, both for immediate expenses and the long term. Remember, if you need more information about what aid you might be eligible for, or what support is out there, consider reaching out to groups. Organizations like Through the Looking Glass exist to not only provide support to parents with disabilities but also offer guidance.

This is a wonderful journey to embark on. Remember, your family is not alone. Build up a support system, establish what resources are available, and create an environment where all of you can flourish. Treasure these days, and know you will do just fine.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

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