Anticipating Life With a Disability and a Baby

The gift of life is something that is precious to every parent. There’s magic that happens when the unexpected and the amazing intertwine in a symphony of tender moments of love and exhaustion. For those soon-to-be parents with disabilities, the rush of excitement and the fear of the unknown can be amplified. Raising a child when you have a disability has its own unique challenges, but it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are a few ways you can prepare yourself and your home for what may be the biggest life-changing experience imaginable.

Exploring Surrogacy
For instances where pregnancy or childbirth is just not possible due to physical disability or infertility, using a surrogate to carry your child could be a great option to help you experience the unconditional joy of starting or growing your family. Many surrogacy programs offer customizable options so that you can cater the experience to your family’s needs and budget. If you decide to pursue this path, you’ll be involved with every decision along the way, including your baby’s arrival. If want your baby to be born in a quiet, peaceful environment, consider having your baby delivered at home rather than a hospital. A home birth might be preferable since you’ll be able to set up your home — or your surrogate’s home — to cater to individual needs, whereas a hospital’s traditional delivery unit might not be as flexible or as accessible.

Baby-proofing the Home
Living with a disability may require making special home modifications to aid in your mobility as a new parent. And while you’re getting ready for parenthood, you’ll also need to identify areas that could be dangerous for a wandering, curious toddler.

Baby-proofing could include securing large pieces of furniture, covering sharp or pointed furniture with bumpers or padding, blocking access to cabinets and electrical outlets, and making sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are up to date. Some of these baby-proofing concepts might already be in place to accommodate your own disability; but if not, then there’s no better time than now to get the house ready for both of your needs. By prepping for your newborn’s arrival, you’re on the first step toward creating a loving and safe environment.

Anticipating Your Family’s Needs
When it comes to raising your child in the home, there’s a lot of pressure to anticipate their needs and stick to a schedule. Whether it’s making sure they’re fed, burped, changed, or just plain happy, the stress that comes with meeting their infantile needs can often be challenging when your own unique needs come into play as well. Don’t worry so much about being perfect and right every time, but practice your parenting by being prepared. Make sure your child’s supplies are accessible and within reach, especially if you have physical limitations. Beyond their supplies, you’ll also need to consider where they’ll spend most of their days. If you work from home, then you might want to move your baby’s crib near your office to reduce how much you move around.

Exploring the world
The excitement of the outside world is beckoning, and it won’t be long before you’ll want to introduce your newborn to the world through family outings. If you’re thinking about going on an adventure through the countryside or just a walk in the city, you might want to look into adaptive baby-care products to help both of you get around. There are many resources that provide flexibility and ease of movement for children and disabled parents.

Creating life opens you up to the daunting world of parenting, but the benefits of happiness outweigh the challenges. As you find the greatest joy in life through raising your child, it’s important to know your limitations and when to ask for help. You’ll find life as a parent easier to navigate once you take care of your needs in tandem with your child’s. And when you’re feeling overwhelmed with the struggles of caring for a baby, remember it’s only a temporary phase in an incredible lifelong journey.

Courtesy of Ashley Taylor of DisabledParents.org

Additional Resources:

Home Baby Proofing Guide