Making Parenthood Work When You Have a Disability

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Any new parent will tell you that bringing a child into your world is a choice filled with joy, trials and a lot of learning along the way. While nothing can ever completely prepare you for becoming a parent, there are moves you can make to prepare your life for parenthood. If you are living with a disability, these preparations are especially important to ensure that your home and routine are ready for a little one. Consider beginning your journey with these six steps and thoughts.

Put Together Your Budget

The cost of raising a child seems to grow as each year passes. On average, families spend $12-$14,000 a year on expenses related to a single child. You should look at your own budget and make sure you have the basics mapped out to provide for your child. Expect food budgets and utilities to increase and make sure to plan for any room additions or supplies you’ll need to comfortably care for your little one. If you rely on benefits, check to see how a child may impact these funds. It’s also never too early to start thinking about the costs of education. From preschool to college, think about whether you’ll need to be prepared for tuition or special learning expenses and start saving as soon as possible.

Take Care of Your Own Mental and Physical Health

Parenthood can be plagued by anxiety and stress, which can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health. Check in with your healthcare provider to take care of any issues you may be having, before you start making arrangements to bring a child into your world. If you are pregnant, be aware of any special provisions you should make in regards to your disability and stay alert to feelings of depression after the arrival of your child. Postpartum depression can impact any parent, regardless of gender or biological connection to the child.

Make Your Home Kid-Friendlier

Creating a home that’s accessible for your new role as parent can be a lifesaver. Complete childproofing basics but also consider modifications related to your disability. Think about having grab bars placed in tubs and showers. Making sure that mats and rugs are non-slip is another important safety precaution to take. If you or your partner have trouble with your vision, spend some time applying textured tape or braille labels to your child’s food and everyday supplies. These simple measures can ensure you and your child’s safety, while curbing stressful situations.

Connect with Fellow Parents for Advice

As parents, we develop our own parenting styles quickly. It’s important for you to figure out techniques that work for your family but it never hurts to have the support of other parents, especially if your child has special needs. Whether it’s help with using a baby wrap or advice on education, parents can learn a lot from one another and provide valuable support when times get hard. Make an effort to schedule meetups with parents in your circle of friends or look for local parent support groups. Creating your village early can be a huge stress reliever when raising a child.

Plan Out Care for Your Child

Childcare can involve more than just babysitters. In-home help may be a good fit for your needs, especially when you’re just starting out as a parent. A nanny can help you out with daily tasks and assist with any special needs you may have. If a nanny isn’t right for you, you may want to look into daycare, especially if you need to return to work or other responsibilities outside of the home. It’s also practical to pick out a pediatrician and any other healthcare providers your child will need in his/her life.

If you’re making the decision to become a parent, you’re making the decision to take on one of the most dedicated, yet most rewarding, jobs you can have. Use the time before you bring your child home for planning but know that no one ever truly feels prepared until they actually become a parent. Take a deep breath and enjoy this one of a kind journey!

Author: Ashley Taylor

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect my own views