4 Crucial Things People with Disabilities Must Consider When Approaching Parenthood

April 16, 2018

4 Crucial Things People with Disabilities Must Consider When Approaching Parenthood

4 Crucial Things People with Disabilities Must Consider When Approaching Parenthood

If you’ve decided to start a family, congratulations! You’ve made a decision that will bring you a lifetime of joy. Of course, it’s not all proud parent moments, Little League games, and graduations. Parenthood is filled with tough days, weeks, months, and even years. As a future parent with a disability, many of these typical challenges can intensify. Here are some important things to know before you head into the beautiful journey of parenthood.

You may need to start saving for IVF treatments 

Many couples have trouble conceiving. The chances that you may struggle are increased when you are living with certain disabilities. In vitro fertilization may be an option you’ll have to consider down the road - and it’s a good option.

"The success and availability of in vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF,” notes QunoMedical. It’s not a cheap procedure, but it’s not backbreaking either. Many treatments run a few thousand dollars - so it’s vital that you have savings to cover this potential expense. If you’re new to the concept of savings, this is a great resource for starting. 

You may need to make home modifications 

Having a child changes everything. Your home, which you get around in fine right now, may become uncomfortable, unmanageable, and at worst, dangerous when you’re a parent. Piggybacking off the theme of saving for IVF, you may also need to set aside funds for potential home remodels and accessibility improvements. These remodels can be small, like installing extra grab rails and bars around sensitive areas and replacing hard-to navigate high-pile carpet with wood or linoleum. Or, they can be a little more involved like replacing stairs with ramps and lifts or widening doorways for better wheelchair access.

You’ll probably need some adaptive childcare equipment 

Parents with disabilities living 10 or 20 years ago did not have access to some of the amazing adaptive parenting equipment available to you today. Make use of it! You may need to purchase baby clothing with easy-to-fasten magnetic snaps, for example. What about easy-to-rotate car seat and highchairs? How about a crib that opens from the side? Strollers that attach to your wheelchair? There are dozens upon dozens of products available that will make your difficult parenting job quite a bit easier. For a list of what’s available to you, start here. 

You’re going to need some help

Accepting that you cannot do this all on your own is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of wisdom beyond your years. You must teach yourself how to accept help. Seriously. This a process. You must actively work to get to a place where you feel comfortable accepting help -  something that is not easy for a lot of people. The first step is to get in touch with your own vulnerability. Check here for more on this psychological process.

Being a parent with a disability can seem isolating. So much is written about, spoken about, and thought about being a parent with a child with a disability, it may feel as though you’re part of a very small club. The reality is that you are part of a club of over 4 million strong, all taking on this journey together. It’s a difficult journey, but it’s rewarding - and you can succeed. Help make your pathway a bit easier with these tips.

Article written & provided by Ashley Taylor

ashley@disabledparents.org

Disabledparents.org




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