by Ashley Taylor
Naturally, everyone enters into parenthood with a mix of excitement and worry. However, if you have a disability, your list of uncertainties may be a bit longer and you’ll have a few additional childcare challenges to overcome. Fortunately for you, you’re already a pro at making adaptations and dealing with barriers in your day-to-day routine. Here are some tips to get yourself ready for this big and wonderful change in your life.
Be Ready for the Future
According to NerdWallet, many people don’t even think about life insurance until they become parents. When a baby comes along, it’s more important than ever before for parents to plan for the unexpected. Safety nets are crucial for preventing any financial burden from falling on your spouse — or even your children — if you should die early. In addition to a life insurance policy, burial or funeral insurance can be extremely helpful for covering a range of final expenses, from funeral costs to medical bills. It’s also a good idea to prepare a will now so you can designate trusted people to care for your children or manage their inheritance until they reach adulthood.
Modify Your Home
Consider making some additional modifications to your home to ensure it is safe and accessible for your whole family. When a parent has a disability, PBC Expo stresses the importance of keeping the house well-lit and free from tripping hazards. Invest in various safety devices, including fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and disaster preparedness kits.
To keep up with your curious toddler when they start crawling, make it as safe and easy as possible for you to get around your home. For instance, replace staircases with ramps and install low countertops in your bathroom for more comfort while baby bathing and changing. It may also be necessary to widen doorways so you can maneuver your wheelchair around more easily with a baby in tow. If you have a vision-related disability, make your kid’s room more accessible by installing non-slip flooring and dimmable light switches so you can increase the lighting when needed. Equip your child’s room with plenty of organizational shelving so you can store everything off the floor and out of the way.
Find Helpful Equipment
Accessible baby equipment can make your life a lot easier. When baby shopping, look for one-hand folding wheelchairs as well as high chairs and change tables with adjustable heights. Many companies make strollers that connect to wheelchairs for easier pushing. You can even adapt baby products so they work perfectly for your situation; an engineer or carpenter may be able to help you modify your regular crib so that it opens from the side for easier access.
Make a Self-Care Plan
New parents are always surprised by the array of intense emotions that come with the job. On top of this, the constant care required by newborns can quickly lead to physical exhaustion and mental burnout. Be ready for parenthood with a solid self-care plan. Prioritize time to engage in regular exercise, healthy eating, and alone time for yourself. It’s also important to maintain open conversations with your partner about how the two of you are feeling.
Remember the Importance of Support
Every new parent can use some support, so don’t let your disability stop you from asking for help. It’s important to acknowledge your limitations and lean on others when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Before the baby comes, ask your spouse, family, and friends to help you create custom childcare solutions and assist you with installing adaptable features in your home. You’ll also find helpful resources for disabled parents online. For example, Through the Looking Glass provides services, training, and updated research for parents with all kinds of disabilities.
The majority of people, disability or not, worry about becoming a parent. If you’re feeling uncertain about your upcoming responsibilities, the best thing you can do is prepare. Read as many baby books as you can get your hands on, attend classes, talk to other parents, and turn your home into the perfect childcare environment. This kind of thorough planning can help set your mind at ease with such a life-changing event on the horizon.
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