Prepare Now to Ease the Transition to Parenthood When You Have a Disability by Ashley Taylor
If you’re living with a disability, you have probably already made adaptations that make everyday life easier. After caring only for yourself, preparing your home and your life to care for a baby may mean making some additional adaptations. Whether you have nine months or your baby is due any day, now is the time to prepare your home and your life for this new challenge.
Preparing Your Home
Your ultimate goal is to make your home a place where you can easily care for your baby’s needs while keeping safety in mind. New babies especially love to be held and carried often, so you’ll want to do some simple home fixes to be able to get around with your child without worrying about falling. Start with your home’s entrance. If you have stairs, replacing them with a ramp makes getting in and out safer and easier. A ramp also allows you to get a stroller and other baby gear in and out. You can make getting around inside easier with expandable hinges for doorways, and you can install skid-resistant flooring to prevent slipping when you’re carrying your little one.
You also need to think about your baby’s daily activities like eating, feeding, and sleeping and how to make everything work easily around your needs. The important thing to realize is parenting isn’t one-size-fits-all. Parents have to figure out a setup and routines that work best for them, so be prepared but flexible. For example, if you plan on breastfeeding, you don’t need to limit yourself to one position. Bookmark these breastfeeding tips from The Bump so when the time comes, you can find a position that’s comfortable for both you and baby.
Preparing for Parenthood
Along the same lines, part of preparing your home for your baby is also thinking about what your baby will need and how you’ll parent. Most of parenting is like on-the-job training, but you can start preparing for what to expect. Taking care of a baby’s basic needs may seem like something you can just do naturally, but it isn’t always so simple. You and your baby are both new at this, so keep some good resources at your fingertips for when your child has trouble sleeping or gets fussy, like these tips for the first 30 days from Parents.
Take some time now to be ready to care for yourself in those first few months too. Stock your pantry and make some meals that you can freeze and reheat in a pinch so you’ll have good nutrition without taking the time to cook. Also enlist help from friends and family members ahead of time so you can get breaks when you need them.
Preparing Your Life
Having a new baby brings lots of changes, and it’s only natural that your relationship with your partner would change too. Be prepared to make your relationship a priority by discovering something you like to do as a couple and planning to have someone help with the baby on occasion so you can spend quality time together. Prepare to make yourself a priority too because your own needs and sense of self can easily get lost in the early days of parenthood. Talk to friends and family about setting a schedule for babysitting so you know that time will be set aside to care for yourself and your relationship. If you don’t have someone who can help, go ahead and interview babysitters now so you can have a trusted sitter lined up for when you need them.
You will also feel better prepared for the journey of parenthood by connecting with other parents, especially those who also have a disability. Parenting when you have a disability can bring unique challenges, but it also brings amazing benefits. For example, children of parents with disabilities are often much more understanding of differences.
By connecting with other parents and preparing your life and home, parenting with a disability doesn’t have to mean limitations, just adaptations. Parenthood is both a joy and a challenge for everyone. Make these adaptations and prepare the best you can now to ease the transition and make the most of every joyous moment.
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