I have the pleasure to share with you an article from Ashley Taylor. Ashley and her husband are proud parents of two healthy, wonderful children and their disabilities haven’t stopped them from leading a happy, fulfilling life. Check out Ashley's website disableparents.org if you are interested in the information that she has to share with parents with disabilities.
Planning for Conception
If you use medications to manage your disability, your preconception planning should include a medication review with your doctor. Your doctor can tell you if any medications are unsafe during pregnancy and plan alternative treatments.
Preparing Life for Parenthood
If you’re going to juggle life and parenthood, you need to set yourself up for success before the baby comes. That means making sure your home is up to par, your health is on track and have a plan for managing infant care.
If you have any outstanding medical needs, this is the time to take care of them. Try to make it so you only have to deal with routine appointments when your baby is young.
Ensure your home is fully adapted to the needs of your disability. Remodeling a home is expensive and it’s common to put off adaptations that aren’t strictly necessary. But if something is going to cause a safety hazard or a regular inconvenience when you’re caring for an infant, change it now. There are simple fixes you can do without springing for professional remodeling, such as replacing entrance steps with a ramp, using expandable hinges to widen doorways, or buying a kitchen table that can double as a seated work surface.
When it comes to planning for infant care, an occupational therapist can help you learn how to do child care tasks in your home and locate baby care equipment that meets your needs. And don’t underestimate the power of organization: Rearranging your home to keep routine items close at hand will make life much easier when you’re toting around an infant.
Finally, make sure you’ll have time in your schedule to keep up with your own needs after the baby arrives. You can’t afford to put your own health on the back burner. While neglecting self-management might free up some time in the short-term, it only makes life harder in the long run. There’s no shame in hiring a house cleaner or mother’s helper, or paying someone to grocery shop or walk the dog for you. If it makes your life easier and gives you the time and energy to be a better parent, do it.
While this advice can help people with disabilities as they plan for parenthood, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to parenting with disabilities. Every disability has its own challenges and victories, and everyone has their own beliefs about the best way to parent a little one. But no matter what parenthood looks like in your family, there’s always strength in planning ahead.