Ashley and her husband both have disabilities, so they knew planning for parenthood would take extra consideration. They have learned some valuable lessons and tips in their preparation for parenthood. They now have two amazing kids and maintain a website to help other disabled parents.
Many of the young people who come to Huck House have children of their own and Ashley’s blog below goes through some good questions to ask any soon-to-be parent.
Planning For Parenthood When You’re Disabled
4 Important Questions to Consider
Perhaps nothing is more exciting and yet terrifying than preparing for a child. The thought of that small bundle of joy resting quietly in your arms. The thought of that small bundle of joy screaming at the top of his lungs in your arms. Perhaps, nothing on Earth gives you quite the dichotomy of overflowing happiness and extreme frustration as parenting. And if you’re disabled, the weight of those considerations can seem overbearing.
As you start to ponder the question of parenthood, here are some questions you should consider.
Am I Physically Prepared?
There’s plenty you can do now to start preparing your body and mind for the healthiest pregnancy. Bringing a new life into the world is a huge responsibility and taking the time and care to do it in the safest way is important.
- Eliminate Stress – Too much stress can lead to difficulty with pregnancy including increased cortisol levels. It’s important to find ways to manage your stress, such as yoga, meditation, massage, exercise and journaling.
- Eat Healthy – Eliminate junk food and any unhealthy eating habits, like too much fast food before you get pregnant. You can also consider adding foods known to boost fertility, such as yams, almonds, salmon and leafy greens.
- Visit the Dentist – Periodontal disease is linked to preterm deliveries and underweight newborns, so make sure you’re up to date with your dental health care.
- Visit your doctor – Make sure to talk with your physician about how pregnancy might best be managed with your particular disability.
Is My Relationship Ready?
Contrary to popular belief, a child doesn’t always make for a stronger relationship. In fact, according to an internationally recognized expert in the field of child development and family studies, Jay Belsky Ph.D., 250 parents were monitored from the last trimester until their child reached the age of 3, and half of the couples grew further apart during that time period. Only 19 percent of the couples felt their relationship was stronger.
As you embark on your new role, it will be important to navigate the relationship pitfalls that may occur, like feeling bitter because you’re carrying a heavier share of the new baby workload or feeling too exhausted to consider keeping your sexual life alive. Take the time now to talk about some of these issues and how you plan to manage them.
Do I Have My Home Ready?
Many parents remember to put the car seat in the car before heading to the hospital, but it’s not always top of your mind to make sure your home is safe. Each room in your house can pose safety risks, so make sure you take the time to do a full house sweep. Here are some ideas to get your started.
- Corner protectors for coffee tables
- Outlet covers
- Magnetic cabinet and drawer latches
- Baby gates
- Toilet lid locks
Can I Afford Fertility Treatment If Necessary?
In some cases, couples may need medical assistance in becoming pregnant. And while some fertility treatments are easily treated, others may be more complicated. But, the good news is there are solutions. According to Qunomedical, “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.”
It’s important to consider that infertility treatments are not handled by most medical insurance policies, so you should research the costs of the IVF treatment. Pay careful attention to what is included in the price and what isn’t. Once you have a good idea of cost, determine an amount you can afford to set aside each month to pay the expense.
Being prepared for baby is as important as anything you’ll do in your life. Just as a gardener sows good soil for a fertile green garden, parents must carefully prepare as well. By taking time to work on health, home and your budget now, you’ll be ready to enjoy the beauty that is parenting.