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Preparing for Parenthood as a Disabled Parent

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 Preparing for Parenthood as a Disabled Parent

Guest Blog by Ashley Taylor

disabledparents.org

Preparing for Parenthood as a Disabled Parent

The anticipation of having a new child is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. After all, you want to give your child the best life possible. And when you have a disability, your life can be even more unpredictable. Learning how to balance the responsibilities of parenthood with a disability is something that millions of people must consider each year. Just know you’re not alone, and there are many resources and options available for you.

Here are a few suggestions on important steps you need to take to prepare psychologically and emotionally, as well as some ways to make sure your home is ready for your new baby.

Find support

An important part of psychologically preparing yourself for parenthood is getting the specifics about what your child needs. One of the best (and cheapest!) resources is asking friends and family about their own experiences raising children. Conversations about routine things you need to do as a parent can help develop confidence as you visualize and make other preparations to be successful.

There are also online communities and resources that can help you adapt your unique experiences to the responsibilities of parenthood. Through these communities, you can find people with similar experiences, learn what they did, find out what works and doesn’t work, and brainstorm your own approach. This can help you develop confidence in your own abilities and can also help identify strengths that you bring to parenting.

Take advantage of leisure time

According to The New York Times, a parent’s emotional resilience impacts the emotional resilience of their children, so it’s extra important that we prepare ourselves to handle the emotional ups and downs that parenthood brings. Giving yourself some time to rest and recharge is important, so make sure that you share responsibilities with your partner or anyone else who is helping you raise your children.

According to The Atlantic, studies have shown that some parents come to enjoy and appreciate their leisure time more after they become parents. Leisure time is something everyone enjoys but maybe doesn’t always take advantage of, so don’t worry about having a perfect-looking house or getting everything done. Who knows? Maybe becoming a parent will bring you a little closer to finally writing that novel or tackling a new knitting project.

Make your home baby-ready

One big step is considering the changes you may need to make to your home. Clearly this will vary based on your particular abilities and living circumstances. Some common modifications include installing grab bars in tubs and showers to assist in bathing your children, or using nonslip rugs and mats to make sure both you and your child are safe. Go through each room in your home and visualize what you need to do. There are many online guides that can help you figure out which modifications can help.

Another resource to consider is an occupational therapist. Occupational therapists use specialized assessments to model complexities that may arise in the fulfillment of your parenting tasks. They can identify and come up with alternate solutions or methodologies that are designed for your lifestyle. Additionally, they can provide an invaluable resource for identifying and installing housing modifications that you need.

You’ve got this

Overall, there are a lot of resources to help make sure you feel confident and prepared. Whether you’re making home modifications or having important conversations about the division of caregiving responsibilities, preparing early will help make the parenting experience more manageable. You’re already making progress by searching for information and thinking about any improvements or changes you need to make. Ultimately, your unique experience and teachings will help to give your child the necessary tools to live a resilient and happy life.

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