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Preparing for Parenthood When You Have a Disability

Becoming a parent for the first time can be an exciting and overwhelming process, especially if you have a disability. Being a disabled parent brings its own set of challenges. However, with a bit of planning and the right resources, you can feel more at ease during this phase of life. Here are some tips to help prepare you for parenthood when you have a disability.

Modify Your Home Room by Room

Modify your home in a way that suits your circumstances. For example, you can install grab bars in baths and showers, use non-slip rugs and mats. You can also get a bath ring so your baby can sit up on their own in the bath. Get clothes for the baby that are easy to put on and take off, and select a feeding chair that keeps them securely in place.

Visit a Baby Supply Shop

It’s worth visiting a specialist baby supply shop to experiment with how things work so you know which item best suits your personal needs. Once you have the knowledge of what is available to help you look after your baby, you’ll be better placed to choose items that suit your needs.

Take Extra Care With Baby Proofing

Consider keeping the baby on the same floor as you for easy access, and get a baby monitor to help you feel more at ease whenever you’re not in the same room as them. You can use alarms that make a sound or emit a bright light in your room if they are crying. When baby proofing, you’ll want to gate off any stairways and railings, tuck cords away, and put child proof locks on doors or drawers you don’t want them getting into.

Find a Support Network

While you may be feeling isolated, it’s important that you find a support network to help you through this time. Whether it’s a group of other disabled parents that can offer shared experiences and advice, a formal organisation that has tools and resources available to new parents, your family and friends, or even an online forum, chances are that you’ll feel more empowered if you reach out.

You can also attend playgroups once your baby has arrived; this will help socialise your child, nurture a bond between you, and help you feel connected to other parents. If possible, find a babysitter you can trust so you can take a break when you need to.

Enlist the Help of an Occupational Therapist

As your child grows and develops at various stages in their life, you will discover new challenges. In order to adapt and innovate practical solutions, try to see an occupational therapist from time to time. Everyone is different, but seeking help will make it easier to cope with unique situations and circumstances that arise.

Lastly, in preparation for parenthood, it’s important that you get plenty of rest before the baby arrives. Be compassionate to yourself and be prepared for accidents or mistakes. But remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes, and you’re doing a great job.

Guest post written by Ashley Taylor of disabledparents.org

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