If you’re planning to start your parenthood journey soon, there’s no reason to wait until conception to begin to plan. Like with any major life decision, the more you plan, the easier it is when the event finally rolls around. This goes double if you’re a soon-to-be parent with a disability. The good news is that disabled parents can be just as present and effective as non-disabled parents – especially in this day and age. Here’s what you can do at this moment to get a headstart on your journey.
Plan for possible fertilization treatments
If you have a disability, there may be a higher chance that you’ll struggle to conceive, when you eventually make the choice to begin trying. Luckily, In Vitro Fertilization is there as an option.
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, over 5 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.” Though IVF has become more affordable over the past decade, it can still hit your wallet pretty hard if you have to have multiple sessions. That’s why it’s vital that you begin saving now for any future IVF treatments. You should begin to save portions of your income immediately and practice small money-saving habits at home. They may seem minor, but they really add up.
Invest in some helpful baby tech
The bad news: much of what you need to do to take care of a child is made more difficult by a physical disability. The good news: there is a lot of cool adaptive/assistive technology out there to help. Some examples include a swivel baby seat for your car so you can have easy access to the front and back – even if you’re in a wheelchair; a crib that opens from the side, so it’s easily accessible from any position; and chest harness baby slings. Check out more essential products here.
Everyone knows that preparing for parenthood requires a healthy dose of parenting literature. You’ll probably get a couple copies of What to Expect at your baby shower. Reading parenting literature is vital, as it helps you prepare for what is, at least to you right now, a completely foreign experience. But you also need to seek out parenting literature that talks about your unique experience: parenting as a person with a disability. There’s not as many books and articles on this, so you may have to do some digging.
Consider some smart home modifications
Before your baby comes, you need to start the process of modifying your home for better mobility, comfort, and safety. What specific modifications you will need will depend on your particular disability, but there are some that almost anyone with a disability will find helpful now and down the road.
First, an easy and cheap way to make your house safer is to improve the lighting. LED bulbs are better for many than incandescent, and those with visual impairments can be aided by direct lighting (lamps) in addition to overhead lighting. You can begin to replace or cover stairs with ramps. You can add child locks to drawers and cabinets. You can add handles and grab rails to slippery parts of your home (like the kitchen and bathrooms).
So, what are you waiting for? Start saving now, plan for some essential home mods, invest in some helpful baby tech, and bury your head in some books and other parenting resources. You’ll be welcoming a new baby to your home before you know it.
Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com