Preparing For Parenthood: Six Ways Disabled Parents Can Get Ready
Welcoming a child into your family is one of the greatest joys you’ll experience in your lifetime, but it isn’t for the faint of heart. Parenting is a lifetime commitment of leadership, learning, laughter, and love. However, there are some important things you need to do to get ready for this commitment. Let’s look at them.
Get Your Budget in Order
You’ve probably heard by now: parenting isn’t cheap. In fact, the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 21 comes to a whopping £230,000 total. This means you need to start working on your budget now.
Find a Good Doctor
Not all doctors are the same, so it’s important to take the time to find one that you feel comfortable with. Start by touching base with your insurance company to see what physicians are included in your plan. Next, ask friends and family if they have any referrals. A recommendation from someone you know is always a good place to start. Once you’ve settled on a visit, go prepared with a good list of questions.
According to Dr. Jonathan Schaffir, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, if you have medical conditions, which would include a disability, “it's important to seek out a provider who has some expertise and comfort in dealing with those particular problems.” Call around to various physicians included in your plan to find one who suits your medical needs.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress has plenty of negative consequences on your health, and when you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s no different. Too much stress leads to the production of an enzyme known as alpha-amylase, and this enzyme is directly linked to problems getting pregnant. Similarly, too much stress during pregnancy can lead to multiple complications, including insomnia, high blood pressure, headaches, eating disorders, and heart disease.
For these reasons, you should find activities that help reduce your stress level. One thing to consider is knitting; get started on a baby afghan or baby booties. A recent study revealed that knitting is directly linked to lower levels of depression and anxiety, and it’s also said to distract from chronic pain.
Engage in Parenting Debates
Surely we shouldn’t debate with our spouses about parenting! Actually, that’s exactly what you should do. Several sensitive subjects should be handled before your start your family.
Make Home Modifications
Once the baby arrives, you should have your nursery set up and your home baby-proofed so you’re not having to deal with those projects as you begin parenting. Do a room-by-room inspection to eliminate any hidden dangers and note any areas that need modifying.
As a disabled parent, you’ll also have to consider other things that may be difficult for you to navigate. Here are a few examples.
Network with Other Disabled Parents
The message boards at Disabled Parenting Project put parents in direct contact with one another. This allows for the sharing ideas, posing questions, and making a social network with those that are dealing with similar issues.
Through The Looking Glass is a nonprofit organization that offers training and services for people with disabilities, including parents.
Being a parent will allow you to experience every emotion in your playbook, even ones you didn’t know you had. Do your best to be prepared, then sit back and enjoy the ride. As comedian Jim Gaffigan explains, ”I don’t know what’s more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early, or acting like you know what you’re doing.”