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Advice for First Time Parents with Disabilities

Becoming a parent is one of life’s greatest adventures. It’s quite unpredictable, has its fair share of ups and downs, and it might very well leave you sleepless f. But parenthood is also magical and rewarding.

Regardless of the situation, parenting is always difficult. Becoming a parent when you have a disability can be even more of a challenge. However, the desire to become parents and the love of one’s kids breaks all barriers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when awaiting this great adventure.

  1. Be realistic

    One of the first tips available to parents to be is to be realistic about their expectations. That is, understand that your life will change considerably, but that everything is worth it as you see your little one grow and thrive. It’s important to remember that your schedule will change, and being prepared for this will likely give you more fortitude to withstand the stress and these inevitable changes. As the Huffington Post suggests in their new parenting tips, always remind yourself that things will get better. Breathe. Relax.

  2. You are Human

    Understand that you are human and will therefore make mistakes. You are not expected to be a perfect parent because there is no such thing. They simply do not exist. Psychology Today reports that loving your child unconditionally begins with loving yourself unconditionally. You want to focus on enjoying your child and connecting with them. When you make mistakes, recognise them and repair.

  3. Use the Resources

    A parent with disabilities faces many challenges, but it is good to remember that you are not entirely alone and that there is support out there for you. The Centre for Parent Information and Resources provides some good information on various resources available. The National Council on Disability is another good resource to get started in searching for possible avenues of help and support.

  4. Prepare your Home

    While there are a million things to consider regarding the new baby’s room, such as wall color, blankets, and design, it is even more important to keep in mind maintenance so that your house is safe. This might include:

    • Checking your smoke detectors. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2013 fire alarms sounded in more than half of reported house fires. Check your smoke alarms regularly by changing the batteries about every six months, checking them monthly and ensuring the detectors are working.
    • Checking and replacing a carbon monoxide detector. Children are at a higher risk of CO poisoning because of their rapid breathing. It is important to regularly check your CO detector by checking the battery to ensure it’s functioning properly.
    • Install a functioning fire extinguisher and know how to use it. A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property in the event of a fire.
    • Secure furniture. If you have large pieces of furniture, it is a good idea to secure heavy items to avoid tip overs and to increase safety. You will want to purchase furniture anchors, and double check that the restraints are tight. Don’t forget to check them regularly. For televisions, consider mounting them high on the wall to avoid tip overs.
  5. Money and Budgeting

    A big part of bringing in a new member of the family includes budgeting for all the new expenses that are about to come your way. Start by making a list and finding out about maternity leave, health care, and possible child care options. Depending on the disability, it could mean grants or special coverage are available to you, so be sure to do your research.

Parenting is one of the most important jobs you can have and there are no days off. Planning ahead as much as possible can help you prepare once the new addition to the family comes into the picture, bracing yourself, fixing your house, looking for resources in the community, but most of all enjoying the greatest thrill of all: raising a child.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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