Be Ready for Your Bundle of Joy
Guest Post by Ashley Taylor
There is a huge difference between getting ready and being ready for parenthood. Here, we’ll explain why the latter is so important and cover a few ways you can prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for your newest family member, regardless of your (dis)abilities. Also included, practical advice on the first weeks of your new life.
Understand that stress is part of the package
Stress is ever-present from the first moment you decide to become a parent. As a parent, you begin to see dangers everywhere and worry about things such as finances, childcare, and whether or not your child will be emotionally stable as an adult. As a parent with a disability, you have the added pressure of worrying whether your child will face the same struggles as you have. You must learn to cope with stress by seeing the big picture and practicing self-care each day. By taking care of yourself, you will be in a better position to care for your family. Eat well, get plenty of sleep and exercise, and avoid the temptation to consider yourself less of a parent in those moments where the struggle is all too real.
Never underestimate the power of prayer
Preparing yourself spiritually is every bit as important as preparing yourself mentally and physically. Pray for strength and find solace knowing that whatever lies ahead is part of God’s plan. This prayer from CrossWalk.com may serve as inspiration.
Create a financial plan of action
Creating a financial plan will help you get ready and be ready when your baby arrives. Bank Rate suggests making a list of priorities and communicating those with your spouse or partner. Having your money in order will help you better plan ahead, whether you choose to be a stay-at-home parent or need to budget for child care. You and your partner will have one less thing to determine once the baby arrives and can spend more time focusing on your budding family.
Determine which parenting gear will enhance your abilities
All parents must make changes to their homes upon bringing a child into the picture. But as a parent with a physical disability, your changes may be far greater. The American Psychological Association points out that numerous advances in adaptive parenting have been made over the last two decades. Equipment such as baby lifters, modified furniture, and wheelchair accessories that make nursing and feeding easier are now readily available. Determine which adaptive parenting equipment is right for you and make changes to your living space to accommodate these items.
In addition to being ready mentally and spiritually, there are ways to get yourself together physically before baby makes three. Start by getting enough sleep in the days and weeks prior to the birth (and in the months that follow). Make a point to spend a few extra special nights simply enjoying time with your partner. Eat plenty of fresh foods and plan ahead for your homecoming by prepping a few healthy meals that you can enjoy without spending hours in the kitchen. Once you’ve made it home as a new family, take turns feeding and changing the baby so that each parent has an opportunity to rest. Don’t sweat the small stuff – unmade beds, messy hair – and slow down and soak in each moment. Your little one won’t be little for long and you’ll soon pine for the chaos of this stage of life.
Your life has been shaped by your experiences and only you can know when you’re ready for a family. By making sure your expectations are in line with reality, you can overcome any obstacle you may face. Don’t neglect your physical, mental, or spiritual health because you will need all of your strength in each when your nine months of preparation is over and your life as a parent begins.
About the Author
Ashley and her husband have two amazing kids, but it wasn't always that way. Both she and her husband have disabilities and knew that because of their disabilities becoming parents and parenthood, in general, would require extra planning and prep.
From the get-go, they started saving for IVF treatments and making modifications to their home that would make them and their future children safer. Along the way, they picked up a lot of great resources on planning and preparing for parenthood as parents with disabilities and they learned some valuable lessons, too. She has started a blog, Disabledparents.org, to show her gratitude to the universe for all the ways they’ve been blessed.
You can contact Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org