If you’re living with a disability while preparing for parenthood, you may be filled with a whole host of emotions. You may feel excited about embarking on one of life’s greatest adventures – but you may be a little anxious, too. Becoming a new parent isn’t easy for anyone, regardless of ability or impairment, but it’s worth it. With a little planning and preparation, you can make the journey to parenthood a little less stressful.
If you’re living with a disability and preparing to become a parent, keep these tips in mind.
Prepare Your Home
Preparing the home is usually one of the first things new or expecting parents tackle. You can start by decluttering to help make room for baby items and furniture. Try not to block passageways, like hallways and entrances, or do anything that will decrease any parent’s mobility. You’ll also want to set up rooms for accessibility when changing or feeding.
Between their belongings and all of the gear and supplies needed for a baby, many parents start to run out of room. To keep your spaces open, pack up anything you don’t currently use, even furniture. If you can tuck it away in an attic or basement, do so. If space is at a minimum, rent a short-term storage unit.
Make Sure You’re Emotionally and Mentally Prepared
Becoming a new parent is a magical experience that brings about its own set of stressors. From anxiety during pregnancy to the reality of being a new parent, do what you can to make sure you’re mentally prepared. Remember, despite what you might see on social media, every new parent struggles in the beginning. It can take a real toll on your emotions.
Although some level of stress is normal, things can get out of hand if you don’t know how to cope. Before the baby arrives, start working on positive ways to manage parental stress. Despite what society might want you to believe, give yourself permission to not feel selfish for taking time to care for yourself. Make sure you include it in your regular routine. Most importantly, know that no parent is perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t compare yourself to other parents.
Plan Ahead for Your Family’s Future
Before you even have your baby, you should start making arrangements to help secure your family’s future. Death can be a difficult topic, especially when welcoming a new addition to your home. However, it’s very important to prepare a will so that you can decide how to divide your assets among your family, and you can appoint a guardian for your child if both you and your spouse pass away early.
Make Your Home Accessible and Safe for All
Living with a disability means making sure your home is as accessible as possible for you. Meanwhile, being a parent involves making your home safe for your child. Take care of both of you at the same time with some home upgrades.
There are several home projects that will make your living space safer and more comfortable for all. Prevent falls by using slip-resistant flooring options and making sure any rugs are securely in place. In the nursery, you may want to go with carpet, a soft option for little ones and those who are susceptible to falling.
Be especially mindful of the bathrooms, too. Simple changes, like adding grab bars and some seating, can make bathing your child easier – and safer – for you. Take care of some basic child-proofing as well, like locks on cabinet doors and covers on outlets.
Connect with People and Resources that Can Help
For new parents, having a support system can be a lifesaver. You don’t have to do it all alone. Look for resources that can help you manage your new role. Create a network of friends and family members who will be there when you need them most. A meal train is a great option for new parents as they get used to their new schedules.
You might also check out local support groups for mothers and parents in your area. You can find groups that can help with everything from breastfeeding to safely losing that baby weight. In addition to some very helpful advice, these groups are also a great way to create connections and build friendships with other new parents. Talking with new parents who understand you can be a big stress-reliever.
Becoming a new parent is one of the most magical journeys you will ever take. Remember, it’s okay to be imperfect, and don’t let anyone shame you for your choices. Take some deep breaths, get some support, and prepare your home in advance for your little one’s arrival. By planning ahead and remembering to take it one day at a time, you’ll be on track to become a great parent.