Hi all,
I was asked by Ashley to add this article from her concerning a very real predicament that thousands of parents find themselves in on raising children when they are coping with their own disabilities.
I hope you enjoy the article x

Parents with disabilities

Parents with disabilities can overcome challenges

No one should feel alone when raising a child. Even parents without disabilities need help and support. Every individual parent has a set of strengths that we can offer, and you will have your own. However, it is still important to know what resources are available to us to make our lives just a bit easier.

Get Accessible Equipment

One of the most important aspects of parenting is going to be finding equipment that helps you in situations that may be a bit tough otherwise. You can find some pre made such as chest carriers that keep your baby close while offering you the use of your arms. Velcro baby bibs are useful tools for any new parent as they are easy to manage, especially if you have limited mobility.

If you’re in a wheelchair, there are even strollers now made just for you. You can modify some of the equipment you’ll get to make it more accessible. If you need a wheelchair accessible crib, you may have to make your own. It’s important to remember that, no matter what you face, there will be help through accessible equipment. Here are some more ways to make parenting easier with disabilities.

Choose the Right Seat

Every family that has a car is going to need a car seat for the new little one, not only to satisfy the law but also to keep baby safe. Read your manual to ensure you know where to attach your car seat, and to determine whether a LATCH or belt seat is the best bet. Rear-facing car seats are the safest and should be used as long as possible. Only switch to a front-facing seat when your little one has grown tall enough. Once they reach 40 pounds, they can graduate to a booster seat, but still should remain seated in the rear of the car, as that is safest.

They grow faster than you think! It’s never too early to start planning for when your baby will need a booster seat over a car seat. And remember, you’ll want something that cleans easily, so look for smooth fabrics over textured ones.

Peer Support

One of the most important things we can do as parents is to get help from others, which is different for everyone. If you have a supportive partner, rely on them to share the burdens and blessings of raising your baby. Family is an excellent resource if they are local, and you have a good relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask your parents to babysit to help build the accessible equipment you may need, or even just to stop by with a casserole or pot of soup. Every little thing will add up.

If you have some close friends, it’s important to reach out to them as well. They can double as babysitters so you can take an afternoon nap, but they’re also an important way for you to relax and have some relaxing “me” time. Even sitting down once every two weeks for a 30-minute cup of coffee to catch up and gab a bit can help you feel like a person and less like an automated diaper-changer.

Find Groups

One of the best resources out there for parents with disabilities is going to be groups and services designed just for you. They may seem hard to find, but even a support group on Facebook may be beneficial. The other parents may be distant, in far parts of the country (or world), but the advice and emotional support they can give may be invaluable. It may be a good idea to also look for organizations that are there to give you support. Specific organizations offer workshops, tutorials, all kinds of things to help you best prepare for the many changes coming your way.

You’ll have to remember that, sometimes, it’s OK to step back and have a bit of a breath. You’re going to lose a lot of your free time, but it’s going to be more important than ever to take care of yourself and your little one. Find the support you need to be, not only successful, but also as relaxed as possible. Both you and your baby deserve happy parents, after all.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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