Hello and welcome back to A Nu You: Maximizing Life with a Disability! Today’s topic is parenting with a disability. Can I even be a parent? How can I physically raise a child? Where will I find the time to manage my disability and take care of a child? The answer to all of these questions if YES, you can!
First, just like anyone who does not have a disability, there is no certainty, no guarantee that one can have his/her own biological child. However, if you cannot, there are plenty of children in the world today who would love for you to adopt them, so that is always an option. Just know that with medical and technological advances, more people with disabilities are having their own children than ever before. If that is your desire, there are many avenues you can explore to try and make this happen.
Once your child has arrived, a whole new set of challenges surface, but even more for a parent with a disability. While this is a whole new set of experiences and exploration must take place, you want to acknowledge your physical capabilities and limitations. If you are a single parent than this is even more crucial. If you have a significant other, than communication, as always is the key. There will be some mental hurdles as well because there will be some areas that you may never feel comfortable and you must accept those. Be gentle and patient with yourself and give what you can and where you can.
When my first child was born, my daughter Nia, I can recall a moment when she was just a few weeks old. It was winter time in New Jersey and a snowstorm had just dumped a good amount of snow. My wife wanted to do a little shoveling and I told her that I would be fine with Nia, who was in a playpen in the living room. She told me to text her if Nia began to cry and needed to be picked up. Well, within just a few minutes, Nia began crying and rather than text Pat, I decided to troubleshoot the situation on my own. Nia was in a onesie, which buttons all the way up the front, so I immediately thought that I could grab the onesie in the front, lift her up with one hand/arm and brace myself with the other arm considering that I have little trunk balance. I got my grip and began lifting her and talking to her as I lifted her. “Now keep your neck straight and look at me, Nia,” I coached her. Normally a baby of this age does not have any neck control and you do not want it to just fall backwards. Well, she tightened up that neck and held it firm with her eyes fixated on me and we did it! I put her on my lap and comforted her from there. What was very intriguing is that I did the same thing with my son when he was born two and a half years later. It was almost as if both kids knew that I was going to do things differently than mommy and that they needed to help me out. Kids are very adaptable and will adapt to your disability in so many ways!
As always, take advantage of those with disabilities who have had or are currently raising children. We are a close knit community and can offer some great tips and strategies for managing our disabilities and raising our children.
So here are today’s Nu Challenges for you:
- KNOW that you can do this! Based on everything else that you have been through, raising a child will be challenging and a whole new world for you, but you got this!
- COMMUNICATE with your significant other or others who may be helping you in this journey about the physical concerns you may have in raising your child.
- CONNECT with other parents with disabilities to learn about their tips and strategies for effective parenting with disabilities.
If you have any questions or comments regarding today’s topic, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Until next time, when we will be talking about living with passion and purpose, thanks for playing full out in creating a A Nu You.