Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Guide for Soon-to-Be Parents Living with a Disability

Image via Pixabay

Guest post by Ashley Taylor

Life with a physical disability makes you strong. The world is not always made for your ease, so you adapt and persevere. You may find yourself making modifications in ways that don’t even occur to people who don’t know what it is like living with a physical impairment. If you decide to have children, that truth doesn’t just go away. Being a parent comes with its share of difficulties, but those difficulties are amplified in your case.

When you live with a physical disability, you get used to listening to people who don’t really know what they are talking about. Whether they are making incorrect assumptions or doling out unsolicited advice regarding your situation, you’ve heard it all. When you have kids, that (sadly) does not change. In fact, you may find yourself dealing with more external noise regarding how to live your life. The challenges you face as a parent with a physical impairment combined with the outside clamor mean it is imperative that you take care of yourself in order to keep you mental health game strong.

Self-Care for the Parent with a Disability

You don’t become a parent if you hate taking care of other people… but the crazy schedule and workload of raising a child can sometimes distract you from taking care of yourself. Taking time out of your day for self-care is just as important for your child as it is for yourself. Self-care allows you to refocus and refresh in order to cope with the stress of being a new parent. You are better able to care for your child if you have a healthy mindset thanks to self-care. After all, the best way to care for others is to first take care of yourself.

Practicing self-care can be as simple as drinking a glass of water and as complex as confronting difficult emotions regarding your past. Simple or complex, find ways to practice self-care every day. Get light to moderate exercise in when you are able to. Focus on eating fresh and healthy whole foods, and cook if you have the time. Make appointments with your general physician and dentist for annual (or bi-annual) check-ups. It’s these little things you take for granted before you have kids, then find you sadly neglect them once children are in the picture.

Other Preparations to Make as a Parent with a Disability

While taking care of yourself is paramount, there are additional preparations to make in your life that can also help make life as a parent easier. New parents have to child-proof their home from top to bottom. As a parent living with a physical impairment, you have extra home modifications on your to-do list.

  • Add extra safety rails in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Make stairs easier to handle with safety ramps.
  • Invest in low pile carpet.
  • Consider moving electrical outlets and switches so you can access them but your kids cannot.
  • Automatic openers on doors can make it easier to lug in groceries and a car seat when moving around is already difficult.
  • Wider doorways and walkways can also help out.
  • Start saving extra money for emergency medical bills for the inevitable accidents that come with children.


Living with a physical disability makes you resilient, which is a pretty important characteristic for parenthood. As strong as you are, don’t let the stress of becoming a new parent get in the way of taking care of yourself. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t be at your best for your children. Take time out of your day for self-care and reflection. Prepare your home and finances for parenthood so you can focus on the daily responsibilities-- and joy-- that come with your children.  

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

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