Today we are sharing a very important and informative guest post by Ashley Taylor. Take a read.
There is no right or wrong way to react to learning that your baby has a mental or physical disability. However, after the shock and deluge of emotions, you need to start preparing. Your little one might need more help, so it's best to begin transforming your home and lives as soon as possible.
Your child is going to need health insurance as children with disabilities who have it are more likely to receive good care. Thankfully, there are many plans, including government assisted, that give your child the best quality of life possible. Most disabled children have access to Medicare after having received social security for two years. The good thing is, even if you have private insurance, you can still get Medicare for your child. (This applies to USA citizens and differs for South African citizens and worldwide.)
You will need to start building your savings. By making small changes, you can plan for additional expenses. Is your bank giving you the best interest? Sell off some collectibles to not only free up space for your incoming baby, but also earn a small profit. You can pick up a bit of work online to build up your income without sacrificing your free time.
Prepare Your Home
Remodeling to make your home handicap accessible can be expensive, but that doesn't mean every modification has to break the bank. Many such changes can be affordable. Adding a threshold ramp in doorways can aid in mobility, especially as your child ages, but isn't costly. Add grab bars to bathrooms, and handrails can be placed by doors or where movement may be difficult. Add non-slip padding where it is needed, such as in the shower or on any tiling. Depending on your child's disability, you may need more or less modifications. Speak to your doctor about what changes they recommend and which need to be done first.
Look after Yourself
This is going to be a hard time for you. We love our babies. Nothing will change that. You want what is best for them, and may feel grief over the life they might have led, fear for their future after you're gone, or anger that this has happened to them. You need to treat yourself gently, as your emotions are likely to fluctuate. Take extra time with your partner to work through any issues that may arise in your relationship. Don't waste emotional energy blaming anyone for what has happened.
It's now time to work together to build the happiest life you can for you and your baby. This also means you may need to take some time to be alone, or to simply spend a little extra with your friends. You may decide to go to a counselor, either alone or together, which is a healthy way to learn to cope with new stressors in your life and your baby's life.
Look for Support
One of the best things you can do for yourself at this stage is to find support. Scour social media for parents who are in a similar situation to you. They will have invaluable information to share, so you can understand what to truly expect from your child's diagnosis, and how you can make your little one's life the best it can be. They can also provide a lot of hope for those who feel mired down, or stuck in self-blame circular thinking. There are emotional support groups out there to get you through the pregnancy with optimism and to move past your emotional hurdles.
It may seem early, but there are also school groups you can join. Learning from other parents on how to navigate the school system with a child with special needs can be invaluable later on, but as there is so much to learn, it's best to join as soon as possible.
There is no denying that this will be a stressful time. Things will go wrong, and you may find yourself experiencing emotional upheavals. However, with a bit of preparation and time spent taking care of yourself, this can be a joyous occasion. Our babies may need extra help, but that doesn't mean we love them less.
Read more on the subject at disabledparents.org.
Top image by Modern Burlap.