People with physical disabilities sometimes have a long road to becoming parents. From infertility, to making modifications to your accessible home to ensure everyone’s safety, you may face several challenges along the way. Our tips will help.
3 Ways to Prepare for Life as a Parent with a Disability
1. Be Prepared for IVF
If you, your partner, or both of you live with physical disabilities, you may face a decision about fertility treatments. If your doctors have suggested in vitro fertilization (IVF), you will need to prepare yourselves mentally and financially for this type of treatment. Even though many couples agree they will do just about anything to get pregnant, you need to consider the costs of the treatment (click here for an IVF cost and regulation guide). In fact, one study shows that high costs are a determining factor in couples’ decisions to get more affordable treatment abroad.
You also need to understand that various countries regulate IVF differently, and some have specific regulations about the age IVF may be used, the number of embryos that a doctor can implant, and whether donor eggs or sperm may be used. Learn the success rates of IVF in various countries before you make a decision. Fortunately, “the success and availability of in vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.”
Once you decide to pursue IVF, start saving for treatments. More traditional ways of covering the costs include saving more money from each pay period, dipping into a retirement fund, or using a flexible health savings account if your insurance plan allows for you to do so. Today, couples are getting creative about paying for IVF. Some raise money through online fundraisers, while others use online auctions and swap and sell sites to supplement their savings.
2. Prepare Your Home
Once you are pregnant, prepare your home for your new bundle of joy. Many people with disabilities live in accessible homes with features such as walk-in or roll-in showers, lower counter heights, and non-slip flooring. Other accessibility features in your home may make it difficult for you to baby proof it, so plan to ensure the safety of your family. For example, if you have 36-inch wide doorways, get baby gates that extend far enough to accommodate your wider doorways. Also, if you have lower counters, lock your cabinets and drawers with childproof locks since items will be more accessible to your toddler, too.
One area of babyproofing that parents often overlook is putting guards or locks on windows. Even if you live in an accessible one-story home, you need to ensure your child’s safety by baby proofing the windows because he could crawl out of one or pull an open window down on himself. Most accessible homes also feature windows that are low to the floor, anyway, so it is imperative that you install guards to protect your child. Keep in mind that different types of windows require different types of baby proofing.
3. Reduce Risk of Falling
If you are concerned about falling while carrying your child, use this checklist to prevent falls. Many home modifications to reduce the risk of falling are simple fixes that you can do yourself, including tightening handrails and repairing broken ones, securing all area rugs with non-skid pads or double-sided tape, and using floor cleaner and wax this is non-skid. Install grab bars in your bathroom, especially once you begin bathing your newborn in your tub. Keep items you use most frequently within reach when you care for your baby, too.
Another way to reduce the risk of falling is increasing the amount of lighting in your home. Place nightlights along your path to the baby’s room and put one in his bedroom. Have a licensed electrician install lights at the top and bottom of stairs, and keep a lamp near your bed and near the baby’s crib. Evaluate your home’s lighting and make sure you add lighting to all dark areas.
People living with disabilities who long to be parents should prepare themselves for IVF, modify accessible homes to ensure the family’s safety, and take steps to reduce their risk of falling while caring for children.
Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org 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.
I’m not going to lie: I almost stole McCall. Those curls and those crystal blue eyes. Who wouldn’t want to steal him after spending time with him?!
He made me laugh so much when he sneezed and I handed him hand sanitizer. McCall licked it. I learned to give better instructions and gave him a good cuddle for that mistake!
April is stunning. She’s such a gentle soul. A speech therapist by trade, I could easily see her patience and perseverance at this maternity session.
Everything about her color scheme just screamed serene.
We carried the same color scheme over into her newborn session. I love how this made both galleries perfectly suited for either an album or a wall collage together.f
This tiny smile in this Piper Romper from Lydia’s Hope Chest was my favorite from this session.
Interested in booking a studio maternity and newborn session with Quiet Graces? I’d love to help you create a cohesive gallery perfect for an album. Your first step to booking your session is to contact us. We’ll send you information about working with us in the studio and help you create the session of your dreams.
Meet Giovanna or Gia for short. This sweet rainbow baby came to me for photos in Greenville SC.
A rainbow baby is a little one who came after the storm of loss. The beauty in rainbow babies is how their parents treasure them. The joy these little ones bring is so tangible you feel like you can scoop it from the air like ice cream.
So, of course, we had to photograph sweet Gia with my rainbow prop. Gia is just an incredible little person. Her smile is always ready to light up the room. I wish I had videoed her sweet singing as she talked to me and her mama Marie.
Because I believe in telling the whole story rather than just showing a perfect life-business picture, I will confess I made a costly mistake in Gia’s session. We had just returned from vacation and my memory card wasn’t in my camera for half of the session. I had put my cards in my smaller camera to do videos of our trip and not returned it. I’ve since reprogrammed my camera to not take images if I don’t have a memory card installed!
Marie was extremely gracious and while we proceeded with finishing her original session, she, like me, was upset about the missed shots from when my memory card was missing. So a week later Marie and Gia came back for a second session so that I could correct my mistake. I’m so glad we both agreed that this needed to be done. I’m so honored that Marie gave me the opportunity to make it right.
I’m not infallible, but I do want my potential customers to know that I will strive to make my mishaps or mistakes correct.
I’d love to work with you to create the images you envision to remember your little one by. I’ve stocked the studio full of timeless wardrobe items (all but this pink dress are mine!) and a few creative props to keep your little one still while also adding to the photo. And if I make a mistake, know that I will strive to make it right.
Interested in booking a milestone session for your little one? Contact me today.
I was so honored when his parents decided to book both a 6 month and a 12 month session. I can’t tell you how good it feels to watch a mama (and her baby) grow over the first year and be able to encourage each mama on her journey. Because return clients are my favorite clients and I really like to honor their loyalty through our Baby Plan/Rewards program.
Grady’s mama Courtney wants to bring a baseball theme through all of his sessions this year. His daddy loves baseball and we’ve incorporated his favorite glove. I love being able to honor requests like this that bring such sentimental memories to life in a visual way. Years from now when the boys are playing catch in the yards, Courtney will look back on these heirlooms with joy. Here are his newborn images.
And here are his baseball images from his six month session. He just loved the stitching on the ball and trying to pick it up!
And I can’t resist an image of sweet dimpled baby hands holding onto this special glove. For me, the beauty is always in the tiniest of details. Details are what stir our hearts to remember.
Courtney, thank you for trusting me with documenting Grady’s growth. I hope you will cherish these memories for as long as you live. Also, your boy has the best personality ever!
Looking to capture your six month old (or older!) sitting baby? I would love to be able to give you heirloom prints and digital files. Never forget their pudgy fingers or the way you loved them from head to toe.
Click here to inquire about your session today. Or click here to learn a little more about what it’s like to work with Quiet Graces Photography. We want to be an encouragement and memory maker for your family.
Rumor has it two total strangers have approached Lydia’s mama and said “I know your daughter! I’ve seen her on the Quiet Graces Photography Facebook Page. She’s even more beautiful in person!” It’s true: Lydia may be the most photographed child in the history of Quiet Graces. I have no shame. I love her.
Lydia and her sisters came out for our trial run of our Glitter Princess Event coming up on June 9 & 10.
Lydia was an absolute stinker at 2.5 She pretty much just scowled at me and muttered “no,” but the glitter won her over momentarily.
I’m so glad because these are some of my favorite portraits of Lydia ever!