by Ashley Taylor
Parenthood is already challenging enough, but when you are hindered by a disability even the smallest of tasks can become enormous challenges. It is important that you remember that you are never alone in this--God is on your side. Parenthood is a wonderful journey, providing an amazing opportunity to grow in yourself and in your faith, but you must also do some preparation.
Setting Up for Functionality
As you prepare your home, you should be aware of your available space. Keeping up with a child as they grow can be a constant battle. You need to be sure that anywhere your child can go, you can go as well. If your home is a little crowded, you might consider decluttering so that you can access every nook and cranny they could possibly get into as well as make room for adaptable products such as cribs, baby carriers, and changing tables. A functional home is also a safe home, so make sure the floors are slip-free and free from tripping hazards. As a parent, you’ll worry about your little one, and that’s natural. Pray for your little one daily as they grow and change. Remember, God’s hands are on them always.
Being the proud parent of a newborn also means that you will be introduced to many new baby-raising products. An influx of new objects in your household can be confusing for the blind or visually impaired. Be sure to label these items appropriately with textured tape or braille so that you always know what you are giving your child.
The one thing you quickly learn as a parent is to expect the unexpected. Even the most proactive parents still wind up in scary situations with their child. Therefore, it is imperative to always have a Plan B, and have a phone close by ready to dial at a moment’s notice.
You can’t always expect to know everything you need to do and you also won’t always be in the immediate vicinity of your child. Baby monitors are good for giving visual and audible cues on the state of your child when they are sleeping or playing in another room. Keeping a monitor nearby means you can always keep tabs on your child, even when you are not by their side. Find peace that God is always watching over your child, so reach out to him in times of need and triumph.
Parenting with a disability may be challenging, but it’s not impossible. There are plenty of resources available to help you along the way. While you can expect there to be difficult moments along the way, you’ll find no greater joy than the bond you share with your child and the thrill you’ll experience watching them grow as a child of God.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6, NIV
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.
The Path Lit Only at My Feet
My stomach was nauseous, my heart sick for days. Should I? Or should I not? The question went in cycles in my head. I knew what felt most right for the moment, but when I thought forward to the months and years ahead I feared the repercussions of my decision.
My precious nephews, born just a few months apart, were to be Baptized into the Catholic Church. It was a huge moment for the families and for me. I’m not part of the Catholic Church, but there are few things sweeter than having a mother and father dedicate to raise their baby under God’s guidance and protection.
Just a few days before we were to get on the road to head that way, Micaela had a seizure. My mommy-instincts suspected that she seized due to mild sleep deprivation and getting over-stimulated at the New Year’s Eve dinner we had with family. An overnight trip felt like a bad gamble. I knew it. But it was breaking my heart. I don’t want to be a mom that puts unnecessary bubbles around her children. I want them to experience life and family. And yet, …
My husband agreed with me. Micaela’s seizures were becoming more frequent and it made no sense to expose her to a long weekend trip with unpredictable sleeping arrangements, lots of noise, and stress. And yet, …
I despaired and worried that I was turning into that overprotective mom that would keep Micaela from everything she needed. To be honest, I was also very concerned that I would hurt the feelings of the family I loved by not being there.
The morning Jovani and Adela were set to leave, we did our daily devotional, Every Day in His Presence, by Charles F. Stanley. As if God knew my torn heart, the reading of the day was about feeling indecisive. Stanley wrote, “Therefore, rest assured that even at this moment the Father is teaching you to trust Him. And He will give you just enough light on the path to walk with Him one step at a time.”
Wow. I knew the first step before me: protect Micaela. It was obvious.
I looked around at the packed suitcases and sleeping bags and let out a deep sigh. Peace flowed in. The future with Micaela’s progression and development, as well as the relationship I share with my beautiful family were in God’s hand.
The path lit at my feet reflected the need to protect this fragile child from a seizure that could wipe her out for days and land her in the hospital.
Next time, I hope I look down the path and am content that this first step is illuminated. It is enough. It is sufficient. Life is not dark and confusing for those who rest in God. We simply must put one foot in front of another and have faith.
How often do we come to a fork in the road and are terrorized by the unknown? We’re are paralyzed because we fear the long-term ramifications of a bad decision. However, if we breathe and look down, we will see just enough of the path to move our toes.
Have you ever been faced with a huge life decision and felt that you were incapable of making the best choice? How did you pick the direction you would go?
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"...and God was already there with me."