Despite the challenges he’s faced in the more than 2 decades since he’s been paralyzed, Alan Brown has found the time to be incredibly rich and fulfilling. The foundation of his happiness has come from raising his two boys, both of whom were born after his injury. “We were totally surprised,” shared Alan about his wife’s first pregnancy, which was conceived naturally. Their second son was conceived with the help of in-vitro fertilization.
4 keys to parenting after a new spinal cord injury:
- Be realistic about the challenges when deciding to become a parent. Your partner will have to do more of the physical tasks associated with a baby. “Make sure both you and your partner are on the same page in this regard,” Alan suggests.
- “Let the kids be around, and be honest with them, but at the start, don’t let them see too much of what is happening to you,” Alan shares. “Your body is in shock and they don’t need to see all of what you’re going through.”
- “Don’t over-parent at the beginning,” Alan advises. “You’re still trying to figure out your own life. Find a balance, especially early on.”
- “Don’t push your kids to be a caregiver. Help them to learn to want to help you on their own by being up front with them,” Alan shares.
The challenges he’s faced as a dad have been more than worth it. He’s watched his kids mature, often faster than other kids. They’ve developed a strong sense of responsibility as Alan has given them tasks to be helpful.
“In a lot of ways, I’ve become the go to dad for my kids and their friends. I make sure I’m available as much as I can be and I’m willing to talk to them about their concerns, joke around with them, and give them advice when they need it.”
Being a good parent is not tied to physical mobility, so don’t let the challenges weigh you down.
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