Lizzy Gwilliam is a mother who has a disability. She gives the following advice for expectant mothers with disabilities who are preparing for a baby.
Finding The Right Professionals
Lizzy states to find professionals who understand that your disability is not the first thing about you - first and foremost, you are a pregnant woman.
She believes a pragmatic, helpful, and sensitive midwife is also crucial. Lizzy recommends checking to see if the midwife can be with you during the birth.
Check Access Routes
Lizzy advises that if you use a wheelchair for mobility to go to the hospital and check access routes before delivery.
She suggests, “When the time comes, check you can stay on the labour suite, even if you’re not ready to give birth – endless logistical to-ing and fro-ing is energy-sapping.”
Lizzy says to manage your expectations and birth plan because your disability may limit them. She gives a few tips for managing your birth plan. Like, discuss pain relief options before you need them because disabilities that affect the spine can make epidurals more difficult.
Lizzy suggests having your partner with you or someone you trust by your side during the whole labor and delivery process.
Lizzy states to be sure you can easily access the bathroom and facilities that go with it. She recommends asking for a side room in the postnatal ward.
“If you have difficulty using your arms and hands, you’ll need help learning to hold, cuddle and feed your baby,” says Lizzy. She suggests carrying your baby in a sling as it keeps your hands and arms free. It also sends the message to others that your baby is in fact, yours.
Prepare To Be A Novelty
Lizzy’s last piece of advice is to have some one-liners handy for all of the comments you will get from others. She states, “Being called an “inspiration” is tedious: it implies you’re special and perpetuates the myth that disabled people don’t have children. You’re not special. You’re just a parent. Get on with it.”
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