Improvising: A Necessity for Parenting With a Disability

a woman smiling
Curated by
Kristen Sachs
Content via Disabled Parenting Project
Disabled Parenting Project
Curated by
Kristen Sachs

Santa Perez is a mom with cerebral palsy, and she writes about raising her son Noah, now a teenager, and how she often had to improvise when it came to providing for him.

mom with cerebral palsy holds her newborn son

When Noah was born, Santa admits she wondered how she was going to take care of him. She knew she would need help – much of which was provided by her husband Tim. She also relied on some help from others, but was sure to make it clear that her role as mom was to be understood and respected. "I needed to inform all other caretakers that “I” was MOM and I made all of the decisions,” she writes.

When it came to breastfeeding her newborn son, Santa had trouble holding him while she sat in a chair. So this is where she first began to improvise and discover what worked best for her and Noah.

“I found breastfeeding easier on my waterbed. The way that the mattress would rise on one side, just the right height for Noah’s head to be parallel to my breast.”

Bottle feeding presented another challenge since Santa had difficulty grasping bottles. Noah had recently received a stuffed puppet pig as a gift from a friend. “Little did anyone know that big round fluffily pig was going to become assistive technology,” shares Santa. She placed the end of the bottle into the hole of the puppet, and could much more easily feed Noah in this manner. What creativity!

Another invention came a little later when Noah was ready to try soft foods.

“How was I going to hold a baby spoon, when I couldn’t hold a spoon to feed myself?”

mom with cp feeds her son by holding a spoon in her mouth

With the help of a friend who was a physical therapist, Santa wrapped the handle of a spoon with foam, and she was able to feed Noah by holding the spoon in her mouth.

When it comes to raising children, sometimes you have to get creative to make things work. “I was determined to play the mommy role as much that I could,” says Santa. Clearly, she succeeded at her task!

What improvisational measures have you taken in raising children? Share them with us for a chance to be featured on AbleThrive!

See more Stories About: 
ParentingParents with Disabilities