A disability is a physical or mental impairment that makes living life more difficult. Many people see a disability as a disadvantage or deficiency. While disabilities do make life a bit more challenging, they shouldn’t keep a person from living the life of which they’ve always dreamed. That includes having children and supporting a family.
In a way, having a disability makes you more prepared for being a parent than your average person. When you live with an impairment, you learn how to be a creative problem solver. Furthermore, you are more capable of handling chaos and things being out of your control. For many new parents, these things can knock them back with the surprise. But not you-- as a parent with a disability, you have the mental and emotional fortitude to conquer the challenges that parenthood presents. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a little prep and priming before the kids arrive. Below we’ve outlined some great advice to prepare your home and life for parenthood.
Surprise! Kids Are Expensive
Okay, that is probably not a surprise. But seeing the actual sticker price of a kid can be shocking. According to Time Magazine, the average cost of raising a child for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2015 through the age of 17 is $233,610-- and that’s just the average. If your child has a long-term illness or disability, those costs can go up. While you can’t plan every expense for the next 17 years, you can do more today to ensure you have enough for the first year of your child’s life.
Here are some costs to consider:
- The amount you save for maternity/paternity leave should reflect the amount of time you plan to take off. Three months is the standard for most parents. Save enough to cover the costs of a quarter of a year plus an eight month emergency fund you can turn to in case of medical complications or loss of employment.
- According to Qunomedical, “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.” Of course, miracles rarely come for free. The average price for one round of IVF using your own eggs is $15,000.
- If you want to save your baby’s cord blood and tissue for the possibility of future stem cell treatment, prices start around $3500 for 20 years of storage-- not including insurance costs. However, the stem cells that are found in the cord sample are completely unique to your baby and family, and can be used later on down the road to treat over 80 different medical conditions for not only your child, but siblings and other family members. Examples of such conditions include leukemias, lymphomas, and other disorders of blood cell proliferation such as sickle cell disease. As a parent, you’d love to be able to control the future. With cord blood banking, more of the power is in your hands when it comes to your child’s health and wellbeing.
- If you are looking to adopt, your costs depend on which process you choose. Using a domestic adoption agency runs an average of $28,000. International adoption costs between $20,000 and $40,000.
Home is Where the Dangers Are
Okay, that is a bit dramatic. But it is true that many of the most common child injuries happen around the house. In addition to learning emergency first aid and CPR, you want to prepare your home in a way that can prevent injuries.
- Childproof your home before baby arrives. Install baby monitors, store cords, anchor heavy furnishings, and put gates or fences around dangerous areas. Reminder: childproofing is an ongoing process. As your baby gains mobility, you have to continuously limit access to hazards.
- If you have mobility issues, take extra measure to make it easier to get around the house. Place ramps over steps, widen doorways, and consider putting automatic openers on doors. When dealing with a wiley toddler, you’ll be thankful for the ease.
- The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house. Set a safe maximum temperature for hot water, install handrails by the toilet and tub, and place non-slip mats wherever needed.