Originally Posted on November 1st 2016
As a started to feel great, thanks to the bio energy healing and my beautiful friend Kathy Watters, the daunting reality of parenthood hung in the air, a lot like the moments before my sky dives, with a mixture of exhilaration and sheer terror. As you know, the decision to become parents is not one myself and my husband had taken lightly but I was all too aware that the way I cared for my baby in terms of day to day tasks, may have to be a bit unconventional. Foremost in my mind was the safety and well being of baby, so I set about researching what equipment might be available to assist disabled parents. “Straightforward” I hear you say, right? Wrong! Google almost melted when I typed in “disabled parent caring for a baby”. It even helpfully suggested “Do you mean parents of disabled babies?” No Google, I don’t!
One day I thought I’d struck gold when I came across a local website which revealed; not only that there was support and equipment available for the unicorn that is a disabled parent but also outlined a step by step guide of how to avail of this help. Bingo! I thought, finally I can make some progress and have everything in place before Baby arrived (whom we had now nicknamed “Starfish” because of his penchant for stretching out all his limbs at the same time rendering me unable to move until he repositioned. This was particularly fun when trying to get off the loo). Wrong again. The guide suggested that the best place to start was to contact occupational therapy and have an assessment but when I contacted them and explained my situation I was met with 2 very interesting questions
1 Do you live alone?
2 Is your husband disabled? and if not surely he can care for the baby?
I explained that there was no way on earth that I was having a baby for someone else to be the sole care giver. Yes, my husband is fantastic and does things to help me and make my life easier without even questioning it, but handing over sole responsibility to him to raise our son was just a bridge too far. Not to mention the effect this would have on my mental health and mine and my son’s ability to bond.
When I explained this I was met with another brick wall that I was “the first disabled parent” they had ever heard of and as such they had no training and no idea how to deal with what I was asking. After further pressing on my part they agreed to go off and chat to their colleagues and manager about me and promised to get in touch if they could make any progress. I in turn promised not to hold my breath and hung up the phone. I heard nothing more until a few weeks later, at a routine midwife appointment the poor midwife was left to deliver the blow on behalf of occupational therapy that they couldn’t offer me any help ante natally and I would just have to wait and see how I managed when Baby was born. Then came the knock out punch… they would only get involved if there was an “incident or a risk to the baby’s safety”. I was stunned! I was trying to be a responsible, pro active parent and I was being told that, in a nutshell, I’d have to drop my baby or injure him before they could help me to lift him safely. Is that not back to front?
I thanked the poor midwife for passing on this stink bomb and apologised that she had been given such a horrible task. Then with a rush of adrenalin and a hint of “screw you all” I set out to find commercially available equipment that could help this unicorn Wheelie Momma care for her starfish baby.