Thu 20 Sep 2018
Even if you are perfectly healthy, there is no way to guarantee that you will have a healthy baby. In fact, in England and Wales, one in every 46 babies are born with a congenital abnormality. Physical anomalies range from limb malformations to cognitive disorders, such as Down syndrome. As such, it’s always important to prepare for such possibilities.
HealthDirect asserts that a disability is essentially an inability to perform a specific function as well as the rest of the population. Congenital disorders, which are those present from birth, include cerebral palsy, fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, and intellectual disabilities, the last of which is not detectable during pregnancy. While there is no way to prepare for the emotional burden, if you are given a head start with the knowledge that your baby will be born with special needs, there are ways to make their care easier.
Paying for Care
For many parents, the prospect of paying for care for a disabled child is overwhelming. However, there are many options, and your local council can point you in the direction of services that can help. The Children Act of 1989 makes provisions for disabled children. These may include providing money for travel costs associated with additional hospital time, care at home, or respite services. Further, parents with a disabled child may qualify for child tax credits or a Disability Living Allowance.
Insurance is another concern. Typically, a mother’s health insurance covers the care of her newborn infant for a certain time, as outlined by her individual policy. If government assistance is not available, children with disabilities can still be insured through private organisations. Money.co.uk dives deeper into the topic of health insurance for children and offers information on common coverage and exclusions.
Preparation at Home
Depending on your child’s expected disability, there are many ways to offset issues in the home. If your child is facing spina bifida or other issues that require a wheelchair, an extensive remodeling, although costly, can make the home more handicap accessible. According to Angie’s List, a full-scale bathroom remodel can cost approximately 15,500£ ($20,000USD). However, there are a few less-expensive modifications that won’t require a general contractor but will still be effective in helping you manage your child’s condition. You might, for example, install grab bars in the bathroom, a wheelchair ramp at your home’s entrance, or a large changing area if you will need to help your child dress as they age out of toddlerhood.
Before you panic or spend time retrofitting your home, take the time to understand your child’s birth defect. Parents asserts that you may also wish to get a second opinion – doctors are not always right, and a good physician will welcome a second set of eyes. Once your child’s diagnosis has been confirmed, you will need to prepare yourself physically and emotionally. A great place to start is seeking out a support group of families currently in your future situation. ABLEize lists several support groups in the UK for disabilities ranging from autism to epilepsy and everything in between.
When your baby is born, you will be overwhelmed with emotions. This is true for all parents. And like other first-time mums and dads, you will need to prioritise self-care so that you may be a more effective provider for your child. Ask for help when it’s needed and don’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself to shower, eat, or simply have a moment alone. Hello Mums can help you find a babysitter with experience watching children with needs similar to your own. This can give you the time you need to bond with your partner or take care of your own health and wellness.
Having a baby is hard work; having a baby with a disability can be doubly so. Take the time to get educated on the issues you will face, and don’t be afraid to find help when you need it.