Advice for Expectant Parents With a Disability

IMG_9494by Guest Blogger Ashley Taylor (founder of DisabledParents.org)

Expecting a child is an exciting, life-changing experience, but it can also bring about questions and concerns, especially for first-time parents. These concerns may be even greater for parents-to-be living with a disability, who may be wondering how they can prepare themselves and their homes for parenthood.

The most important step is planning, and planning starts with questions like:

  • Is my home babyproofed?
  • Do we need to make changes to the home to make it babyproof?
  • Do we need to make changes to make it easier for us to parent?
  • What will I do when I feel stressed, overwhelmed, or need help?
  • Are there resources that can help parents with a disability?

Preparing your home can start with a checklist. Go through your home room by room to see what can be removed or added that would make parenting easier, such as adding a ramp to the nursery if necessary, widening doorways with adjustable hinges, and buying adaptable equipment and products like wheelchair-accessible cribs. There are also changing tables with adjustable heights.

Getting practical advice from other disabled parents is helpful, and look for support groups in your community that you can join. If there aren’t any in your area, online support groups are a great resource. There is nothing like getting advice from others with real-life experience to help you solve problems and make choices, from tips on how to breastfeed to how to deal with occasional bias.

HELP FOR THE HOME

If you need to make physical changes to your house or apartment, you may want to consult a home advisor experienced in making homes accessible. When evaluating each room, think about functionality and convenience.

Nursery. Does this room have carpet that may interfere with a wheelchair, walker, or crutches? Are tables and shelves low enough? Would it be more practical to have the baby in your bedroom instead of in his or her own room?

Laundry room. Are your washer and dryer front-loading for easy access? Do they have buttons and knobs that are easy to use?

Kitchen. Do you need to add a lower cabinet to store the baby’s formula, baby food, and other baby items? If visually impaired, do you need a talking timer, clock, or thermometer?

Security. Make sure your home is well lit, and you can always add baby monitors (video and/or audio) for peace of mind.

If preparing your home is a financial challenge, sometimes small grants or loans are available to parents with a disability, so check with your community’s disability service coordinator or explore online.

HELP FOR YOURSELF

While preparing to care for your child, don’t forget to care for yourself. Parenting can be stressful for anyone, so don’t feel that you’re the only one who gets overwhelmed with the day-to-day tasks of parenthood. Feeling stressed is normal, so it’s okay to ask for help.

Family and friends can be a great resource in times of stress. But if you don’t have this kind of support system in your life, there are community resources available, such as parenting classes, in-home parenting instruction, childcare, respite services, home-delivered meals/groceries, professional shoppers, daycare, babysitters, support groups, individual counseling, and group therapy.

Another way to care for yourself is to be mindful of your physical and mental health. What we eat affects how we think and feel. Exercise strengthens the body, gives you energy, releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, and can lower stress. A great way to de-stress is by taking up yoga or meditation. This will help you stay calm and focused during trying times.

Planning and preparation can make parenting easier and make you a stronger parent. If you need help assessing or preparing your home and your life for parenthood, a disability specialist is only a phone call away. Also, your baby will need you at your best, so don’t forget about self-care.

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.




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Fabulous Fall Fun Festivities!

PA Fall Festivals - Philadelphia, Bucks County, Montgomery County

I challenge you to say that three times in a row!

You did it, didn’t you?

I also challenge you to visit these awesome websites if you’re looking for Fall Adventures (Fall Events, Festivals, Hayrides, Haunted Houses, and Fun, Family Outings):

VisitBucksCounty.com           – Great Fall Adventures All Around Bucks County, PA

MontCo.HappeningMag.com – Montgomery County, PA Fall Events

VisitPhilly.com                        – Top Fall Festivals In and Around Philadelphia

Enjoy the crisp fall air and the beauty Pennsylvania has to offer!

Happy Fall!
Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR
REALTOR
Remax Affiliates
Serving Bucks County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia
KimSchreiner.com

Living On Forever in the Heart

A week ago today I had to make the very painful decision of whether or not to let my best friend of 14 years go. I read somewhere that writing helps to heal a broken heart so here I am trying, but in my opinion, only time will help. Jackson was the kindest, gentlest dog and he was also the first dog I ever had in my adult life that I had to care for and raise on my own. Losing a pet when you are a kid is hard, but its nothing like the attachment and bond that you form with an animal that you’ve had to care for and that you’ve loved for many, many years.

Jackson (2)

It’s quite funny how Jackson came into my life. My ex husband thought he would be good for me, since I spent a lot of time alone. I won’t get into why I was alone often, but that’s how Jackson came into my life. My marriage lasted less than 3 years, and I can tell you this, Jackson was the best gift my ex had ever given to me. Ever.

I bought my first home because of Jackson. No one wanted to rent to me after my divorce because I had a big dog, whatever. Some people even suggested “I get rid of him” — like he was some expendable “thing” that I could just toss away.

Jackson taught me unconditional love, loyalty, responsibility (because Lord knows, I was a wild thing back then) – he grounded me, and now he has taught me painful loss and pure heart break. You see, a piece of me died with him last week, but a piece of him will live on forever in my heart. “Animal people” will understand the huge hole left behind and that painful, empty feeling in their belly. Non-animal folks may think I am crazy, and quite frankly I probably am crazy, or I just don’t care what people think, because it’s my life and life is short. Cliché but true.

Animals do not show their pain as we do. My Jackson must have been in pain but he never let me know until the day before I had to make the decision of whether to let him go or not. I knew he may have had nasal cancer, but the testing for it was too risky because of his age, and there was no cure for it anyway, so I opted not to put him through that. He also had liver issues for a long time, and Laryngeal Paralysis and the typical old age stuff like arthritis. The day before he was limping badly and I thought it was attributed to arthritis. But the next morning, he did not get up, he could not get up, he could not walk.  I managed to get my son off to school knowing in my heart something terrible was wrong. I called my husband to come home from work and while waiting, I said my goodbyes to my best friend.

As weird as it sounds when people tell you that you will know when it’s time, it’s true, at least it was for me. I thanked him for being there for me for 14 years, through many ups and downs, divorce, moving 4 times, remarriage, childbirth just to name a few. I also promised him if it was anything bad, I would not let him suffer. We had to carry him to the car and off to the Veterinary ER we went. They took him right back and I sat in the waiting room crying. I’d like to thank the kind, compassionate woman whom I’d never met and probably will never see again, for hugging me and giving me tissues.

We were brought back to a private room and told that Jackson had Osteosarcoma, bone cancer. We were told his leg was like cauliflower and there was no cure. We were given the choice of amputating his leg and chemotherapy, taking him home only to be on strong drugs for the pain, where he would have to be picked up and held to go to the bathroom, or Euthanasia. Immediately I declined amputation, how do you cut off the leg of a 14 year old dog who already had arthritis? Did I really think he would even survive that? No. My next immediate thought, what kind of life would he have if I took him home to die? After all, the vet explained to me that this type of cancer caused excruciating pain. She also said to me, she was sure I didn’t think I was bringing him there to say goodbye, but she was wrong. I knew it was time, I knew before we left our home.

For those of you who have yet to make this decision, or to experience it, I can tell you it was very peaceful and very fast, almost instant. I cried like a baby. I cry like a baby every day. His ashes are in my bedroom, maybe I am morbid, but I kiss the box he’s now in each day, and in time that will fade, but I will be forever changed because of him.

The unconditional love an animal can give is like no other … it’s tough to say goodbye. But none of us live forever as much as we wish we never had to say goodbye to our loved ones, whether furry or humans … it’s so hard to do. In my heart I like to believe the goodbye is not forever and I hope when its my turn, everyone that went before me will be there waiting. I would not have wanted my baby to suffer, for how long was he suffering before he finally let me know? When he finally showed his pain, it must have been excruciating. I am trying to find peace with my decision not to let him suffer and not to let his pain continue. I would not have wanted to see him suffer. Last Thursday he was limping badly, last Friday, he could not get up, and he may never have been able to get up again, his leg bone was gone and he never let us know. Had I brought him home, he would have died a slow, painful death .. or maybe it would have happened quickly, I am trying to stop asking myself what if this or that … Incurable, terminal cancer is bad, they should give humans the choice to go with dignity as they do animals. When our animals are old and sick, we have to make decisions for them.

If you found this blog because you are feeling and experiencing this pain, I am truly sorry. I am right there with you. But always remember you gave them love, a wonderful life and a great home, you were their companion as much as they were yours, and the ultimate love you showed your baby in the end was putting their needs before your own. I will have this decision to make again, I had 2 Labs. My Cracker is just as lost as me. Cracker will be 6 in October, he had never been the only dog. The first days, he wouldn’t go in the yard alone. He will lay where Jackson’s bowls used to be. It’s quite sad. But we are finding comfort in each other. He’s been by my side, just as a dog does, showing me unconditional love. I’ve been letting him cuddle with me at night, because he used to lay with Jackson. He’s getting extra love and attention, and long walks. But he too, is lost.

DogsHurtToo

Time, time really does fly by, but also time will allow us to go on, somehow we all go on, life goes on. And one day soon, I will rescue another dog. Not to replace Jackson, as there is no replacing an animal, they are all as unique as we are as humans. But to save a life, to give that animal a home and shelter and love. I don’t think I will never be without a dog, unless one day I am too old and gray to take care of myself and a furry friend.

I thank you Jackson, I thank you for everything, but especially for teaching me unconditional love. It was time to go home, and I know in my heart, I will see you again some day at the beautiful Rainbow Bridge.

Please Rescue a Pet at PetFinder.com

Rainbow-Bridge-Poem

Things to Do in Bucks County this Weekend

Bucks County Fall Things to DoBensalem, PA – Fall Festival is Saturday, October 5, 2013 starting at 11:00 AM and ending with a bang (Fireworks!) around 8:15 PM. Some of the events scheduled for this event are: Performances throughout the day by local high school bands and area entertainers capped off by a 6:00 PM evening concert … the Trammps (open act is Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes).

Always a fun, family event with a day full of activities including Rides and Games, K9 Police Demonstrations and Motor Patrol Performance, Fire Prevention Displays, NASCAR Remote Control Car Racing, Mini Golf and a Car Show is from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM! Food, drinks and more so … Come out and support your community!

For a full list of events please visit http://www.tdbaevents.com/fallfestival.html

Langhorne, PA – Old Langhorne Harvest Day from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM featuring a craft fair, live music, food and fun for the whole family. Located in Langhorne Borough (Maple and Bellevue Avenues).

Please Visit http://www.tdbaevents.com/fallfestival.html for info.

For a full listing of things to do in and around Bucks County, PA please visit:  http://www.visitbuckscounty.com/things-to-do/

Keep checking back for updated events and an upcoming blog featuring ghoulish fall recipes collected from around the Internet! Have one you’d like featured? Email it to KimSchreiner@aol.com!

http://www.KimSchreiner.com
Kim Schreiner, REMAX
Serving Bucks County, Philadelphia, Montgomery County
and parts of Berks and Delaware Counties!

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Things to Do This Weekend in PA

Fun Things to Do in PA
Check out one of my favorite websites to find fun things to do in the State of Pennsylvania.

Whether you have a huge family to entertain or you’re just looking for some solo excitement, you will find it here!

http://www.visitpa.com/

Things to Do this Fall In and Around Philadelphia

Pumpkin Patch It’s a beautiful time of the year here in Pennsylvania. The air is cooler, the leaves are changing colors, the scenery can be spectacular.

Try out local Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA. They have great hay rides which take you out to the pumpkin patch where you can pick your pumpkins, corn mazes where you really do get lost, and THE MOST AMAZING kettle corn on the east coast! There is nothing like a hot bag of this popcorn right out of the kettle! There are moon bounces for the kids along with pig races and pony rides and even a ride in a Monster Herse! But … BEWARE! At night, the freaks really do come out! The evening hayride is much more creepy …. so is the haunted house…. eeeeek!

Another local favorite, Styer Orchard great for picking your own apples and stop by the store for the best apple pie in town!

For those daring souls who want a little more fright in their Halloween season, check out Terror Behind the Walls in Philadelphia, PA 19130 – Eastern State Penitentiary, a real haunted prison with the most maddening, nasty ghosts in Philadelphia!

Enjoy the Fall Season in PA! And don’t forget to watch my favorite, It’s A Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Boo!

Its a great pumpkin charlie brown

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX AFFILIATES
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149

Fall Happenings in and around Philadelphia PA!

Pumpkin Patch It’s a beautiful time of the year here in Pennsylvania. The air is cooler, the leaves are changing colors, the scenery can be spectacular.

Try out local  Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA. They have great hay rides which take you out to the pumpkin patch where you can pick your pumpkins, corn mazes where you really do get lost, and THE MOST AMAZING kettle corn on the east coast! There is nothing like a hot bag of this popcorn right out of the kettle!  There are moon bounces for the kids along with pig races and pony rides and even a ride in a Monster Herse! But … BEWARE! At night, the freaks really do come out! The evening hayride is much more creepy …. so is the haunted house…. eeeeek!

Another local favorite, Styer Orchard great for picking your own apples and stop by the store for the best apple pie in town!

For those daring souls who want a little more fright in their Halloween season, check out Terror Behind the Walls in Philadelphia, PA 19130 – Eastern State Penitentiary, a real haunted prison with the most maddening, nasty ghosts in Philadelphia!

Enjoy the Fall Season in PA! And don’t forget to watch my favorite, It’s A Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Boo!

Its a great pumpkin charlie brown

Kim Schreiner, ePRO, SFR, Realtor
RE/MAX AFFILIATES
Office: 215.992.1726
Cell: 215.510.2149