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DH has spinal injury and wheelchair user. Would love advice from people who've been there please.

(3 Posts)
woowa Sun 27-Sep-09 18:52:00

My DH uses a wheelchair, and because of the height of his injury has use of his arms but not full use, especially of his hands.

I would love to be in touch with anyone in a similar situation as I am struggling to think how I am going to manage with the whole physical burden of this little one (am 20 wks pg). We are overjoyed to be expecting, but some days I wonder how i'll manage. Family lives miles away. I dont think he understands at all what it's going to be like for me.

Anyone out there, i'd love some advice and good news!Thanks

ChopsTheDuck Mon 28-Sep-09 09:23:30

sorry no experience, but congrats on the preganancy, and have you tried this forum here

I came across it a couple of weeks ago when googling for wheelchair info (my ds uses one) and it looked a friendly place.

bondgirl77 Mon 26-Oct-09 12:37:21

Hi Woowa

Have just seen your post. My DH is not in a wheelchair but has a right-sided hemiplegia following a stroke in June 2007, so only has the use of one hand and cannot feel down one side of his body, added to this he has severe speech difficulties. I was 20 weeks pg the day of his stroke and felt exactly the same way as you - how on earth am I going to cope with this?!

It is really hard but basically anything your DH wants to get involved in just encourage him to try. It will help you, freeing you up to do things around the house and will also help his self-esteem and make him feel valued as a parent and help him feel like he has an important role. There are leaflets produced by the Disabled Parents Network about parenting with a disability - you might find the one-handed parenting leaflet useful. Here are some other ideas:

Get a sling which you can use to attach the baby to your DH in the wheelchair. This will help him to feel closer to the baby and means that you can push the wheelchair.
I found establishing a breastfeeding routine was impossible as you almost need someone there bringing you things 24hrs when you are doing this, so don't beat yourself up if you have to bottlefeed from nearly the beginning. Also it's a good thing that your DH will be able to do and will again help him to feel close to the baby. Or sit and read a book with them or sing to them. Basically you will find your way and what works for you.
You could consider a doula or professional birth partner. I had one and she was brilliant - although I had to have a caesarean but she came with me anyhow. They guide you through the birth which can be a comfort if you have not got a DH who can leap into the car and take you to hospital. Plus they can stay around after the birth and help with anything - housework, cooking, baby stuff, advice, hugs etc!

The main problem we have found with the younger years is not being able to kneel down and pick up is a bit of a problem. I am hoping this will improve but the mistake we have made is the consistency of the involvement - also I'm not sure that my DH is the 'hands-on parent' type personality wise, IYSWIM!!

I am effectively a single parent and I must admit we decided to move closer to my parents so that they could help us. For yourself, you need to find a local support network. If you haven't already joined one an NCT class is a great way to meet other mums who live nearby (and if you can take your DH along too so much the better, mine was in hospital for the classes but I went alone and met 5 fantastic friends). Going to baby groups is another good way to meet other mums. Obviously they will not have the extra demands that you have at home but just for the parenting side it is invaluable.

The fantastic news is that your little one will be a complete tonic for you both, and although you will feel complete tiredness and despair at times, especially during the first 3 months, but you will emerge from that and as the months go by you will establish a routine and feel more and more confident with your style of parenting.

Good luck!

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