There comes a time in everybody’s life when you decide whether not you should have a child, or as my snarky friends like to call it, breed. And as a woman in her late thirties, this is especially true. You think, “Should I try to have a baby before it’s too late?” But then you worry about your disability, and everything you cannot do. There’s a lot more to consider as a quadriplegic when this question hits you.
I have talked to a lot of people with spinal cord injuries who say their disability was never a part of the equation, even for those with high level injuries when it came to deciding to have kids. They say as long as the child felt loved it doesn’t matter what the parent can do, but I’ve yet to master this way of thought. I always fear I will freak out about my inadequacy of parenting, especially in the early years. There will be so much I cannot do.
From changing a diaper to changing the baby’s clothes, to probably everything else except for maybe feeding the baby, there won’t be much I’ll be able to do in the newborn department. I hate this about my disability. Even though I’ve been paralyzed for over 20 years I still get frustrated about what I can’t do. For example I get annoyed with my hands for a multitude of reasons, as most would, throughout the day. There’s just so much I drop, can’t do, or struggle with.
I can just imagine having a newborn baby waiting for me, crying, while I struggle to do something as simple as make a bottle for them. I know there are techniques for making sure everything runs smoothly even if the mother is disabled, but I worry I will feel inadequate to an extreme measure. After all, it is every mother’s dream to be able to do everything on her own. I really don’t want to see someone else holding my baby doing things I cannot do often, except for my family or significant other.
It does blow my mind the sheer number of quadriplegics who’ve had kids, and it’s a great thing. I remember when I was first injured back in the early nineties, I thought that having a family and being a mother or father was simply out of the question. Knowing that this was still a possibility really did erase some of my depression. My younger self however didn’t think about all of the extra things that may come into play.
I know today that many quadriplegics who are parents will hire a nanny to help in the first few years of the baby’s life. This would be something I would definitely do, especially a family member. The thought of feeling like someone else is becoming closer to my child than I am makes me upset, and for good reason. So where does this leave me today? Am I ready to have a kid? Will I go to a sperm bank and knock one out myself?
Many lady quads have, and I yet still may. I just need a little bit more time to think about what this massive change will do to my body and life. Let’s just hope I don’t wait too long.
Has your SCI prevented you from seriously considering having kids?
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