In lieu of yesterday being Mother’s Day, I would like to take a moment and talk about being a disabled mother, more specifically, a mother that is an amputee that uses a wheelchair.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was absolutely clueless, like most expecting mothers. Yet, it was different for me in many ways. I was far too scared to use my prosthetics because I didn’t want to fall and potentially hurt my baby. This doesn’t go for all amputee mothers, because some are born with their limb difference and/or some aren’t bilateral amputees. Needless to say, hopping around on one leg while pregnant just didn’t seem like the safe thing to do in my case, so I utilized my wheelchair.
I searched and searched all over the internet in hopes of finding someone who was in a similar situation that I was in so that I could get a feel for what was to be expected. How it would feel after having a c-section and being in a wheelchair. What type of beds would be most suitable for my baby that I had access to? The list goes on, but little to nothing could be found. I mean, it was like there had never been a mother in a wheelchair before and while that is far from the truth I was left to kind’a just wing it, so I did.
I am going to try and give a little advice to those who are expecting, those wanting, and those trying to have a baby in the hopes of you finding something useful or helpful through my personal journey of finding what made being a disabled mom that much easier.
First things first, a crib. I could not, for the life of me, find a crib that I was capable of getting my baby in and out of or quite frankly, that I could afford that was already built that way. So, with the help of my family, we hatched a plan. I would take a regular crib, cut the front side of the crib in half, place a few hinges on the sides, and then a few latches down the middle and viola! A handicap accessible crib, the end result looking something similar to below. Who wants to spend $1800 on a crib anyway? Nobody has time for that!
Another thing that I was frightened of was the thought of not being able to carry my own baby around. How would I do so with trying to hold my baby and rolling myself around? I did more research and came to the conclusion that I just had to have the ErgoBaby 360 Baby Carrier. This allowed me to carry my lovebug in all positions. I could still use it today if I wanted and she just hit 17 months. While it is a little pricey, I would still recommend it 15 out of 10. I was able to just strap her on me and GO. Lots of grocery shopping, going to the park, social gatherings, and going out to eat was done very comfortably and easily with this bad boy on. It’s also a huge plus for those Mamas that breastfeed or plan to and is completely machine washable. I was quite blessed to have received it as a gift from my grandmother.
Something else I absolutely dreaded was having to get up and out of bed and grab my wailing newborn to breastfeed after just having a c-section. So, once again, my amazing family came to the rescue and built me my very own co-sleeper bed for Harper. This is really simple to make if you or someone you know is handy with tools and wood-work. All I literally had to do was roll over, or rather scoot verrry slowwly (YOUCH) and gather her up into my tired arms.
An alternative to a co-sleeper is taking one side off of a small crib and wedging the crib up against your bed making sure that it is anchored down. Whatever route you choose, be cautious, careful, and do only what you feel confident and comfortable with.
Being an amputee, I use a shower chair and have no bathtub. How would I give my baby a bath, I asked myself. The answer was: a baby bathtub. I did a lot of research on these bathtubs as well and finally decided on the Summer Infant Lil’ Luxuries Whirlpool. I still use the bathtub today to give my little one a good scrubba-dub-dub. I simply roll up, place the baby bathtub on my shower chair, fill the tank and tub with water and BAM my little darling is in bath-time heaven.
After having my c-section, I’m not going to lie here, it was quite painful. Having to transfer in, out, on, and off of things was difficult and a real pain in the buttocks. But all in all, it wasn’t THAT bad. I stayed close to or in my bed for the first couple of weeks while Harper adjusted to her new life outside of the womb and I recovered from having my womb placed back inside. (Ba-dum-tss). There are very beautiful moments that come with being Harper’s mother. I am taken away every single day by how intelligent and curious she is. Especially when it comes to my residual limbs, prosthetics, and false eyelashes. She has now adapted to just holding onto the arms of my chair while she rides around on my lap (now let’s hope she learns to not rip Mommy’s eyelashes off).
I know that this doesn’t necessarily answer all of the questions one might have, but I am hopeful that it answers a few!