Tips for New Parents with Disabilities – Guest Post by Ashley Taylor

Photo courtesy of UnSplash

Becoming a parent for the first time is often filled with feelings of excitement and stress as it is a new and life-changing experience to embark on. If you are living with disabilities, these emotions may be even more amplified as you navigate caring for another person’s needs as well as your own. Here are some tips on finding your footing amidst your disability and preparing for a life of parenthood.

Make room for baby

The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare your home so that everything is in working order when the baby arrives. Before setting up the nursery, think about the location of it and how close you want it to be to your own bedroom considering you’ll probably be making a few late night treks to it. You’ll need to make sure you have the basics such as a crib, dresser, rocker and changing table. Go ahead and stock up on things you’ll need for diaper changes and clothes of various sizes now. If you’re going to use formula, do some research and pick out the best brand as well as easy to use, no-mess bottles. A baby monitor will also come in handy in that it will help you feel at peace and keep tabs on your little one whenever you’re not in the same room.

Give your house a good cleaning so it is ready for you to come home from the hospital, or hire a cleaning service to help out so you can focus on your new responsibilities as a parent. Whip up some dinners now and stick them in the freezer for later, as you won’t have time to cook during the first few weeks. In case a sitter, family member, or friend will be helping out, make sure you compile a note with important emergency contact numbers and stick it on the fridge in plain sight. Chances are your child will be crawling in no time, so it won’t hurt to go ahead and baby proof the home now. Think about sharp corners, wires and outlets as you go through the house.

Get support

There are a vast amount of resources out there for new parents that offer workshops where you can practice the necessary skills of caring for a newborn. The Guardian recommends “meeting an anesthetist before the birth to discuss your options, bearing in mind your disability and any other medications; using a sling that makes it possible to pick up a newborn with one hand; and practicing any new maneuvers you may need, or using any new baby equipment, with a weighted doll.” You should also find support groups and enroll in classes with your baby to help jump-start the bonding process.

Don’t forget about yourself

In the midst of all the planning and chaos, make time for yourself. Don’t let the baby overrun your home or your emotions. Instead, keep your room a sanctuary where you can escape free of clutter and responsibility. In order to be fully present and available for your child, you need to start practicing self-care methods now. Try meditation, yoga, a hot bubble bath with candles, or even indulging in your favorite pastime.

Communicate with your doctor often about your needs and don’t be afraid to ask for help from others. This is a consuming time and you’ll need all hands on deck. Lastly, remember to enjoy the process and be sure to take lots of photos as it will go by fast.

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. To learn more about Ashley and her organization, visit the site.

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Indie Spotlight on Horror & YA Author, Ron Chapman

For anyone who’s lost a parent or a loved one, Never Forget is an emotional roller coaster that will grab you by your heart and hit home. As a father of three, Chapman struggles to recall his forgotten childhood memories with his father that he locked away so long ago, while at the same time, creating memories with his own sons.

Never Forget is a true story with a twist. Stay to the end to find out the twist. A box of tissue is recommended.

Stepping Outside the Horror & YA Box to Write About Family

My is Ron Chapman and I’m an Amazon bestseller of horror and YA. A while ago, I decided to step outside of the box and write about a different subject matter than I usually write about—a subject that’s been bothering me since I was a kid. It’s also a subject that is dear to my heart.

Some people fear heights, spiders, snakes or even intimacy. Me though, I fear being forgotten by my kids and to me, that is the worse kind of fear anyone could experience.

My fear of being forgotten didn’t happen overnight. This fear of being forgotten happened in two stages of my life.

The first stage was when my father died. I think I was 15 or 16 at the time.  It was hard for me to handle and understand. I always looked up to my father. He was my hero and then when he was taken from me, it was as if someone had ripped my heart out. My hero, my protector was gone. The passing of my father hit me so hard that I took all the memories we had as a father and son and shut them away hoping that maybe it would make the loss of my father a little easier.

I was wrong.

Not a day has gone by since I was a kid that I don’t think about my father. The memories of my father and me are still locked away and lost. I remember fragments of a father and son but that’s it.

The second stage was when I became a father. I don’t want my sons to ever forget the memories of their father like I did mine. Over the years, I’ve tried to build lasting memories so that my sons will be able to look back on life when they have their own kids and say, “I remember when my dad did this with me.” Or “I remember doing this with my dad.”

There will come a time in my kid’s lives when I will no longer be there for them and all they will have will be their memories of the times we had as father and son. I want my kids to remember the times with their father as if it were just minutes ago.

My kids are my life. They are what makes my heart beat. It pains me to think that one day my kids will be out on their own with their own family. Oh sure, I’ll have my loving wife by my side, but it just won’t be the same.

Never Forget is a story I felt had to be written and shared with everyone. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the story, it’s that life can be short in so many ways. People come and people go, especially the ones you love—so build those lasting memories and hold on to them. Never forget them.

BIO: Ron Chapman is a man of many hats, depending on the day. Some days he’s a construction worker, a pirate, or a swimming coach. He’s even tried his hand at being a doll and toy maker. He can even be found walking with the dead.Being a part time god isn’t bad either, creating worlds one moment then turning around and destroying, the next.

He also has a license to kill and will not hesitate to do so. You see… he’s a writer that loves to write horror stories and not just any run of the mill horror stories. He walks a thin line with his stories between being dark and twisted madness. He will take your nightmares and turn them into fantasies and dreams. There is no happily ever after in his stories but there are however, happy endings. Not the ones you would expect though. Beware, if you get on his wrong side he may just write you into a story and deal with you that way.

If you want to know more about this wild man, follow him on Twitter @RonMtDew and/or Instagram @Ronchapman69.

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today would’ve been my dad’s 92nd birthday, if he were still alive. Though we lost him 24 years ago, I still miss him terribly. He had a way about him that made you want to be him. Maybe because he really didn’t care what other people thought of him, though he’d bend over backwards to help you out if you were in need or trouble. Or his yuk yuk laugh. Or that he always wore blue jeans – long before it was cool.

He loved boats – I think because secretly he had a wanderer’s heart and always wanted to travel the world. In fact, the last day of his life, he had gone to the harbor to watch the boats with his wife. Later that day, he passed in his sleep. But I’m glad that it was in a safe and loving place.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I hope there are boats, Budweiser, and country music, wherever you are.

Out of Sorrow Comes Joy

First, I’d like to say thank you to all of you who expressed sympathies about losing my dog Maggie last week. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me except to say, it meant a lot. So, thank you to everyone.

Going against my natural instincts, I decided to adopt another dog, rather than wait. I think that Maggie would’ve been happy about that. In fact, I am too. Because out of the deep sorrow I felt at losing my dog of 13 years, I am now feeling immense joy from the new puppy. Lily.

I will always have the old memories of Maggie – she was a remarkable dog – a remarkable ‘person’ and can’t be replaced. But Lily is a little white bundle of joy and I look forward to making new memories with her.

If you have lost a beloved pet, I empathize with you. Deeply. It is a profoundly sad experience. But if you are holding off in adopting a new pet, don’t. Please, don’t. There are so many wonderful animals out there just waiting to find a loving family. And you could be that family.

God Bless.

Annie

This Father’s Day

Every year around Father’s Day I get a little weepy because my dad is no longer with us. Put frankly, I miss the hell out of him. I wish he were still here. I wish today I was taking him out for a pancake breakfast and a round of mini-golf, or trekking out to (God forbid) Disney Land so we could go It’s a Small World and the Pirates of the Caribbean a bagillion times.

I think about times we could have spent together but didn’t because we lived 3,000 miles apart. I still can’t listen to Johnny Cash without getting teary-eyed because Cash was one of Dad’s favorites. Ditto with Budweiser commercials, Rodeo movies, and soft-serve chocolate ice cream.

I think my dad was my very first friend. I suppose I am like millions of other daughter’s who were daddy’s girls. And my memories of him are like a crazy mixed-up collage of lessons learned, laughs shared, reflections, realizations, simple pleasures, weird adventures, heated debates and knowing that I was loved.

Dad wasn’t perfect – far from it and I have no desire to idolize him. He was a man with many flaws and could be stubborn as hell. But he was real and he was honest. He knew who he was. He took his responsibilities seriously but he never took life too seriously. He wasn’t politically correct, subtle or fashionable. He was just Lucky. He was just a man who worked hard, loved his family and did everything he could to help and he was my dad.

Happy Father’s Day Dad – hope all is well where you are – that you’re having fun and finding lots of things to laugh about – that the coffee is hot and strong, that the sun is shining and you’re spending time watching the boats in the harbor. That your camera always has film, your radio has a country music station and calories don’t count in heaven.

Love,
Me

Oh Mother – Theme Friday

Oh Mother…

you gave me birth

but I often wondered why

I never pleased you

I often made you cry

I was too sullen

too fat, too shy

Too quiet, too noisy

too low, too high

Neither the baby

nor first-born

I tread in the middle

Feeling forlorn

Professing maternal love

with tears and supplication

and criticized my actions

with promised damnation

Oh Mother…

I sought your praise

in everyone I met

left feeling needy

from that foolish sucker’s bet

copyright 2010

Christine and her mother….

Teapot – Theme Friday

I’m a little teapot, short and stout – here is my handle, here is my spout…” Before I ever knew what those words meant, I sung them to amuse grown ups. Mommy…Daddy…aunties and uncles.  The words gave me a fleeting power to command the eyes, ears and attention of adults. For those few moments, I ruled, cavorted, made them laugh and praise me — using my blond ringlets and fetching dimples to their maximum power.

It wasn’t long though before I connected the words to the vessel that made tea. A wonderous liquid with healing capabilities far beyond touted claims. The power to comfort. The power to reassure. The power to warm. The power to make a sick little girl feel not so sick, not so lonely.

And tea had its greatest power when I was ill. Mama always made me tea and toast whenever I was sick. Oddly, when I was sick and Mama went through the tea and toast ritual it was the only time I felt unconditional love emanating from her. Bringing a tray into my darkened sick room, Mama spoke softly – felt my forehead and smiled at me as though I were the center of the universe. Truth be told, there were times when I wasn’t as sick as I pretended to be. I craved her love so—to be the owner of all her attention and care. To remove my siblings from the equation…

Granny’s teapot, a relic we inherited, was once grand and lovely. All the way from County Cork Ireland it traveled to find its new home in America. I don’t much remember Granny because she left us when I was very small.  Eyes the color of jade, clear and unmutuable—hands white as milk with fine blue veins pulsing beneath the skin.

That teapot became Granny in my mind – fine structure, but ancient in its wage against time.  Pale and edged in faded gold and a spray of faded pink roses front and back. And from it came comfort, strength, love and reassurance. And I cried the day it finally died by suicide from a high pantry shelf. Tea never tasted the same after that and I spend my weekends looking for another Granny teapot and the curative powers it imparted.

copyright 2010

What powers does Christine’s teapot have?

California – Theme Friday

It was the land of milk and honey—dreamt of often in the still of dark wintry nights. Sunshine, palm trees and movie stars. No need for galoshes or woolen caps. Where gardens thrived and lemons grew in your backyard.

“When I grow up, I’m living in California,” Jill told her mother.

“But what about Christmas?” her mother asked.

Jill shrugged. “Santa will wear his summer suit then.” Her pudgy fingers swiped at the remains of brownie batter in the bowl. The chocolatey goodness exploded on her tongue with each scoop.

“But you won’t be able to make a snow man,” her mother reminded her.

“I don’t care, I’ll go swimming instead,” Jill’s smile was chocolate covered and it made her mother laugh…

The low roar of the surf roused Jill from sleep. She turned over on her back, lest her tan be uneven but the sun blazed and she sat up, hot in the noon day dazzle. The dream or memory of she and her mother in the kitchen hugged her conscious thoughts. “When I grow up…” she said barely audible.

“Are you talking to me?” Joe asked and nestled closer to her on the sandy towels.

“Go back to sleep,” Jill hushed and looked out at the vastness of the Pacific ocean. Endless blue and sparkling. Dolphin fins sliced through the water and played tag with the sailboats bobbing and swaying against the horizon.

California was the land of summer she’d always dreamed about. Sunshine. Palm trees. And even an occasional movie star siting. Maybe not movie stars but definitely familiar faces that she’d seen on television. And the homeless who happily pushed carts and panhandled for ‘spare change’ as they hovered outside Starbuck’s. High taxes and strange politics. Lifestyles from benign to bizarre. Something for everyone. But her heart longed for home.

Today, Jill missed the crisp air and swirling leaves. And the smell of her mother’s kitchen swathed in the aroma of home-baked goods. Brightly colored scarves flapping in the wind. Corner diners serving bad coffee and good soup. Neighbors who all knew your business before you did. But more than anything her mom. The best person she knew and would ever know. A woman of infinite patience and profound kindness. Jill was missing her mom more than usual she guessed because they had missed their weekly call. In fact, now that she thought of it, her mother hadn’t returned any of the several calls Jill had made to her.
Jill fished her cell phone out of the crimson beach bag and and flipped it open. No signal. She sighed, lay down on her back, resolving to try mom later and she fell into a beachy daytime nap.

“Jill?” Mom whispered in her ear.

Jill cracked open one eye against the brightly beaming sun. “What are you doing?” Jill sat up and scooted over to make room on the towell. Her mother sat down and burrowed her pale toes into the warm sand. “I missed you, darling. I always miss you.”

Jill hugged her mother. “I miss you too, Mom. But where’s Dad? Did he come with you? And how the heck did you find me on a beach with hundreds of people?”

Jill’s mother smiled and patted Jill’s hand. “I’ve always been able to find you, no matter where you hid, now haven’t I?”

Jill heard beeping coming from somewhere and looked around. “What is that sound?”

“Honey, I have something to tell you.”

The beeping continued and with each issuance unnerved Jill. “What the…?”

Jill’s mother squeezed her hand. “Jill, you need to listen.”

The beeping grew more rapid and urgent and Jill felt frantic to discover its source. “I know Mom, but that beeping is driving me crazy. Can’t you hear that?”

“Not any more,” her mother said.

“What?” Jill turned back to her mother but could barely see her in the bright light. “God the glare coming off the ocean is unbelievably. I can hardly see you. It must be that blasted beeping, it’s so distracting.”

Jill’s mother leaned in closer and whispered. “I love you darling girl, never forget.”

“Mom?”

“Hey wake up,”Joe shook Jill a little to bring her around.

Jill opened her eyes and saw concerned brown eyes staring into hers. “Where’s my mom?”

Joe handed her some water. “Drink this, you’re dehydrated. Your mom isn’t here, honey. You were dreaming. And pretty loudly too.”

Jill jumped to her feet and looked in every direction for her mother but she was nowhere to be seen. Her heart sank a little. “It was so real. I could swear she was right here. I can still smell her perfume. I was trying to talk to her but there was this beeping sound…”

Jill’s cell phone rang then and she jumped. “Hello?”

“It’s Dad, honey…”

“This is so funny I was just dreaming about Mom…let me talk to her. She won’t believe this…it was like she was just here” The silence from her father was eerie and profound. “Dad? What’s wrong? Dad?” Jill heard that beeping again but it was coming from the phone and then it stopped suddenly.

“Jilll…”

“Oh no!” Jill cried suddenly realizing that it was the last time she would see her mother.

copyright2010

Here, Christine is California dreaming

The Sea – Theme Friday

the-sea, theme friday, writer chick, fiction

Emerald blue and crystal green dreams that rush the shore and explode in an ecstacy of froth.

Chatters hum from oiled denizen. Spray. Swat. Snooze. Kick sand. Splash. Shells sparkle – treasures given and snatched back when you reach for them.

Sun leaves its mark- red, brown, butterscotch, fushia. Flirts with clouds that fluff across the sky, waving hello and goodbye.

Laughter makes song that nestles in deep and warms our winter nights. Our Christmas by the sea.

Christine’s sea ebbs and tides here

Jess’s seashore flows here.

Hi Dad

old-truck

Hi Dad,

Another year. Another Father’s Day. I’m reminded of you in ways both good and bad.

Good because of all the laughs and late night heart to hearts. The smiles and in jokes. The funny looks and winks.

Bad because those times are gone and have been for some time. And the years march on and there are so many things that have happened that I wanted to tell you about. And I do. But I’m not really sure if you’re still ‘out there’ listening.

I know you’re still ‘here’ inside my heart. I know that I keep that place warm and safe. Keep it a nice place for you to visit.

I miss you in ways that defy words. Deep missings.

And on some level, I know that you know.

Even though I can’t call you with news and events of my whacky life – I’m hopeful you still get the memo.

I never forget. I always remember. You are my dad. My hero. My angel.

Love,

A