Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Thoughts of an Expectant Mommy in a Wheelchair

For Boston

As time draws nearer to the arrival of our son, Boston, I’ve had many thoughts of motherhood in a wheelchair and am overwhelmed with tons of emotions including those of joy, excitement, fear, and uncertainty. I feel this is a normal feeling among expectant mothers preparing to enter this new chapter in life. I'm not sure what difficulties lie ahead, but I am most anxious about whether or not I will be able to be a "normal" mother despite being in a wheelchair, and can I provide my baby with what he needs?

I remember regaining consciousness in the ICU and asking one of the PA’s a few questions, one being whether or not I would be able to bear children. His response was a simple and shocking, “No.” That was one of the saddest news for me to process all by myself as I lay there speechless and tried to fight back the tears to no avail. It was only later in my recovery that my nurses learned what happened and encouraged me to try when the time came. Their confidence in me gave me hope. 

Fast forward four years later, here I am, 38 weeks pregnant and loving (hating) it! Now that I am so close to bearing my child, the worrisome thoughts have become more real and sometimes disheartening for me. I think of the things I would need my legs to comfortably do such as:
  • helping him take his first baby steps
  • sweeping him off of the floor when he wants to be held 
  • bathing him in an already slippery bath tub
  • teaching him how to ride a bike, swim, or snowboard 
Honestly, it's extra scary to think about, considering my limitations like little core strength and a tendency to fall. It’s been quite a challenge to figure how to care for him in a chair because of the lack of adapted equipment out there like an accessible crib that would keep a baby in safely and allow me to pull him out when I need to. I am still uncertain I’ve got a plan down for the many different situations. There are many things I can't see ahead, but I'm grateful for my team of cheerleaders who have helped me out so much already!

36 weeks and counting...
I feel great joy in knowing that I have been entrusted with the responsibility to care for a little being; that this broken body of mine could bear such a miracle from beginning to end and hopefully produce a healthy and happy baby. Like many mothers, I’m excited to see what he looks like, learn and nurture his unique spirit, find out what sparks his interests, teach him everything I know about helping the world, and love him with all my heart. Most of all, who will he be and how can we as parents help him get there.

I think forward to my child’s life experiences and am hopeful that being raised by a mother with disabilities will provide him with an opportunity to learn more things that I didn't understand as I was growing up. I would teach him to be kind to those who need a friend. I would instill in him faith in God, love of service, a positive attitude in facing trials, understanding and compassion for those who are different from him, strong moral character to do what is right, a keen sense of duty to fight for the weak, respect for others--all of which I hope will ultimately mold him into a great man someday.

In contemplating all of this and everything I have learned so far, I know I need to take it one day at a time and learn as much as I can. It's scary and exciting as well. I know to not take for granted the fleeting moments and keep moving forward at the same time. 

I know I need to be kind to myself. No mother is perfect and no one knows all the right things for their child. It's a lifetime of practice. And literally, it takes a village. So ask for help.

Everyone has their own challenges. It won't be a piece of cake to be a mommy in a wheelchair, but I know it's possible. We will figure it out as we go along. I just need to focus on what I CAN do. God will help me overcome any obstacle as He has done throughout this whole journey. I CAN do this and I am EXCITED to meet my little son!