Thursday, September 30

5 Real Life Lessons about Motherhood and Cerebral Palsy

 What are the problems with pregnancy and cerebral palsy?

After the birth of the child or children!
The first 5 years of motherhood.
The side effects of having children as a person with cerebral palsy.
The positives of having children while having cerebral palsy.

These are the questions that are often thought of by the families and women themselves that have cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy itself is not the reason not to have children. It is not contagious, it is not hereditary. It is the secondary problems that will be the issues that make either childbearing or parenthood or both a challenge.

I mention in my post Life with Diplegic Mixed Cerebral palsy what types of cerebral palsy I have and in What is Spastic Cerebral Palsy I talk about that particular type of cerebral palsy.

For me, the problems I incurred during pregnancy were actually minimal until I was in the last trimester. I was carrying twins and where they were sitting during that time caused problems.

These problems are even known for the average woman carrying a baby let alone twins. So taking time to walk anywhere took longer. Going to the toilet more often, morning sickness.

In the last trimester, however, I found it harder to walk anywhere except around the home where I would do what is commonly known as furniture walking. This form of walking is even done by the average elderly because they find it safer.

But when I was going for checkups or anything else I would use a wheelchair as I would be exhausted just walking out of the house.

The whole thing depends on your own circumstances and what problems you or your partner has regarding cerebral palsy. So please talk with your specialist but it shouldn't make any difference.

When giving birth, it shouldn't matter how either by natural or cesarian because it depends on your own circumstances and what's best for you and the baby/babies. For me, I had a cesarian because one of my babies was a breach. So it was safer for them to be delivered that way. However, it doesn't mean I didn't want to try naturally but it was safer the other way.

So What's next? After the birth of the child or children!

You get home after a day or two in the hospital and things have changed forever. Yes, there will be challenges. Like who is doing the nappies? who is feeding the baby? whos changing the child clothes and what about your own care?

You need to ensure your own safety as well as the child or children who you have. This will have to be some kind of network to support you during the first five years of the child's life. This should be your family and friends who support you anyway. There are also support groups but you will need to check what is available for your area and if you have to pay for it or not. If not can you pay for a nanny or Aupair?

The first 5 years of motherhood.

So you get home and you have a network of friends and family and support groups that help you on a day to day basis but you are in control of what you can do and what you can't and need support with. each month changes because the child grows and your own challenges will change at the same time.

For me, having twins was a challenge. I have a fantastic husband who supported me by taking the night feeds when I needed the extra sleep or helped me with changing nappies when it was needed. As well as having him I was able to put my twins into a nursery for a certain amount of time so both of us could have a sleep or do something else for ourselves. We also benefited from a charity called Homestart that supported families who have multiple births with at least one under the age of five. But these things are not always available so you need to find out what you have in your area.

The side effects of having children as a person with cerebral palsy.

Physically being a mum who happens to have cerebral palsy and did change my body. I was 33 when I had my twins and after a couple of years, I noticed lots of changes in my own condition. These include more tiredness, general wear and tear on my body meaning early-onset arthritis. I also developed flat feet as my arches collapse chasing around after two toddlers. both of whom are going in opposite directions.

Once the kids got to 3 years old I put them into preschool so that they socialised the same as any other children. Thus giving me time to do things like preparing for the meal at the end of the day or washing etc. These are things I'd do when the kids were taking a nap while they were at home.

While the children were there I would do a chore then sit and take a break to restore some of the energy and continue this throughout the day to conserve the energy I needed for when the kids came home.

It was also at this point when I started teaching the kids to do simple chores. These could be putting their leftovers in the food bin and their plate by the sink or help mummy sort the colours of clothing out so that a load could be done.

Some of these chores were also being at preschool so I was only reinforcing what was being taught at preschool or nursery. One of the biggest things I found help was actually having a cleaner in to do the chores that I couldn't do and what I wouldn't expect the kids to do at such a young age. A gardener was also a godsend for me as I'm not particularly green-fingered and my hubby isn't either.

But again all these things depend on what type of cerebral palsy you have and where you live. They also depend on what you are living in. Me I am living in a two up two down townhouse with victorian stairs. Meaning that they are extremely steep and narrow similar to the ones below.

But as I have got older my energy is weaning as things take me longer to do than the average person but it does not mean I can't be a mum.

The positives of having children while having cerebral palsy.

The biggest positive of being a mum while having cerebral palsy is that you are teaching the next generation of human beings how to accept differences in people.
You are also teaching the next generation how to be self-sufficient in life.
There are different challenges for every case but then everyone is different. When you decide to try to have kids then research about your own body and decide for yourself. do not let others persuade you otherwise.

Love and peace

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