Raising children isn’t cheap. From buying diapers to paying for college, there’s a lot to cover when it comes to having kids. If you or your partner has a disability, that price tag might be even bigger than you imagine. Parents with disabilities face a number of obstacles when starting their family, and the solutions aren’t always cheap. However, it’s no reason to give up on your dreams of a family. You just need to know what lies ahead so you can plan and save accordingly.
New parents often receive many of the necessary high-dollar baby items at baby showers or secondhand through friends and neighbors. But if you have a disability, your friend’s old stroller or baby carrier might not work for you. Depending on your needs, you may need to buy a specialized product or pay for aftermarket modifications. Unfortunately, that means disabled parents often have to pay more for basic child rearing supplies than their friends and family members. Unless you have access to a network of parents with disabilities, expect to pay full price for a crib, changing table, wash basin, stroller, carseat, and other big-ticket items. Not sure what you might need? Check out this list of must-haves from The Mobility Resource.
Up until now, you may have been able to scrape by in a home that doesn’t quite suit your needs. However, minor inconveniences quickly become major ones when you’re keeping up with a growing child. It’s important that you take care of overdue home modifications before starting a family so you can care for yourself and your baby safely.
Consider the everyday tasks you’ll need to do with a growing child. If your kitchen counters are slightly too high for comfort, now is the time to lower them so you can bathe your newborn safely. Have high thresholds that trip you up? Make them flush with the floor now so you never have to worry about falling while carrying your little one. Other areas to focus on are the entryway, bathroom, and bedroom, but any room could pose a hazard. As you prepare to start your family, make a list of home features you find cumbersome, then rank by priority and expense to determine which projects should top the to-do list.
It’s not uncommon for couples with one or more disabled partner to require fertility treatments when starting their family. The availability of treatments like fertility drugs, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and others is an incredible resource for families. The success and availability of in vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF.
Unfortunately, these treatments can also be costly. Many couples incur costs that measure in the tens of thousands of dollars while trying to get pregnant. And while some health insurance plans might cover fertility treatments, only 15 states mandate that health insurance companies provide fertility coverage. Of those 15, only five mandate coverage of IVF. Unfortunately, that leaves most couples paying out of pocket for a procedure that averages $23,000 per cycle, according to a study by FertilityIQ.
To avoid taking out a large loan to fund IVF, most couples have to save for treatments. While not everyone has years to plan, the best strategy is to start putting money away well in advance to finance fertility procedures. After your child is born, you can direct those monthly savings to college or retirement funds instead.
You shouldn’t let your disability stop your dream of starting a family, but you should head into parenthood with open eyes regarding the hurdles ahead. Taking care of an infant is hard work, and while some challenges won’t reveal themselves until you’re in the midst, assessing obstacles in advance saves stress and struggle once your baby has arrived.
Image via Unsplash