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I have several disabilities, but I would still like to become a parent. I realize I am going pretty deep into my disability and putting a lot up to the world about my situation, but to me it is worth it to get some potential answers on how I can make it happen. I asking for help / suggestions on how to overcome the following problems when taking care of a baby. I have autism, anxiety disorder, possibly PTSD, GERD (which may be acting together to cause the extreme vertigo - but we haven't proven that). My wife has Cerebral Palsy and isn't able to lift much:

  • PTSD (or PTSD like) symptoms - About 20 years ago, my grandpa was dying of cancer, and I was responsible for taking care of him for a period of time. There is one time he was constantly screaming in agony for morphine, and I was responsible for giving it to him, but couldn't exceed the dose / time. I was about 18 at the time. I had to stay up for 2 nights straight - no sleep, taking care of this and enduring his screaming. It is what I imagine hell being like. I have flashbacks to it whenever I even hear of someone up taking care of a crying infant.
    • Mitigations: I am seeing a psychologist, and getting medicine / treatment, but the nightmares and flashbacks still haunt me to this day. These, and other stress triggers my dizziness, discussed below.
  • Extreme fear / torture experienced with lack of sleep: Apparently it isn't this way for most people, but not being allowed to sleep evokes extreme fear, anger, and triggers my dizziness condition. I feel physically very ill when I don't have enough sleep.
  • Primary concern: I get extreme periods of dizziness that last from hours to multiple days, and have had occasional blackouts during the most extreme periods. Strenuous exercise, mental stress, or not sleeping well brings it on. I currently use a wheelchair to get around during those periods, and can usually walk normally at other times. I still have had many falls, a few even when in the wheelchair. I have almost fallen on the dogs multiple times - thankfully disaster hasn't struck - yet, and I worry the same would happen with an infant (e.g. falling on the infant). I also get weak / shaky when I am in these periods, and drop things / knock things down frequently (e.g. I don't want to drop the infant of drop something on the infant). I have already broken a couple computers due to this, but thankfully haven't hurt anything living, other than myself (I have gotten numerous concussions, sprained ankle, injured my back, and some other minor injuries during falls).
    • Mitigations I am currently using: Doctor / specialist visits - No one can seem to fully diagnose me.
    • Wheelchair - I use this when moderately dizzy or worse, though I have sometimes been so dizzy I fall out of that / black out / fall out during extreme periods of dizziness.
    • Reduce Stress (medication, prayer, focusing on things I like)
    • Make sure I get enough sleep

My main question is, is there any way I can have a kid and make it work with these issues? What can I do to make it work? Are there any assistive technologies that will prevent me from dropping the baby, or falling on the baby? I know there is a crib that can open on the side for one, and that would help, but that only helps get the baby out of the crib. I could handle the baby while in the wheelchair, but that doesn't prevent me from falling out with the baby or blacking out and dropping him / her. I am unaware of further assistive technology that would solve the problem though, and would like to know what else I can do to prevent injuring the baby (short of just don't have one).

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    With your wife having disabilities herself, can you afford a mostly full time caregiver? You have a lot of medical and some psychological issues that would make having a baby extra stressful. If you're quite serious about this, you and your wife should be talking this over with a family therapist who can give better advice, and any family members who you would depend on for help if not independently well-to-do. Almost anyone can do it with enough help. (Babies pretty much guarantee sleep deprivation for at least a couple of months.) – anongoodnurse Aug 9 at 21:14
  • That is a wonderful idea. I currently cannot afford it, but I do have a video game business that I am trying to get off the ground, making and selling games. I also work a computer job 9-5 for my main income, but we are currently struggling to make ends meet. If I can get my business off the ground though, there is some hope there. I wonder if someone might be willing to be a live-in nanny to handle the baby at night and when we are unable for a free place to stay, and a small paycheck, and where a good place to look would be? – Jonathan Aug 10 at 10:25
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    Those people are called au pairs. ;) Yes, they live with the family, and yes, it's for room, board, small salary, but the purported reason people become au pairs is to visit another country (they are usually foreigners), and they need time off to do things with other au pairs. They live with the family, and should be treated as valuable family members (which can be stressful in its own way), not paid help. I think this is a valuable possibility to explore. I wish you the best of luck. :) – anongoodnurse Aug 10 at 13:52
  • Thank you, that may be a real possibility, this gives me some real hope. I will have to look more into that, it might be a viable option! – Jonathan Aug 10 at 20:22
  • After doing research, apparently au pairs cost about 30K a year. That is currently outside our reach unless I can get a serious raise or get my business to take off. This is a more reachable goal than 50k a year for a nanny though. I really appreciate the feedback, thank you! If you or anyone else has more ideas, I am listening! – Jonathan Aug 11 at 1:53
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This is too heavy for a comment, a bit light for an answer. Also, it's more of an answer to your own answer.

First, a caveat : the few disabled parents that I know personally had at least one disabled kid. Not all their kids were, though.
Your kid's problems might worsen yours. So test beforehand to check for problems that can be detected, and decide what you will do from this point. If you can/accept, look into In Vitro screening.
A small silver lining : with some luck, pregnancy can help your wife life, but don't take that for granted : my wife lost some allergies, gained others during hers.

You seem aware of all that.

Second : nothing is sure with a baby. I'm mostly sharing experiences and observation. Some conditions, a bad day or teething will make things harder. Or, simply, the advice won't work for you. All I can say is : this might help.

So, on to the points that might help your life with a baby :

Sleep training : start as soon as possible. A 3 month old can sleep midnight to 5/6 in the morning. Forget about co-sleeping and put the kid in its own room when you come back from the hospital. At first, Someone will have to get up. But later, you won't have a four year old that can't sleep in his bed. (this is a worst case, of course)
Invest in a nice babyphone - don't need a camera unless you really want to.

Artificial milk : We used babynes (same a nespresso, but for baby milk), our daughter was full for longer than is often the case with breastfeeding, the milk was always at the right temperature and ready in a matter of seconds (literally). Also, given your wife condition, she might have medication that are not really good for a baby. Just feed your children in your arms, not at arm length in the crib, whenever you can. You can also look into "skin to skin" care. The product is a bit expensive so we switched to cow milk when possible (see with doctors) also, other product in the same style exists, I think.
Another benefit is that your wife might get less tiredness.
Don't hesitate and get the best bottles you find. They might not do much, but some help with hiccup and colic.

For your stability problem : a good smartwatch would allow you to always be able to call for help in most situation. You will need either well made, or custom made furniture, with round angles. Look into Montessori furnitures/design as it can help all around. Try to find a crib that has adjustable height - at the very least something modular. Also, there are playpen with lateral "doors" that can be zipped in the fabric and bad barrier with doors. I found only one picture with Qwant image search for wheelchair stroller. It's a custom build wheeled-contraption that allow for a car cosy to be put in front of the mother. (https://www.today.com/parents/mom-takes-baby-walks-special-wheelchair-stroller-t47011)
For you falling down, I can't really help. Don't use a baby scarf or something like that, as you might fall down on the kid. You might add benches along your walls, with padding, and maybe screwed to the wall, so you always have a better place to fall onto and better control - if it is possible.

Decide explicitly on family duties : if you badly need your sleep, your wife might have to take the night feeding on top of the day. You would do the mornings and evenings and a couple other chores. It might be important to discuss this beforehand. Also : nap whenever.

Pets : I know pet are a second responsibility, but it can help with a lot of things. First, it diminish risks of allergies. They also help with sleep and behavior problems. Also it helps, in the long run, teaching responsibility.
It's also a shallow test of your caring ability.

I don't know where you live, so the following advice might be useless :
Social services can help you. It can go from a simple allocation, to daycare, to full care with visit right until the child can be handled by you and your wife (seen in Switzerland).
Changing location might help, if it's possible.

All of this at best mitigate the problems.
Give your therapy some time to see if some things get better, at the very least.
It might still be overwhelming. Sorry not to be able to give a full answer.

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  • Thank you! This might actually make it possible! I wish I could outright give you some bounty in appreciation! I still worry about dropping / falling on the baby though, but if I am not dizzy, then I should be able to handle it, if my wife does the nights and I do mornings / evenings. – Jonathan Aug 12 at 8:44
  • Any further advice in mitigating the serious hazards (in my case) of falling on or dropping the baby would be greatly appreciated. I already have a wheelchair and soft carpet. There is already the adaptive crib, adaptive stroller, you mention rounded furniture. Still, with how much I drop inanimate objects, I see me dropping the baby (that can squirm) more. – Jonathan Aug 12 at 8:56
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    All the advice on sleep training and artificial milk won't work for a lot of newborns/ babys. This advice trying to sell OP on something that might not happen. And even infants with good sleep schedule and on artificial milk go through phases all the good stuff goes out the window. A common cold or teething for example. – Korinna Aug 12 at 9:50
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    @Korinna I added a caveat concerning your point. All I'm saying is, given the problems of the OP family, it's better to try something, and to look into solutions to mitigate those problems. It might not be enough, of course. It might not work, of course. But if they plan to go on with their project, let's give them the best (and maybe the broadest - as you said, some thing won't work) advice that the community can think of. Feel free to add other thing that might help. – MakorDal Aug 12 at 10:06
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    @Jonathan I tried to add something to answer your comment. – MakorDal Aug 12 at 10:07
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While I haven't come up with a viable solution for myself yet, comments provided by others and my own research have yeilded some potential leads that could help, though none seem be fully viable for me yet - granted my disabilities are severe. These suggestions probably will work for many others though, so here is a summary of what I have come across so far.

  • Do what you can to overcome your problems. Seek help from anywhere you can: God, church, doctors, psychiatrists, your spouse, relatives, friends, and give it a good effort yourself to overcome. This is something I am actively pursuing. If God does decide to heal me, then I should be just fine - and He may heal me with doctors, psych, others, and my own efforts. He may miraculously heal me too, so there is always hope here.
  • Use assistive technology - e.g. a crib that opens sideways, and a pack / stroller to hold the baby, and use a wheelchair. This would help us, but not enough in my case, unless there is more assistive technology I am unaware of. If we do have a kid, I already have and use the wheelchair, and would get the adaptive crib and adaptive stroller. I feel these don't mitigate the dangers enough with my particular disability. I probably have a fall once a week to once a month on average, and I drop things like my phone on almost a daily basis.
  • See if a relatives / trusted friends are willing to do the things you can't - in our case, it doesn't appear much support is available.
  • Robot nanny - About $3,000 - this is brand new technology likely coming next year, and isn't yet geared for caring for a newborn, but may still be a viable option: https://leapsmag.com/meet-your-childrens-new-nanny-a-robot/ I would wait till it becomes proven and capable though. Once this technology is capable of caring for a newborn, this might be a viable option for us.
  • Consider hiring a nanny, though they run about $50,000 a year, even for a live in nanny. Many (including me) cannot afford it though.
  • Consider hiring an au pair, they run about $30,000 a year, and live with you. They are limited to 45 hours of work a week though, and you are their employer / host family. This is currently outside my price range, but conceivable I can afford this later.
  • Per the other answer provided, setting up a schedule where my wife gets the baby at night, and I get mornings before work, evenings after work may help.
  • Per this answer, feeding the baby in the adaptive crib may significantly mitigate me dropping the baby.
  • Another thought: if I could change the baby in the crib somehow, this may help.
  • Pillows, or other thick padding at the base of the crib may also prevent / reduce any damage from dropping the baby. This partially helps with the dropping concern, but more help here is appreciated
  • I have managed to not fall on the dogs through multiple years, though there have been many close calls, including one where I came down hard and landed literally right up against the dog. A dog can also get out of the way while a baby cannot... This is still a largely unmitigated concern.
  • If all else fails, just don't have kids if you can't support them. If already pregnant, adoption is a preferred option.

I am open to more thoughts, these get us a few steps closer and offer some help, but in my case I still need more help before I can responsibly decide to have a baby. I am wide open to any further suggestions you may have, and am extremely greatful for the inputs everyone has provided so far.

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