Parenting is a challenge to begin with but having a brain injury and in a wheelchair definitely poses more challenges than anyone can imagine. When our youngest was born, I did whatever I could to make sure Shawn was a part of the birthing process. We brought in a Doula to assist with the delivery and to make sure Shawn was as much of a part of the birth as possible, since I would be a little busy. I even went so far as attempting to be induced before my actual due date because our situation did not allow for a surprise quick delivery scenario. Unfortunately that induction did not put me in to labour and I was sadly sent home. Nothing worse then heading to the hospital thinking you will be leaving with your baby but just sent home and told see you again sometime soon.
However, I did go into labour on my own, and it couldn’t have worked out better. Shawn was there the whole time and was able to be a part of the entire experience and held his son right after he was born. At the time, we had incredible support staff that took care of all Shawn’s needs at the hospital and then after he went home and I stayed at the hospital for a night. I pretty much rushed myself out of the hospital because I knew I had to get home and take care of Shawn and my other children so I was home less than 24 hours after giving birth.
When the baby was little, Shawn participated in bathing time and bottle feeds with the help of some assisted devices that not only helped him, but also kept our son safe while Shawn held him. It was such a beautiful time for the both of them to share. Part of Shawn’s speech therapy was to read books to our son and sing to him. I made sure to take lots of videos of those days to show our son someday. As our son grew up, he learned that going for rides on daddy’s power chair was a pretty cool way of getting around, so he went from riding with him in a front carrier to sitting on his lap. I even at one point contacted a non-profit agency in the area that had volunteers that would come up with ideas to adapt any equipment to help the disabled with every day life. My vision was for them to create some kind of attachment to Shawn’s chair that we could hook a child carrier too. Sort of like how you attach the car seat into the car base. As much as my idea was great, it eventually came down to not feeling that any solution would be safe enough and of course the liability of anything to do with child safety and car seats. So we junked that idea. Since our son was born after the accident, he knows his dad no other way, which is special in itself. Our older children do remember their father pre-accident so it has been a harder adjustment. I believe the closeness they shared is just not there anymore and that makes me very sad. As hard as I have tried to bring their worlds back together, I know it is just not the same. They still love him very much but just transitioned harder because they were just at very hard ages to deal emotionally with all that took place and still takes place. This entire subject is definitely something that I can go on and on about and I plan to share more of the challenges and successes we have encountered. Even though this blog entry focuses more on Shawn, then as being the spouse or partner, it all does interconnect with each other and the bases for the new way we have had to parent together.