Brain injury survivor and blogger Will Perringwood describes the challenges and rewards of parenting after brain injury.
With routine so crucial in the day-to-day survival with a brain injury, little ones also need a routine but it is difficult.
Luckily, children - in particularly babies - also work to a routine, which makes it slightly easier.
Just like snowflakes, every brain injury and the subsequent repercussions are different - both physically and mentally - and even now seven months into fatherhood, I would say I have hardly ever held our son in my arms.
It is perhaps most out of a fear of dropping him because of my weaker left hand/arm - which also makes changing nappies hard too.
I think I could count on just one of my hands how many times I have changed a nappy in total, which makes me feel horrendously guilty my wife must do the majority of the tasks - but as a result of my brain injury my left hand is still weak.
People say: ‘don’t be so hard on yourself.’
But you desperately want to make a contribution and help, because your child is 50 per cent of you.
The best bit of all though is bath time - I absolutely love it.
I have realised when your baby has a bath, it gently eases them into ‘sleep mode’ which gets them ready for bed, which is so important.
Another important thing is nap time/recharging.
In the early days of my recovery, I was on stronger medication which required me to uncontrollably sleep for about four or five hours a day - no matter how much I fought it.
Thankfully, my medication was changed and I have been ‘nap free’ for about two to three years now.
However, I recently took part in a ‘fatigue management’ session with the local brain injury team and found it really useful.
Most importantly though - if you are lucky enough - you must have the right support network in place to help you.
It is often said in brain injury circles ‘they don’t just affect one person,’ which is absolutely spot on.
I do not want to imagine what it would have been like to go through this without my absolutely incredible wife Amy.
I really do not know where I would be without her.
But I'm sorry guys, Amy is taken!
People with brain injuries often report that not only has their ability to carry out parenting roles been affected by their injury, but also their relationship with their children has changed.
Sometimes it is the changes in relationships that people find hardest to adjust to, even more so than the practical changes which may be necessary.
We've produced a range of information to help with parenting after brain injury. Explore the links below for more information.
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