My name is Adaobi Ebozue and I’m married to a handsome, funny, caring man who happens to be a T11-T12 Paraplegic . Six days to the delivery of my child My husband was involved in a ghastly car accident leaving him paralysed completely from the waist down. We’d only been married for one year and 6 months when this nightmare began…
Our life isn’t ordinary. At times we feel like a normal couple riding the high of achievement together. Sometimes, we hold each other and just cry.
I will be taking a walk down memory lane, taking A look at some of the challenges we’ve faced in our marriage of 9 years so far, together. Admittedly, this is our experience. I recognize each marriage and each disability and couple face different challenges in different ways.
Some of them will include
1) Finances: being the breadwinner.
The unemployment statistics for people with disabilities are staggering. Things like physical challenges,unpredictability, transportation and fear of losing much needed benefits play into this. My husband is paralyzed from the waist down because of a spinal cord injury sustained in a ghastly accident 6days before our first child was born.
My husband for now takes care of our little one and I am a career woman, I always have been. So, it makes sense for me to be the breadwinner. We have had some tight times, but thankfully we’ve always had what we needed. There is tension when there isn’t enough to pay the bills, though. And there is guilt and shame, for both of us. My husband feels like he’s not being the provider he should be as a husband. I feel like I’ll never be able to be the wife I want to be, and make enough money for us to live at the level that makes us happy. Add the dream of having more children to the mix and that’s where it gets really complicated, financially.
2) Responsibilities: cooking/cleaning/yard work — it’s all you (or at least, it feels like it).
You will recognise very quickly that you need to become Super Woman….Literally!
3. Accessibility — not always easy to get out/visit friends/family.
I will admit, there have been more than one occasion that I’ve said “no thanks” to family gatherings or church small groups, because I just didn’t want to deal with the drama of getting in and out of an accessible house. Engagements at restaurants or public places are so much easier, but houses are generally just so inaccessible. It takes time, energy and sometimes it’s awkward getting up a few steps. We have to find a couple of people to lift my husband and his wheelchair, then inside, he usually can’t get to the bathroom – so we have to be careful about how long we stay. It’s much easier to have people over to our home or like I said, meet in public. I wish this was easier. I feel like we’d have more fun in life.
4) Time — never enough hours in a day.
Caregiving takes time. It just does. It takes more time to get two people up, clean, dressed and ready for the day than it does it takes to just get yourself ready. For the past seven years I’ve had to get up at 3 a.m., so that I can achieve all that needs to be achieved.
This is one of those things that people in the outside-of-caregiving world just don’t get. Years of practice and changing little things here and there have cut down on how much time we have to dedicate to managing my husband’s disability, but it’s a wild card and plans can change in a minute. Add to that a demanding full-time business cooking and cleaning and child care, making time for my own personal goals – and the idea of a 27 hour day sounds awesome. If it were only possible. Sleep almost always gets cut. I can only get between 4-6 hours a day max!
5.) PCAs — in your space.
If your spouse requires help from a personal care attendant, you have to admit it, it’s totally a minefield to learn how to deal with someone in your home, in your bedroom and helping your spouse with personal care. This is not easy. Being relatively young currently now nearly 34 and only 27 when this nightmare began , I wanted to spend as much time “just us” as we could. The idea of another man in my space made me uncomfortable.
The sight of someone else in our space all the time made me sad, made me feel like my husband was sick. But doing it all myself didn’t work either. I was tired, stressed, resentful and not healthy — emotionally or physically.
However having someone else helping my husband with his day-to-day personal — and having him in charge of that — is the best thing for our marriage. It puts him in control of his care and that adds to his independence. Plus, I get to go to workout a lot! I had someone tell me once, “There are some things anyone can do for your husband, and there are some things only you can do. Let the things anyone can do go so that you can focus on the things only you can do — be his wife.” Great advice!
6.) Expectations — be careful. Set ‘em too high, you’ll never be happy. Set ‘em too low, you’ll never grow.
I mentioned earlier that having a spouse with a disability is like having a third person in your marriage. Expectations are tricky when you’re dealing with “three.” I can think of a time I pushed too hard for us to “be like everyone else,” and my husband ended up with a Brocken leg.
I can think of another time that we watched a movie about a couple going through our struggles and we ended up crying. When it comes to expectations — it’s best to remain open-minded. If you set them too high — you may end up disappointed. If you set them too low — you may miss out on life.
7.) Sex and Starting a family — you may need a miracle.
For the past five years, I’ve really been wanting more babies. This is a challenge for us, physically. We do just fine in bed, but we have a bit of a logistical issue with getting pregnant. This challenge has been one of the hardest things we’ve faced together, but it’s definitely brought us closer together as a team. The biological challenges aren’t the only thing. All of the other marriage challenges I’ve mentioned here are at play in this category as well — financial challenges (IVF is not a cheap road) and if we did get pregnant — more babies means more financial load, expectations, responsibilities. This one is complicated. I hope we figure it out one day. I have a feeling we’re going to need a couple of miracles. Checkout how i cope with our sex life HERE
7.) Extended family drama
My marriage has been a constant battle with my husbands family. Up till now they continue to be a third party in our marriage, it’s a struggle, my stubbornness however to not let this carry on reigns and things are certainly improving albeit slowly.
At the end of the day So many times as the spouses we are not allowed to share our feelings of frustration. I recognise I am more fortunate than most as the CEO of a successful Lifestyle and media company, however it’s still a battle and struggle. Truly I am proud to have come out stronger than ever despite the odds. You can also read my story at Slay Motivation HERE or watch my interview at The women International
I highly recommend the daily use of Slay Motivation for a strong mind and happy life.
Slay Fitness paraplegic exercises you can do at home with your man is a great resource.
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