Talking about the desire to have a child and parenthood
The most important point is that a client’s desire to have a child is addressed respectfully. This is something different from approval or encouragement of the arrival of a child. Clients must have the opportunity to present their story without judgment from others. Furthermore, it is important that clients figure out with whom they can discuss their desire to have a child and their possible future parenthood. Why do you want a child? Who’s there to support you? What are the things they can do to support you? Are there enough people in your social network who can offer you some support?
When a client gets pregnant, it is often unintentionally. Sex education that also includes proper information on use of contraception should be a standard component of consultations on the desire to have a child and parenthood.
For talking about the topics of the desire to have a child and parenthood, you can use:
the What I wish card game
This game – similar to Go Fish or Happy Families – shows how the client perceives certain parts of his or her life and future. Additionally, subjects that are more sensitive such as sexuality, safe sex, and the desire to have a child are addressed. You also have the option of involving other family members in the card game, if it is appropriate.
Talking about your desire to have a child
What do you do when a client expresses a desire to have a child? Or what about when you suspect that your client wants to have a child? How do you start a discussion about that? What are the important issues it involves? What is your attitude about the topic and what skills do you need to have to effectively provide for your client’s needs? For more concrete guidelines over how you can start such a discussion, go to: Talking about your desire to have a child.
Talking about the social network: Who’s there to support you?
It is sensible to involve people in your life when it comes to big decisions in your life. This certainly applies to clients who want to have a child. Even more so, the social network of people with intellectual disabilities is the decisive factor for future successful parenthood. With the game Who’s there to support you?, you and your client clearly define her social network.
This game is based on the Support Interview Guide, developed by Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn (University of Sydney, Australia).
My child wants a child
How do you – as parents of a child with an intellectual disability – deal with your son or daughter’s life questions regarding sexuality or a desire to have a child? Of course, you want to advise, support, and inform your child as best as possible.
You can read about how to deal with that in the information brochure My child wants a child. You clearly do not have to deal with this on your own. Contact the care workers who already support your child. You can indeed do more by doing it together!