Our BrainBank Panelist Jayden is a proud dad of two beautiful girls. Jayden sat down with our team to talk about how he worked to be an active and engaged parent while living with a brain injury.
“I always wanted to be a dad. When I suffered my brain injury, I thought that it was never going to happen. I thought I lost my chance. I’m so grateful to have met my wife and that we decided to have kids,” said Jayden.
“When I became a dad, I wanted to be an involved and active parent. I have limited use of the left side of my body. So, being someone who’s hemiplegia (experiences one-sided paralysis) has made it difficult to help with everything when I am caring for my daughters. So, I found ways to help wherever I could.”
Focus on solutions to stay involved
“One of my biggest struggles was change nappies. To overcome the limited use of my arm, I made an aid. I had a long piece of foam with a rope, I strung the rope over my left arm and wrapped the foam part around my daughter’s legs so I could lift her up and wipe her properly.”
“My mantra was only solutions! When my daughter got older and started to roll around, I struggled to change her nappy. I said to my wife ‘my time will come, when we are out at dinner and the girls need to go to the bathroom, I will take them.’ I now help out where I can. I get the wet wipes, take the dirty nappy to the bin, make sure the changing station was stocked to ease the work for my wife. Changing my daughter’s nappy was something I wanted to do, and I did it!”
Keep it fun and help them learn
“Babies are smart. My eldest daughter has learnt and now knows the way that dad plays, picks her up, puts her in or out of the car is different to how mum does it. Like going up and down the stairs, mum would usually pick her up or hold her hand. Dad will climb the stairs with her and coming down we will slide on our bums step by step and make a game of it.”
“Teaching her to do things differently by having fun with it. She says, ‘this is how we do things with papa’ and knows it’s different to how mum or nanna does it. Like when she needs to put on her shoes with me, I’ll sit down on a chair, and she’ll come in between my legs and she’ll hold onto me to slide her feet into the shoes. She knows that’s how we do it.”
Jayden’s advice to others
“Parenting is hard, despite having a brain injury It’s going to be hard on both of you. You need to work together, and work to each others strengths. I thought I wasn’t going to be a great parent, because I couldn’t do certain things. Know that it is possible to be an active and great parent with a good relationship with your kids.”
“When you suffer a brain injury it’s not the end. You can still have a beautiful family and I really want everyone to know that they can because it’s amazing. It’s fantastic. I love it!”