Pregnant And Paralyzed: Lessons Pregnancy Taught Me

There was a time after my accident when I thought my disability meant that boys won’t find me attractive. I was actually pursued by a man – an attractive one!

Kristin Beale

Honest to God, I blamed my disability and didn’t think I’d get to be married. I just celebrated my second wedding anniversary.

Most of all, I never dreamed that I’d want to or have an opportunity to be a mother. I gave birth to a healthy boy in April.

So, we see, the biggest lesson I can take from the last five years is this: I have no idea what’s going to happen to me, and I’m awful at trying to guess. I am good at reflecting and taking lessons from the past, though, and I’ve landed on some significant ones – for this article, about being pregnant.

  1. Staying in shape is worth it.

    That feels like the overarching theme of my life post-disability, but it’s especially true for pregnancy. Especially in my third trimester when I got much bigger, everything got harder. Literally everything: transfers, pushing my wheelchair, bending over, even moving my legs back and forth. The fact that I was already in shape made everything that much easier, and the load on my beloved upper body lighter.
  2. Diet makes a huge difference.

    I knew this to be true in my pre-pregnancy state, but the point was driven home when I became pregnant; what I ate made the difference between a good day and a bad day, so I really had to stay on top of it. The food I put in my body made all the difference in my mood, how my body felt, my energy level, my appearance, everything. I can’t stress this enough.
  3. The power of movement.

    Even when I absolutely didn’t feel like it and I’d rather unfold my pregnant body across the couch, I always felt better when I forced myself to move a little bit. For my pregnant version, that means exercises with bands, wrist weights, free weights, and a couch to bend onto and catch my breath (baby sat on my lungs for a whole month). Depending on the season, that could also look like a walk in the neighborhood or a push up a hill.
  4. It’s okay to get help.

    I’m stubborn about asking for it, please believe I am. When my body started getting big and my mobility waved, though, it was inevitable. Asking my husband to help me didn’t kill me, either. Shocking.
  5. The importance of rest.

    Here’s another topic I’m stubborn about: slowing down to lie down. Also inevitable, my back started aching, my ribs felt like they were turning in on each other, and I had to stretch out. I could have saved myself some strain if I’d surrendered to rest a few weeks earlier, but who gets it right on the first try? I learned my lesson for next time, at least.

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Some people have lovely pregnancies and my friend even has the audacity to say she “misses being pregnant.” I can’t relate.

In fact, the last lessons I learned about being pregnant is that 1. I’m not one of those people, but 2. despite the 9 months of sheer inconvenience and discomfort that defined my pregnancy, it was worth it one million times over. Being a mom is so much fun.

About the Author - Kristin Beale

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of three books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, Wide Awake, and a comic book, Date Me. Instagram: @kristin.gupta

Kristin Beale

The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $10,000,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.