If you have a child who has been diagnosed with a serious birth disorder, this is an extremely trying time in your life. You have many challenges ahead of you, both physical and emotional. Right now you are probably on an emotional roller coaster ride, and are having difficulty just getting through the day. Here are some tips that will hopefully help you deal with the adjustments in your life.
Learn all that you can about your child’s disorder
It’s going to be painful to hear the details, but knowledge is power. You can cope better with that which you understand, so learn as much as possible. If your child’s birth disorder is one that has a nationally recognized foundation, like Down syndrome, contact them. They can be a wealth of knowledge and support.
Give yourself permission to grieve
This is not what you expected, and you need to mourn the perfect, healthy baby you planned. Only when you have had ample time to mourn this loss, will you truly be able to accept and love your child the way she is.
You need physical and emotional help right now. Find someone to talk to about your feelings of anger, hurt, guilt and loss. You may be able to get the emotional help you need from a friend or relative, or you may need to speak to a professional. You may also need physical help caring for this child, depending upon the extent of the disorder. Your pediatrician should be able to help you locate special services if you require them.
Expect other people to be uncomfortable
It’s not your problem, but you have to deal with it. Other people don’t know what to say. You can make things easier on yourself by breaking the ice with these people. It may seem like something you shouldn’t have to do, but to get your friendships back to normal as quickly as possible, you may want to take it upon yourself to contact your friends and try to make them feel comfortable. Fortunately, some people will be by your side no matter what, and you can rely on them to get you through the first few weeks.
Having a child with a birth disorder may well be the biggest challenge you ever face. Know that help is available, and take the steps necessary to find the right services and support you and your family needs.