It’s easy to become overwhelmed, sad, angry, and even confused when parents learn that their child may have suffered a birth injury that has negatively affected the child’s physical and mental development. So what can parents do to help alleviate the cycle of emotions they will likely go through as they learn of their child’s development barriers and to make sense of their child’s diagnosis that is a result of a birth injury? Below is a brief list of some tactics a parent can utilize to help them cope with their child’s situation.
The first thing any parent undergoing a recent diagnosis of their child stemming from a birth injury should do is to research the condition. For example, cerebral palsy is a nervous system disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control muscles in the body, making things like walking, sitting, and talking increasingly difficult. Though the condition has no cure, there are therapies, medicines, and surgical procedures that can be done to improve the quality of life for the child. Learning about the diagnosis of one’s child is important in that it gives the parent actionable information, helps them understand the choices they have, and gives them an idea of the needs their child is going to encounter throughout their life.
2. Support group
Learning that the diagnosis that a parent’s child has received may not have a cure, or may entail a great deal of pain and barriers for the child is a difficult and emotionally taxing thing to process for even the strongest of parents. This makes it critical to create a support group that can allow parents room to vent, ask questions and get real-life examples and answers, and to find a place of community for parents undergoing the same situation and who have likely experienced the same emotions. A positive support group can be the difference between a stable and happy family unit encountering a difficult circumstance, or a fractured and unhappy family unit undergoing the same difficult circumstances. Many parents may find the organization March of Dimes helpful for parenting tips, connecting with other parents undergoing similar circumstances, and a supportive environment.
Finally, a person cannot take care of anyone else if that person is not first taking care of himself or herself. It can be easy for any parent to devote their entire lives to making sure their children are happy, healthy, and entertained, but parents must also remember how important it is to practice self-care and take time for only themselves. For parents who are also dealing with the side effects of a birth injury to their child, self-care becomes even more important to prevent burn-out, exhaustion, depression, and other negative feelings.
Being overwhelmed with the news of a child’s birth injury and the effects is entirely understandable, and the tips listed above may come in handy for a parent who is looking for guidance on the future of their family.