Parenting and expecting a child is one of the happy feelings we think of experiencing. If you are into pregnancy or having a new born baby, you only tend to think and build happy thoughts of future.
While there are a lot of parents who deal with the sadness of having given birth to a baby with disability, we never seem to understand what level of strength goes into them into accepting the situations and raising their child.
When your child has a disability, it can be the most shocking, tremendously hurting and painful feeling for you. Everything cannot be solved but can be coped with and so this little guidance into helping you know of the situation and finding a way out might help!
When you learn that your child has a disability!
Finding the birth of your child with a disability can be heartbreaking. No parents want their child to be harmed, injured or disabled in any way. And when you get to know that your new born child has some kind of disability, it’s a serious blow to you.
It is not an experience a parent wants to have and you panic in a moment. There are endless rants of the family, the breaking down of the parents and the doctors trying to explain you the situation where you find your child struggling with himself too.
Although you may try to find happiness in the birth of your baby, the constant reminder of the disability makes you feel cheated, hurt and heartbroken. There can be situation where the child is later diagnosed with a disability and the moment you come to know of it, the happier days become gloomy and distant.
All you can ever imagine is the difficulty that the child will be facing throughout his life and the tough time you will have in coping with it.
Every parent is different and has different level of strength. However, bearing a child with a disability breaks you down tremendously. There can be different devastating and strong reactions on coming to know of the disability of their child.
Denial – “This cannot happen to me and my child!” Parents refuse to accept what is stated to them and are in constant denial of facts. They go into their own shell and try to find an escape from the situation. This is not at all deliberately, the blow comes o serious that the mind stops calculating the reactions.
Anger – Anger is an obvious feeling when it comes to be at the receiving end of heart breaking news. This anger is generally diverted towards the medical personnel and midwife who had been taking care and ensuring the safety of the child. The parents feel cheated and so the anger comes as an outburst.
Grief or Loss – Anger is always triggered by grief and the sense of loss that the parents feel looking at their child. All the love and celebratory feelings of the arrival of the child gets transformed into something sad and thus parents find it difficult to cope with the destiny.
Fear – Another immediate response that we generally see in parents after the reports stating the child’s disability arrives is the fear. Fear of finding the reports correct. Fear of facing the family and the partner and most importantly child. Fear of the future that shall be difficult at each step. This is the fear of losing the picture of a happy complete family and the struggles that shall be undergone to make the situation stable.
Guilt – There is often a need to find the cause of the disability. The deed that might have gone wrong to have brought the child into the disability! Parents start finding faults in their habits, lifestyle, steps they could have taken, karma or anything that they had ever done in their life. Often parents do have spiritual and religious guilt too and resort themselves into performing religious offerings.
Rejection – If it’s a disability associated with a new born baby, there have been parents who have given up on the child and disown or reject them. The rejection can get as serious as some parents even going to the extent of death wishing for the child.
Acceptance – And then there is also acceptance. The power and strength in some people who think that fighting with the situation is better, compels them to be stronger and be the ideal parents they had dreamt of. They start coping with themselves and the people around and find ways of fighting with the disability and finding medical assistance.
Accepting the child’s disability
Accepting a child’s disability can be very heartbreaking yet a powerful act from the parents. It takes great strength to pick up the broken hopes and start finding solutions to help cure the disability or ways of treating the disability.
- Understand the diagnosis and the research findings of the disability to cope with the sadness.
- Talk to professionals about the necessary measures that should be taken
- Ask questions to parents who have a disabled child
- Read books written by and for parents
- Join a group to educate yourself of the situation with similar parents
The grieving process & adjustment
Coming in terms with the fact and coping with it takes a good deal of time. Knowing of the child’s disability can have serious effects on the parents both emotionally and mentally. The professionals and doctors are required to give a helping hand and guide them through their knowledge to help in fighting with the situation.
They should be guided well until they start finding way into accepting the child’s disability, and come out of their own pain and depressions.
Stage 1 – Denial, anger and rejection strike all at once making the parents cry and get angry over the doctors.
Stage 2 – Parents try to avoid the reality and try to behave like nothing is wrong with the child. This is a mental issue and can be dangerous if goes on for quite a long time.
Stage 3 – Anger continues having effect on people around and parents start hating anyone who has had a normal child. Situations of fights and anger breakdown are common.
Stage 4 – As a little time has passed, reality starts sinking in and the parents start realizing the disability of the child. Some parents still find it hard to cope and go into depression, guilt and shame feelings. Constant talking of the relatives and friends can bring the parents into understanding with the intensity of the situation as talks start making sense now.
Stage 5 – This is the time when parents start being neutral and are slowly becoming available to acceptance. With continuous efforts towards awareness and adjustments, parents slowly start accepting the child, the disability and start reacting to people.
Stage 6 – Parents start putting their lives back together with finding the correct treatment and ways of coping with the child’s disability and trying to find happiness in them.
Fighting the disability
Fighting with the disability is going to be a lifelong task or taking a good amount of your time and energy. Raising a child with disability means providing the child with specialized environment and comfort far more carefully than a normal parent would do. Parents need to be extra cautious of the child, his habits and the intense feelings the child goes with. Guidance at every step is required to ensure that the child does not resort to depression. These might help:
- Seek assistance of other parents: The parents of a disabled child are special indeed as they have that kindness and understanding which much beyond the expectations of a normal parent. Because they know of how it feels like to have a disabled child and the tough life ahead, they might just be the perfect people to seek assistance from. They help you figure out new ways and also share their experience which shall be valuable to you.
- Talk with the partner and family: No one can fight through a problem single handedly. There is a constant need of bonding, understanding and a helping hand. Talking out your problems with partner, friends and family will help you fight through the situations well.
- Be positive: Positivity is the key to raising a strong child. And if you have a disabled child he is got to be stronger than others. Staying positive at everything shall impart happiness into you and make you more string each day.
- One day at a time: Imagining future can get scary sometimes, it is best to live each day as it comes through. This shall help you be contended, stay strong and feel complete.
- Learn: Keep your searching eyes on and try to learn every new technique or advancements that can prove helpful for your child.
- Do not get intimidated: Parents often feel dejected and inadequate in the presence of a happy normal family. Know that happiness comes with love and care into the family, and dejection can only be fought by you accepting the child’s disability. Not letting people treat you or your child badly or inappropriate is a strong step towards happiness.
- Find programs for child: It is important to make the child accept the disability too. Get your child involved into programs and special training sessions to help him make use of his strength for better. There can be one disability in your child but he/she can still live with all other abilities they have in them. Make sure to train them for a better life.
- Time heals: ‘Time heals everything’ and as time passes there shall be something coming up to make you cope with the situation and make-up for the happiness gone.
- Be normal: The best thing to do to you when having a disabled child is to try to be normal. Treat the situation like nothing has happened and everything can be fought through.
How to deal with others?
Society brings a lot of barriers into the progressive happy living. And when you have a disabled child, the level of barriers just keeps on increasing. With people asking you constantly about the disability, the progress, the condition of the child and setting examples in front of you, being normal and behaving normal can get tricky.
Entertain no drama and be very clear about the way you look at it. When you have anger, pain and guilt running into you, societal barriers cast a deep pain and people get to see the rough side.
Hide those tough feelings and behave accepted of the facts and talk happily about it. Happiness curbs out the questions and throws the drama away. The least you can do is not care about what the world has to say. It’s your child, you love him and you have accepted everything about him.