Every parent reacts differently when a child is born with, or develops, a complex medical condition. Common reactions and emotions might include disbelief, shock, confusion, denial or worry—and all of these emotions can change based upon the given day or situation. It’s important for parents to know that however you’re feeling, it’s OK. Many parents find that feelings of distress often fade in time, giving way to acceptance, validation, relief and a sense of belonging.
Whatever your family’s circumstance, one thing’s for certain: You and your child are not alone. Connecting with other families can offer comfort, hope and the chance to share your questions. Support networks can be invaluable forums to seek out answers and, if needed, obtain further understanding of your child’s condition.
Ultimately, it’s important—for you and your child—to stay connected. Surround yourself and your child with supportive family, friends and professionals. Talk with loved ones and other parents. Listen, learn and share. We all benefit when we have supportive relationships with one another.
Richard DiPrima, PsyD, LP, is a neuropsychologist at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.