Birth Injuries’ Lesser Known Impact on Family Life

Birth Injuries' Lesser Known Impact on Family Life

Unlike birth defects, most birth injuries are completely preventable, but their impact on family life can be irreversible. A parent may have to give up their career to care for the disabled child, siblings may have to put up with a decreased standard of life as parents scramble to pay the mounting medical expenses spurred by the diagnosis. But there are after-effects of severe disability caused by birth injuries in a newborn that affect a family in ways they may not be even aware of.

Birth Injuries’ Hidden Impact on Family Life

Catering to the needs of a healthy family with children can be both emotionally and financially taxing, but problems multiply exponentially when the youngest member of the family is severely impaired because of a birth injury.

  1. Difficulty bonding with the disabled baby

A diagnosis of severe disability in a baby can spur a roller coaster of emotions in parents. Some parents may experience guilt because they haven’t done anything in their power to prevent the outcome, such as spending all the family finances on that luxurious birth suite or hiring a midwife. Other parents may feel anger at the diagnosis and the unfairness of life.

After a difficult childbirth, the mother may develop PTSD, which will impair her natural ability to nurture her newborn child further fueling her feelings of anxiety and frustration. Fathers of disabled babies may develop the so-called postpartum depression (PPD), with misplaced feelings of being a failure as a parent accompanied by high levels of sadness and anxiety over what the future may hold.

Some parents may emotionally reject a special needs baby because it is not “perfect” or because of the built-up resentment over the “sacrifices” they now have to make for the baby’s sake. All the anger and frustration add up and may make it incredibly hard to naturally bond with the child.

If burnout sets in, things can get even more tensioned in the family especially if parents fail to address their mental health issues or to seek healthy ways of coping with the reality of disability and its impact on family life.

Early childhood bonding issues with the primary caregiver can lead to lifelong emotional issues in the baby including low self-esteem, a persistent feeling of being unworthy of being loved, guilt, addiction problems, and anger management issues.

  1. Strain on relationships

Birth injuries may also be the root cause of relationship breakdowns. The physical and emotional demands of caring for a young child with severe disability can take a heavy toll on caregivers’ personal and social life.

Usually having a disabled family member helps caregivers grow as both persons and parents and can bring the family closer together. But in extreme cases, disability may lead to separation or divorce especially if there are issues that have been constantly ignored or not resolved before the baby was born.

Parents may lose touch with their loved ones including family members and old friends due to lack of time and energy to invest in those relationships. Also, the parent that had to give up their job to care for the little one may quickly lose touch with their co-workers and other work-related acquaintances.

Caring for a child with disability means saying goodbye to night life, hobbies, and social gatherings, which can put a strain on caregivers’ relationship. That is why many busy parents of disabled children report experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation even if they are still married or involved in a romantic relationship.

  1. Siblings May be Affected too

As parents switch all their focus and resources onto the suffering child, older siblings can experience feelings of abandonment, loneliness, and of being unloved, especially if the family dynamic was severely affected by the diagnosis.

Also, older siblings may have to put up with bullying on school grounds because of their impaired sibling, which can further fuel their feelings of abandonment and isolation especially if there is no compassionate ear around to listen to and comfort them.

In Conclusion

Birth injuries in a newborn can have a long-lasting impact on family life and family members’ mental health and social life in ways not fully understood even by the ones directly affected by the diagnosis. Parents of a disabled child will have to start making sacrifices like quitting their job or burning through their life savings on expensive medical treatments and equipment to help their little one thrive.

However, insurance policies may not cover all the out-of-pocket expenses and they certainly do not cover all the pain and suffering a family may go through after one of their members has been maimed by a birth injury. Hopefully, there are specialized professionals that can make those liable for your baby’s injuries (including hospitals and independent contractors) pay both medical bills and pain and suffering compensation.

Don’t hesitate to complete a free case evaluation form with a birth injury attorney now!

 

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