Birth injuries do not affect the child alone but the entire family. A child who is left with long-term cognitive, physical, and psychological effects of an injury can heavily impact the functionality of any family psychologically and financially. The sad fact is those birth injuries are preventable, but they still happen regardless. Parents may have to give up their careers to care for a disabled child, and siblings may have to deal with decreased standards of life as parents struggle to raise the lump sum amounts required for treatment. It’s even more expensive to get legal help when financially and emotionally drained. In this article, we will look at various ways families are affected by birth injuries.
The emotional and physical demands of caring for a young child with a severe disability can take a toll on any parent’s social life. It can be the determining factor in mother-to-child and mother-to-father relationships. Having a disabled family member generally brings all family members closer to each other, but in extreme cases, the disability can be the main reason for separation and divorce, especially if there have been ignored issues that remained unresolved before the child was born. Parents may also lose touch with relatives and old friends due to a lack of energy and time. Parents who choose to quit jobs to take care of their children may also lose touch with co-workers and other work acquaintances.
Birth injuries can be costly to treat, and many children rely on expensive equipment and tools depending on the type of injury sustained during birth. Most children require wheelchairs, shower chairs, walkers, and mobility aids. Children with breathing problems and seizures require medication and treatment that could take a lifetime. Families may need to take up special accommodations to create a conducive environment for growth. All these can be expensive to acquire, especially if one parent is not working or both parents don’t get support from their families. Therapies can be costly, and taking a child to a special school is also expensive. When it comes to legal follow-up, most parents may not have enough money to get legal help. In some cases, families have to make painful decisions regarding living arrangements and care that could alter the quality of life.
Psychological impact on siblings
Adults may not be the only affected people after a birth injury. Siblings are also likely to feel the impact in various ways. They may also have more significant responsibilities at a younger age than their friends, which can lead to isolation, depression, and other mental issues. Some may have to deal with bullying and teasing from other children. Parents may spend most of their time caring and looking after the disabled child and neglect other children, which can also create conflict, anger, and a sense of abandonment in siblings.
PTSD and other psychological impacts on parents
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common condition many mothers, and sometimes fathers develop when they realize their children were injured during birth. It is often overlooked as most parents describe the condition as panic, guilt, stress, and hopeless experience. Many also end up struggling with postpartum depression and have difficulty caring for and loving the newborn child. PTSD can cause symptoms like insomnia, nightmares, hypervigilance, and emotional distress. PTSD can be a result of a traumatic experience like giving birth, and it is more likely to happen during labor and delivery.