Coping With Birth Defects

5 min read

Written by Pradeep


coping with birth defects

The birth of a baby is always a matter of joy and happiness not only for the parents but also for the near and dear ones. This joy or exuberance can turn into grief if a newly born has some birth defects. Birth defects are critical conditions that affect the baby while they are developing inside the womb.

It is estimated that around 3 percent of the babies born with congenital or birth defects, the most frequent ones are cleft lip and palate, spina bifida, and Down syndrome. It is indeed devastating to find that your baby has a birth defect, and often, parents mentally whip themselves for the same.

In This Article

How Are Birth Defects Caused?

Genetics, environmental factors or a combination of both these can cause birth defects in babies. Genetic disorders are characterized in 3 ways, namely:

Chromosomal Disorders

Rarely inherited, chromosomal disorders are caused when the number of chromosomes in each cell is abnormal – either more or less than 46. For example, in the case of Down’s syndrome, each cell has 47 chromosomes instead of 46

Multi-factorial Inheritance

Faulty genes and environmental factors contribute to birth defects that arise due to multi-factorial inheritance. Spina bifida and anencephaly both fall into this category of birth defects.

Single Gene Disorder

Defective genes can be passed on from generation to generation causing what is known as a single gene disorder.

Birth defects are broadly classified into 2 types:

  • Structural Defects: Structural defects are related to problems with the body and appearance.
  • Functional or Developmental Defects: Developmental birth defects are linked to the working or functioning of the body parts or the body system.

It can be devastating for parents to find that their baby has a birth defect, and they go through a plethora of emotions with many of them wondering how they will take care of the child. Fortunately, there are many resources and people to help you with the child, and here we list some common steps that will help you in coping with your emotions.

9 Steps To Take To Cope With Your Child’s Birth Defect

9 Steps To Take To Cope With Your Child’s Birth Defect

Following are some of the simple tips for parents to help cope with a child born with a birth defect:

1. Acknowledge Yourself

It is quite natural to feel devastated and sad, but you have to move forward. Express your emotions of shock, fear, guilt, and anger. A few days of sadness will give vent to your feelings and will help you in accepting the truth. If you like, you can seek the help of friends or even a counselor.

2. Talk To Yourself

Talk to yourself and accept what is bestowed on you by the Almighty above. Speaking to oneself often helps in accepting the situation and it gives the strength and courage to cope with difficult circumstances.

3. Do Some Research

It is advisable to do some research. Take the help of the internet and learn more about the various available methods and techniques in coping with the predicament. But confirm the collected information from some reliable source such as your doctor or his recommended medical books

4. Talk To Your Partner

Your partner is the only person in the entire world who can relate to your condition. So talk to your spouse at length on various topics such as what all you expect from one another, how you are feeling about the special child and the difficulties that you will have to face. Promise to stand by each other and work in unison in taking care of your little special baby.

5. Know About Your Baby’s Condition

Knowing your baby’s condition is very important for the parents. Every birth defect is not permanent some are quite curable with surgeries. Some defects are forever and the child has to learn to live with them however there are therapies.

Many people often do not understand the truth behind cleft palate or lip. They feel that this is due to eclipses or using knives during pregnancy. Be scientific and teach your family members about birth defects.

6. Prepare Yourself Financially

Prepare Yourself Financially

Having a child with birth defects is quite challenging both psychologically as well as financially. It can affect health insurance benefits, lifestyle, daily routine, etc.

You should ask the doctor about the helping aids your child might need in order to be safe and healthy for example, prosthetic limbs, heart stint, or a wheelchair. Some children need a few alterations in the house, especially clothes for easy access to equipment. So start saving for larger expenses

7. Try To Get Local Support

Coping with congenital defects can be very annoying and stressful. The correct way to handle the changes in your aspirations and expectations is to learn with other parents facing similar or like circumstances. You can also find gratification in volunteering groups concerned with birth defect awareness.

Working with other children with birth defects will give you a sense of fulfillment and will enhance your level of patience in you. Do not confine yourself to one option, instead augment all possible alternatives and weave a good support network to help you and your baby in the coming times.

8. Discuss Freely The Birth Defects With Your Family Members And Friends

Prepare yourself mentally to live with a birth defect in a child. This will not only enable you, but also prepare you to deal with the baby’s defect emphatically and will provide you and your baby a better and healthy life. Expressing your emotions will ease your burdened heart and will also help you in the struggle of coping with the situation

9. Seeking Help And Support

You can get support from professional counselors or psychological advisers. Do not feel embarrassed in seeking their help. They will pacify your emotional turmoil and will help you sail from an initial sad experience to a more successful life. Health care counselors are helpful in rendering you more effective advice on how to look after children with birth defects.

Psychological counselors lessen your levels of fear, anxiety apprehension, and depression. Professional talks with counselors are immensely helpful in providing you lasting emotional support and also subsides all underlying fears.

Remember every child is special and so is yours! Accept what you have got and instead of crying ad feeling stressed, prepare yourself for having a hassle-free life both for your little baby and yourself!


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