How Does Cerebral Palsy Affect Parents?

Dealing with cerebral palsy (CP,) or any other kind of disability, can present many challenges both for the affected individual and the other members of their family.

Especially during the first few years after the diagnosis, when you haven’t gotten used to your new normal yet. Once everyone has had time to adjust, you may find that your situation has drastically improved.

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, while you are worrying about their health, chances are you are also worried about how you will be affected as well.

Any mom of a kid with special needs will understand your concerns. Here are some of the fears you may have and how to overcome them:

Guilt

Feeling guilty is one way parents may be affected by their child’s cerebral palsy.

Mothers may wonder if they did something wrong during pregnancy that caused their baby’s condition. Parents may blame each other for causing it, too.

If your baby’s condition was caused by a preventable birth injury, you may also be blaming yourself for not intervening or even for choosing the doctor who caused the injury in the first place.

If you have questions about the timeline for a cerebral palsy birth injury case or how much your case may be worth, consider reaching out to a personal injury attorney who specializes in this area of the law.

They will be able to direct you to resources and provide support.

Exhaustion

Depending on the severity of your child’s cerebral palsy, you may be providing care far above and beyond that which exhausts the parents of children who are developing normally.

Any new parent will be overwhelmed at first. Eventually, as the child learns to become independent and handle some tasks on their own, the parents will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

For parents of children with cerebral palsy, that day may never come. Some children with mild CP will go on to be independent. Others may need help with some tasks but be able to perform others on their own.

For individuals who have severe cases that have completely debilitated them, parents may need to provide lifelong care.

Fear of the Future

Parents of children with typical development may take it for granted that they will attend graduations, send their child off to college and eventually become a grandparent. No one can predict whether or not these things will actually happen, but for parents of kids with CP, the future is even less certain. Your financial future may be uncertain as well. You may be paying for:

  • Medical bills
  • Therapists
  • Caregivers
  • Special equipment

Apart from any funds awarded through a lawsuit, you may also be able to find financial assistance through organizations and your health insurance policy may also cover some of your costs.

Stress and Lack of Support

Sometimes marriages and other relationships break down after a child’s diagnosis. You may also find that some of your friends begin avoiding you or that you no longer have anything in common with the people you used to turn to for support.

Parents of disabled children experience extraordinarily high levels of stress. If you’re stressed-out, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for support.

Take advantage of any and all offers to babysit or respite care services. See a therapist if you need to, and be sure to get outside to get some fresh air when you begin feeling overwhelmed.

Keep the channels of communication open with your partner and help each other take breaks often. As your child grows older it will become easier. Even if it doesn’t seem like it now, you will get through this.

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