Nothing is more painful and agonizing than watching your child suffer. And suppose that suffering is a lifelong condition. In that case, it comes with a wealth of emotional, physical, social, and financial challenges—a disease as complex and crippling as cerebral palsy impacts the entire family.
Raising a child with cerebral palsy gives rise to numerous complications and challenges for the family unit. Families raising a child with special needs and disabilities struggle with financial strain and mental health issues. For instance, these households are more vulnerable to depression, stress, anxiety, and strained relationships.
It’s natural for the parents to feel overwhelming guilt and blame themselves for their child’s condition. This guilt motivates them to give all their resources and attention to the affected child, neglecting other children. Keep reading to learn more about the challenges faced by children and parents due to cerebral palsy.
Overwhelming Guilt & Stress
Finding out your newborn child has cerebral palsy is emotionally crippling and devastating. No parent wants to hear that the infant they’ve waited for nine long months isn’t healthy. The most natural reaction to such news is to blame themselves, especially the mother since she carries the child in her womb.
Mothers blame themselves for mistakes that could have contributed to this condition. They keep thinking about what went wrong during their pregnancy to find mistakes that substantiate their guilt. This guilt results in overcompensation and religious dedication to their child’s needs and comforts. More alarmingly, the overwhelming guilt sets the stage for numerous mental health illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.
Parents must overcome the guilt by understanding the risk factors contributing to cerebral palsy in infants and newborns. Typically, this condition occurs due to mishandled deliveries, medical negligence, and childbirth injuries. Guilty parents cannot look after a child with special needs and restore the health and wellbeing of their family.
Guilt sets the stage for emotional abnormality, making it challenging to balance our relations healthily. Understanding what happened to your child and how it happened will help you find closure and clarity. And this clarity will help you move forward with a pragmatic strategy to elevate your child’s and family’s mental health and wellbeing.
Caring for a child with cerebral palsy gives rise to scores of caregiving struggles. First and foremost, the entire family does not understand the disability and the life struggles it accompanies. Parents have to educate themselves about the disease, its symptoms, and its complications. In most cases, caregiving is delegated entirely to the mother, leaving her abandoned and alone in the process.
Taking care of the child and teaching essential life skills becomes a mammoth and complex struggle. And if one parent is assigned with the caregiving needs, the journey becomes overwhelmingly challenging. In most cases, mothers have physical pain and health concerns because of exhausting physical activities of looking after the child.
Parents have to assist the child with everything, and in most cases, other siblings find it hard to dedicate their time. In the long-run, one parent decides to focus on the caregiving needs while the other must work to run the household. This dynamic creates a financial strain on the family, reducing life quality and increasing financial burdens.
Research reveals that mothers often feel disconnected from their husbands and family members in the caregiving process. Husbands and other children promise to help but fail to stay as dedicated and steadfast as the mother. In some cases, these circumstances lead to divorce and broken homes or compromised care of other children.
Lack of Community Support
It’s alarming to see human kindness become such a rarity despite the rising popularity of mental health discourses. Kindness is a burgeoning trend on social media, but its absence haunts families struggling with disabilities at a community level. Raising a child with cerebral palsy becomes more challenging without community support.
People do not understand the disability and don’t attempt to make positive contributions to ease the suffering of the struggling family. To make matters worse, parents and family members of CP children often find themselves socially excluded and neglected. The local community develops a negative and disapproving attitude towards the child and the family.
Mothers often complain of isolation from community members, close family members, and friends. They experience discrimination at social events and are not invited to participate or attend gatherings. The lack of inclusivity and facilities for disabled people in public spaces worsens this situation. The primary caregivers often find themselves tied to home due to the lack of public transportation facilities.
Environmental & Social Challenges
Raising a child with cerebral palsy exposes parents and families also face numerous social challenges. Attending an event or enjoying a nice dinner at a restaurant becomes a challenging ordeal riddled with obstacles. And all these challenges stem from the lack of inclusivity and facilities for disabled people.
For instance, no inclusive spaces and transportation facilities can ease traveling with a disabled child. Therefore, parents find it overwhelmingly challenging to commute. Matters are aggravated by the lack of interactive platforms and insufficient disability welfare support. While there are hundreds of cancer support groups, parents struggling with a cerebral palsy child struggle to find cohesive communities.
Raising a child with cerebral palsy is a challenging journey. It’s a journey you must embark upon with inspiration, planning, and the ability to adapt to tumultuous changes. It’s wise to work closely with professional experts and rely on research to gain awareness.