Coping With a Special Needs Diagnosis at Birth

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Giving birth without any complications is already one of the most emotionally life-altering events any person can experience.
When that birth comes with news of the most devastating kind -- that this person you created, that you love, is going to have a life that will never be quite like yours -- the impact is overwhelming and potentially devastating.
But there are some steps you can take to move forward, which is exactly what your new child needs you to do.
Talk to a Doctor you Trust While there is ample evidence that the classic 'seven stages of grief' aren't actually a thing, it is perfectly real that the first reaction anyone has to traumatic news is denial.
That's why it's so important you immediately get in touch with the doctor you trust the most and ask for a second opinion and a Q&A session.
While the doctor is on the way, write down every question you can think of.
When s/he arrives, ask them absolutely everything you can think of, and take notes on the answers.
If they can't answer themselves, ask them to refer a specialist who can come visit you before you are released from the hospital.
The more faith you can put in your doctor, the more you can learn about what you should expect, and what you need to do in order to create the best life for your new child.
Experience the Emotions The emotions that can come with a special needs diagnosis can feel dangerous -- so much so that you probably want to push them away, pack them up, and not deal with them.
Unfortunately, emotions can only be destroyed by feeling them.
If you have to, pass the baby off to a nurse or a mate.
Then sit down and feel.
Close your eyes, and find the place in your body that the emotion presents itself.
It might be your heart, or your gut, or your throat, or even in your fingertips or on the tip of your tongue -- wherever it is, focus your attention in that place and embrace the sensation.
If you give yourself to the feeling, and you let it have you -- let it run rampant, and let it tell you everything it has to say -- then when you're finished, it will move.
Follow it, and keep forcing yourself to feel it until it passes entirely.
That doesn't mean it won't come back! It will -- and regularly -- but if you use this technique each time, it will come less and less often until it doesn't impinge on your life any longer.
Anger, sadness, frustration, and especially guilt should be 'felt away' until you can function without their pressure on you.
Build a Network No matter how rare your baby's diagnosis, there are people out there who are in or have gone through the same thing you're going through now.
One of the wonders of the modern age is that it's never difficult to reach out to, connect with, and learn from the people who can empathize with you.
Start your network with them, but don't forget to include your family, friends, trusted co-workers, and anyone else that will support you through the worst times.
The stronger your network, the greater your ability to feel the emotions you need to feel and function with rather than in spite of them, and the more credence you put in the diagnosis and the facts you can learn about your baby's condition, the better off you -- and your child -- will be.
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