1 (440) 442-6677


Get Legal Help

Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

Get Your Free Guide Now
Get a Free Case Evaluation

Baby Brain Damage and Your Marriage

The stress of dealing with the struggles of a baby that sustained a brain injury at birth can create conflict within families, not to mention in a marriage. Psychological distress is a possibility in mothers who have children with chronic health issues. Depression can have many negative effects on one’s life, including their marriage, and mental and physical health.

Get A 100% Free CASE Evaluation     

Parents of an infant with brain damage are often busy dealing with medical treatments, waiting for answers and diagnoses, and coming to terms with an uncertain prognosis. If intensive medical attention is ongoing, they often neglect their own needs. Even post-hospitalization, ongoing anxiety, and uncertainty can be a major strain. Behavioral and emotional problems of children can be exacerbated by parents’ reactions. The constant stress can also affect parenting performance, further widening the rift between married couples.

Elk & Elk

A study by the Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America cited data based on 50 injured children; in 8 percent of cases, the parents had divorced, while 54 percent of cases involved significant changes in parental relationships. The irritability, persistent crying, difficulty feeding, and other effects of a birth brain injury can carry on well beyond infancy. Developmental delays and behavioral, learning, and academic issues can affect every stage of a child’s life following a birth brain injury. Many of these effects are unpredictable even if the first months don’t yield major impacts from the initial trauma.

Predicting Exact Impacts on Marriage

Parents expecting to have a normal baby go through a range of emotions when they learn there is brain damage. The effects can last a lifetime. Marriages are not destined to fail because a baby suffered a brain injury at birth. They do change, but couples often bond even more through the experience if there aren’t underlying problems that can make the strain intolerable.

Factors in Marriage Strain

The pressure on a marriage comes from more than just emotion. Couples are often exhausted when a baby is hospitalized for an extended period. Even when a baby goes home, the care and medication schedule is not conducive to normal sleep patterns. A lack of rest tests a person’s patience, not to mention their marriage.

A sense of isolation and lack of a support system can be straining, as can be a lack of communication. Spouses are often starved of the opportunity for private discussions in hospitals. Add to that the different ways people have of coping; differing opinions; and feelings of fear, guilt, anger, denial, resentment, and others and you have a recipe for a marriage conflict.

The financial strain of treatment and ongoing care for a baby with a brain injury is often high. In many marriages, finances are a source of tension, to begin with. But a mother’s bond with a child and the frustration, anger, worry, and depression, plus the sense their husband is not involved enough and is dealing with their emotional withdrawal, can cast a shadow over marriage. Support on many fronts, including the help of family and friends, and counseling, can address the numerous issues to focus on the family’s well-being.