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

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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.

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Baby Brain Injury and Your Family

A baby brain injury can create many emotions, from denial and grief to sadness and frustration. The immediate effects on an infant’s health can be severe, and a lot of the consequences on a developing child’s physical, mental, and the cognitive state may not be known for a while.

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A family unit can experience many changes when a baby comes home. One with a brain injury can present even more challenges.

Family Roles and Infant Brain Injury

Mothers and fathers may take on different roles. It is often the mother who takes over caring for a chronically ill child while managing the household and holding expectations of husbands and other family members. They’re often concerned with the family’s emotional well-being. Some don’t reveal upsetting details to others, creating a burden that adds to the feelings of guilt, anger, frustration, and worry. Dealing with depression is not helped by a lack of opportunity to refresh and renew oneself.

Feelings of isolation hit mothers and fathers too. The emotions can be just as intense, and withdrawal is often the outcome, while a father tries to balance work, household responsibilities, and time with their child. For husbands and wives, tending to one another’s emotional needs is important rather than avoiding them.

Elk & Elk

The roles and responsibilities of everyone in the family aren’t only concerns between spouses. Siblings are often involved in the process. Even younger siblings may step up and take on more responsibilities. It is not unheard of for a younger brother or sister to help with a baby’s daily care or even assist them with activities such as homework as they get older.

The Child’s Needs Come First

Addressing what needs to be done to tend to the brain-injured child’s needs is always a priority. Hospital stays usually put all other family activities on hold, but even caring for the baby at home has challenges. Caretakers, health care workers, and therapists may be present at many times. Children who need occupational, speech, physical and other types of therapy can sometimes be treated at home. If not, then a schedule must be worked around appointments, including travel. Such therapists can often work around parents’ schedules, but many are booked, and it can be hard to set an appointment around the best times.

Managing the Family Unit

Despite the overwhelming concerns and emotions, there are ways to manage the situation. Communication enables everyone to discuss changes to routines and responsibilities; it should be open and also facilitated through regular meetings. Siblings should be informed on what is expected of them and have a chance to voice their concerns.

The family should also be aware of how local community resources can help. Support groups and organizations can involve everyone who can obtain helpful resources, share their stories, and learn from others. The idea is to receive assistance and guidance in getting through difficult stages, but families can do this together by being open and understanding, and by seeking support from community groups, support centers, churches, and educational systems.