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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.

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Coping with the Highs and Lows

As a parent, you are likely to feel that you could have done something to prevent your child’s brain injury.

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You may even have days where you feel as though his or her brain injury is punishment for something you did in the past. Guilt is often linked to the expectation that you should be able to protect your child from harm, but sometimes, things that we can’t control do happen.

Dealing with Guilt When Your Baby Has a Brain Injury

All parents feel guilty at some point – that’s completely normal. But, excessive guilt can destroy your self-esteem and get in the way of you being an effective advocate for your baby. What’s more, acting out of guilt isn’t going to make you feel less guilty. Rather, you may end up feeling resentful.

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Stop Feeling Guilty, and You’ll Cope Better with the Lows

Some parents may try to compensate for their guilt by doing more to make up for their baby’s birth injury. But, those parents become human “doings,” and forget to be human “beings.” Others deal with guilt by punishing themselves. Either way, this can result in a disconnect between what you think you ought to do and what you are doing.

To stop feeling laden with guilt, try a few of the below strategies that will help you cope with those low days:

  • Apologize when appropriate – guilt is only ever appropriate when you did something you regret. In this case, apologize. But, don’t apologize for things out of your control, like your baby’s brain injury. You are just a person without superpowers, and you’re doing the best you can.
  • Eliminate “should” – get rid of this word from your vocabulary and replace it with “I’ll try to” or “I would like to.” Challenge the idea that you “should” have kept your baby safe from an injury. Chances are, there was nothing you could have done to change the circumstances.
  • Look at what you’ve achieved – you’ve probably been doing plenty for your baby, be it treatment, buying medication, or everyday care. The next time you feel bad, give some equal time to acknowledging the good things you do.
  • Don’t let anyone push your guilt button – it’s normal for you to feel some guilt as a parent, but don’t let anyone else push your buttons. If you feel guilty about your baby’s injury, you are especially vulnerable. Remember that it’s okay to set healthy boundaries or even say no.
  • Create a new perspective – sometimes, guilt manifests because we have feelings we wish we didn’t. You may want to be loving and nurturing to your child, but you may have days when you feel utterly despondent and frustrated. These days can be trying, but find a new interpretation for your little one’s situation. For instance, instead of worrying about how to solve his or her problems, acknowledge that your child requires special attention. A new perspective can lead to new, and far less stressful ways of responding.

What Can You Do Right Now for Your Infant?

Finally, concentrate on what you can do at this moment for your infant. What new lessons can you and your family learn to help your child through life?