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Parents, their suffering and their hope

For a father and mother, the discovery of their child’s disability will always lead them to cross a great and long period of suffering. Life is turned upside down. Nothing will ever be the same again.

The discovery of disabilityimage_preview.jpg

Everywhere on earth, whatever the culture, language or religion, whenever a father and mother discover that their small child has a disability, they suffer greatly. The whole world falls apart. Happiness seems to be far beyond reach. They feel that perhaps now, happiness is not something that’s meant for them.

What hurts

The first shock for the parents is their disappointment in relation to the child that they dreamed of having. Sometimes they exhaust themselves looking for a reason or a cause. Very often they have feelings of revolt, shame, guilt.
They feel overtaken by the events and fatigue, they must fight to adjust, come what may, to a situation they is not of their choosing (even if they decided to welcome their child). This situation is imposed upon them day after day. Sometimes, their friends, close family or spouse take their distances. Of course the parents suffer if they can see that their child is suffering physically ; they also suffer from the idea that their child will be rejected everywhere he goes and that he will never be happy.

What makes fathers and mothers suffer is when they are made to understand that their child is surplus to requirements, that his life is worthless and that he has no place among men, and that finally they begin to believe this too !

Very often parents find themselves very alone and bereft of the help that they really need to recuperate, to build up their strength and to be able to take some rest. How others look at them, the attitudes of rejection, scorn, indifference, fear and lack of understanding of those around them just add yet more suffering to their wounded hearts. The path parents have to take is an internal struggle to receive what is given every day, and every night, and to face up to it with confidence. It is a long path and on some days courage really seems to be lacking!

elie et son papa.jpgOnce the initial shock is past, the first victory is being able to start looking at one’s child with tenderness and love, without seeing first and foremost his disability, what he is lacking, what his injury is. To welcome and love him as he is today means building with him a real pathway towards acceptation for the future. Yes, the only possibility is to continue moving forward step by step, ensuring at the same time the best equilibrium possible for the family – both for the couple as well as for each of the brothers and sisters.

Have you gone through this ordeal as parents?
Have you a brother or sister with a disability?
Do you know a family in this situation?
Do you wonder what you can do to help?
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