Advice for Parents

If you have given birth to a child with a limb deficiency, you know the shock you have experienced. You have had to deal with some very painful feelings - depression, anxiety, loneliness and, perhaps, feelings of guilt and anger as well. You may have blamed yourself, wondering if something you did could have created your child’s problem. The truth is, however, that neither medicine nor science yet understands how or why a limb stops developing normally. So, if you blame yourself, you must try to see that there was actually nothing you could have done to control the growth of your child’s limbs. Neither should you feel guilty if you felt angry when your child was born with a limb-deficiency. You were gravely disappointed, or you may have felt some ‘drawing away’ or had difficulty looking at the limb. These, too, are normal human reactions. Try to accept your feelings, whatever they are, and to not blame yourself. If you continue to blame yourself, or cannot accept your mixed feelings, consider seeking professional help. You deserve, and you need, your peace of mind for your own happiness as well as for your child’s.

The loss of limb through accident is a tremendous shock. Unless your child is very young, they will feel the same emotions as adult amputees - grief, depression and anger. In addition, children often feel guilt for bringing pain and problems to their parents. Your child will need lots of reassurance, love and help. You, also, will be dealing with your own feelings of guilt, anger and depression. Try to accept your feelings. You may also wish to seek counselling from a trained person.

Whether your child was born with a congenital deficiency or has had an amputation, they need your love and acceptance. You must also accept the artificial limb. If parents do not like their child’s prosthesis, they will sense this and may refuse to wear it.

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