A blogger friend who writes at Chase and More shared an interesting article called "The Impact of Childhood Disability: The Parent's Struggle" written by Ken Moses, a psychologist who helps people with crisis, trauma and loss. His article describes the grief that many parents of a child with an unexpected disability experience after receiving the diagnosis. It reminded me of the kind doctor who spoke to us after receiving Matthew's diagnosis. He told us that it was ok to grieve and that it was part of allowing ourselves to let go of the child we thought we were going to have. It was a process that helped us move on to love our child as we would any other child we would have and build new dreams together.
Here is an excerpt from the article that accurately describes the grief that I experienced:
Parents attach to children through core-level dreams, fantasies, illusions, and projections into the future. Disability dashes these cherished dreams. The impairment, not the child, irreversibly spoils a parent's fundamental. heart-felt yearning. Disability shatters the dreams, fantasies, illusions, and projections into the future that parents generate as pan of their struggle to accomplish basic life missions. Parents of impaired children grieve for the loss of dreams that are key to the meaning of their existence, to their sense of being. Recovering from such a loss depends on one's ability to separate from the lost dream, and to generate new, more attainable, dreams.
As disability bluntly shatters the dreams, parents face a complicated, draining, challenging, frightening, and consuming task. They must raise the child they have, while letting go of the child they dreamed of. They must go on with their lives, cope with their child as he or she is now, let go of the lost dreams, and generate new dreams. To do all this, the parent must experience the process of grieving.
Have you read it? What do you think?