Chapter 22 » 22.53

Parents and children

The gift of children

The birth of a baby to a couple is, if all goes well, a joyful experience. It is also a time of tremendous change for the parents, who will be taking on new roles and responsibilities. Not everyone will find the transition an easy one. The exclusive relationship between the couple has to change as together they develop new parenting skills. All parents hope for a ‘perfect’ child, so it can be a grave disappointment if the child should be handicapped in some way. It may not only result in their grieving for the future they will not now have but can also make them feel emotions such as guilt or anger, however irrational these feelings may seem to be. Similarly a miscarriage or stillbirth needs to be acknowledged and mourned for in the same way as any other death of a loved one. The birth of another child does not wipe out the sorrow for the child which was lost. And some couples will not have children at all. In a small minority of cases this will be by choice, but for others it may be a life-long affliction.

Loraine Brown, 1985

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