Sometimes we see it coming and at other times, we’re shocked and surprised. But one thing’s for sure– when the past visits the present in the form of birth disorders, it takes the whole family to make it through.
I find genetics fascinating. Out of all of my children, only one has brown eyes. All of them raced ahead to their full height by 8th grade and all were blond at one point. Then their hair color changed– some not until their 20s. I have a laundry list of allergies. One of my daughters has the exact same ones. Family is family. That’s a fact.
However, I was not prepared when I gave birth to a son with a cleft lip and palate. Twelve months later, his brother was born. Same birth defect but to a different severity.
Our family trees have “leaves” that sprout and grow in the sunshine. Yet, also those that seem stunted and of another hue. But when all are accounted for, they make the most lovely mosaic. There are times when they call for “all hands on deck!”
First, when faced with a “mishap” on the family tree I believe we should arm ourselves with knowledge and compassion. Anyone that will help care for the family member must gather all the information they can to attend to their particular needs. And they must approach the subject and the loved one with compassion.
Some birth disorders are physical and others mental or emotional. If we’ve dealt with it before we can help train the ones seeing it for the first time, up close and personal.
And I suggest that the closest circle of caregivers and family members obtain counseling to help cope with the extra load. And we can support each other with kindness.
Next, new commitment may be necessary. It’s a sad truth that sometimes marriages are forsaken when a child brings overwhelming needs into the home. And extended family may need to realign to support with added vigor.