No mother prepares for a disaster. No mother imagines that she will give birth to a child with disabilities. A special needs child means that a mother has to sacrifice a lot more. How do you, then, cope with the fact that your child is disabled? How do you deal with the anger and move on to acceptance? Mwereti Kanjo seeks the answers.
Coming to terms with a childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disability is one of the hardest things a parent ever has to do. No mother in the world ever prepares herself for such. Disability ranges from physical and psychological to intellectual.
It is without question that from the first time that you hear about your childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s condition, there will be a lot of emotions involved such as fear, self-blame and denial. With help, you might eventually have determination to make the life of your child the best that you could give them.
But getting to determination takes a lot of work and some mothers never actually get to that part. This is evidenced by the number of children that get dumped for their disabilities. So, how does a mother accept, understand and deal with the condition?
Gynaecologist Joyce Munthali, who is present at numerous births and might have to relay the bad news, says hearing that your newborn baby has a disability is never easy. Because a lot of people in Malawi believe in the supernatural, most Malawian mothers are quick to think that they have been bewitched by a relative or a friend who never wished them well. However, this is usually not the case because child disabilities come about for various reasons.
According to Munthali, the most important thing in the process of dealing with this is to seek counselling from someone who best understands the condition of your child. She says it is vital you attend counselling as a couple so that you best understand your child and inch closer to accepting the situation. Munthali also notes that it is much easier for mothers who have such a history in their family.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Even educated mothers have a lot of questions. Some of them will turn to prayer for comfort and answers while others will go to witch doctors. People react differently,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Munthali.
Agreeing with Munthali is Dawn Kwanjana, special needs teacher at Patsogolo Memorial School, who points out that the best road to acceptance, is having the mother understand her childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disability. He says knowledge is power and in some cases parents are afraid of conditions that can be easily dealt with.Ã‚Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“There are different types of disabilities that require different kinds of care. Because of this, one must go to a specialist to know more. For instance, autism which requires a clinical psychologist. It deals with behavioural issues. There are other disabilities where the child has to be taught self-care skills. Let them do what they want so that you can learn from their actions what they are trying to say. Do not treat them like they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know anything, they have feelings and express them in different ways, pay attention,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Kwanjana.
As has been outlined, knowledge is power. Understanding something makes life easier. Children are a precious gift from God, so rare to others. Some would anything just to have a child to love and cherish.Ã‚Â So, whatever stand you take, remember this.