It’s perfectly understandable to want perfectly formed children. Often 10 fingers and 10 toes is the baseline requirement uttered by many expectant parents, and so it follows that not meeting this requirement is almost too much to bear in the initial hours and days following the birth of a child with limb differences. It can be a big shock and very distressing when a baby is born with a hand or arm anomaly. As a new parent, you may be conscious of your baby’s different limb(s), how other people may look at your child and the questions asked. This is very normal and it is important to address these feelings in order to be able to develop a positive attitude to your child’s differences and over time, help your child feel equally positive and confident.
Every family reports a different experience and many tell us that they don’t have a problem with their babies limb difference. However, other families have told us that they went through a whirlwind of emotions, the most prolific of which were shock, sorrow and then shame and anger that the system has let them down. Many limb differences are not pick up at the scans and some found ill-worded optimism or other reactions from health staff to be deeply unhelpful.
Most importantly, the road to acceptance is vital. Most parents get to a point when shock or anger subsides and through starting to accept things, optimism begins to take over and there is a change from denial to positive acceptance of being blessed with the child you have.
It is Reach’s goal that all parents faced with this situation are immediately referred to us and we can support all from the earliest stage, which we do through our helpline, resources and putting you in touch with other families.
We work to raise our profile with midwives, obstetrician, paediatricians, health visitors to make the journey for our families smoother.