If Your Baby Has Special Needs
If your baby was born with physical or mental challenges, it's normal to feel a range of emotions like sadness, anger, guilt, and resentment. If you knew of your baby's condition before he was born, you may have had some time to process the knowledge and line up support. But if you found out at or after birth, you may be reeling with shock and anguish.
Your Friends and Family
Not being sure whether to offer sympathy or congratulations, some friends — and even hospital staff — may say nothing at all, which can leave you feeling abandoned and alone. Don't be surprised if you get as many messages of sympathy as you do of congratulations. It can be difficult when people don't know what to say to you and aren't sure if they should acknowledge your baby's birth with congratulations. If they ask you what you need, be specific: do you need someone to listen to you vent, a person to feed and water your dog while you're in the hospital, or somebody to just offer congratulations and honor your role as a mother? When people aren't sure what to do, give them some concrete ways they can help you.
Your Grief Process
It's a good idea to talk to a grief counselor when you're dealing with the knowledge that your baby is mentally or physically handicapped. In order for you to accept the child you have, you must first mourn the loss of the child you thought you'd have. Expect to go through the stages of mourning. As hard as it may seem to believe, things will get better with time.
Information and Resources
If your baby has a life-threatening or severe handicap, you're going to need a lot of support not just from your loved ones, but also from experts who can treat her. Knowledge is power; stay informed about your baby's condition, and make sure any literature you read has been published recently, since treatments and prognoses can change from year to year. You may find that your child's condition is not as devastating as you would have thought from reading literature published five or ten years ago.