poignantly describes the inevitability of this next stage of grieving: "When
reality can no longer be denied, when angry energy does not change the childs
condition, and there are no more deals to be made, a sense of depression sets
in. Sadness grips the heart as reality must be dealt with." (Naseef, pp.
40-41) Parents may express doubts about the meaning of life and their own value
as human beings and parents. In their shame and grief, they may isolate themselves,
particularly from friends with typically-developing children.
Depression is a very individual reaction. Many parents experience a deep pain that is unimaginable to those who have never experienced the birth of a child with disabilities. Once again, Naseef points out that this reaction is often more intense when the childs diagnosis is made many years after birth. Having learned to love the "normal" child, the parent is devastated by the announcement of the childs disability.
Nurses working with depressed parents often cope with cancelled appointments or no-shows, unanswered telephone messages, broken commitments, and lack of follow-through. Its vitally important to remain accepting of the family during this stage and to continue periodic contact in person, by telephone, or even by mail. Support groups can be helpful for many families.