The mixed feelings at the time of the initial impact

The feelings that parents experience have been likened to those of grief occurring with a sudden loss. It is a useful comparison as there is a loss. Every expectant parent day-dreams about the child and the arrival of a sick or damaged baby destroys many of those dreams. Commonly the first stage is shock or a numb disbelief. The next phase is often denial, 'This cannot be happening to me', followed by anger, which may be directed against the other parent, the doctor, or God. The last two phases are constructive active adaptation, which might involve learning about the condition or joining a parents association, leading on to resolution. Unfortunately, not everyone goes through all these stages and certainly not at the same rate. The mother might still be feeling as if she is shell shocked while the father is making contact with a particular society or support group on the Internet.

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