Dr. Stanley Goldstein - Author and Psychologist

A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Distressed Mothers

May 16, 2018

Tags: child, mother, ill child

Being a parent is never easy but it's particularly difficult when your child is ill.
Not with the commonplace cold or pinkeye which every child gets, but with a chronic
medical condition which requires continual monitoring and intervention.

A Norwegian study revealed the effect which having a child with a
congenital heart defect has on their mother for the first eighteen months of the child's
life. This is not a rare condition for nearly one percent of all newborns suffer from it
though, thanks to medical advances, nearly eighty five percent of these children
survive into adulthood.

What this study found was that the mothers of the infants with mild and
moderate congenital heart defect were not more anxious and depressed than one
would expect. But those whose children had severe congenital heart defect were.
Which makes sense since, when provided adequate medical care, congenital
heart disease is a treatable condition. Though, not to downplay its seriousness, it can
produce persisting growth, respiratory, and digestive problems beyond eighteen
months.

But, as the study noted, it said nothing about the stress on these childrens'
fathers.