Oftentimes when parents learn their child has a disability, they go through emotional transitions similar to the stages of loss and grief described by Kubler-Ross.
1. Denial & Isolation-shutting out the reality or depth of the situation; this buffers the immediate shock. You don't want to believe the diagnosis is true.
2. Anger-once the denial wears off, the reality sets in and emotions run high. "Why did this happen to my child?" or "How can this be true?"
3. Bargaining-during this stage it is common to feel a sense of "I would do anything to make this all go away". If only things could go back to the way they were before the diagnosis.
4. Depression-life can suddenly seem overwhelming as if it's "me against the world". Feelings of loneliness or helplessness may develop.
5. Acceptance-while there may still be some apprehension about what the future holds, there becomes more of a need to be proactive rather than reactive; to prepare for what's next.
Whether we experience all or some of these stages, it is important for us to realize that it is okay to allow ourselves time to work through our emotions as we come to terms with our new reality. Having a strong support system is very important. Being able to talk openly about what we are feeling helps us to reach the stage of acceptance quicker and become more resilient in helping our children.