chapter  32
Postnatal complications: congenital abnormalities and critical conditions in infancy
ByJoan Raphael-Leff
Pages 15

Professional support during the baby's infancy is related to positive bonding and increased competence in parents of high-risk and atypical babies. With improved antenatal care, screening and planning pregnancies, parents expect their chosen babies to be normal. Yet, paradoxically, advances in technology have also increased the likelihood of sustaining life and increasing life-expectancy in babies who are neurologically impaired or have a significant congenital abnormality. M. Klaus and J. Kennell have described a regular pattern of sequence in parental adjustment to the news of abnormality, although the duration and intensity of each stage varies according to individual reactions. Following an immediate or belated diagnosis of abnormality in their baby, what parents need most of all at this early point is the knowledge that it is safe to express all their feelings of disappointment, shame and grief without being accused of rejecting the baby or failing as parents.