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Mended Little HeartGuide

Introduction Contents SECTION Guilt Many parents, especially mothers, feel like they did something wrong to cause their child’s CHD. These feelings of guilt are real, and you should acknowledge them, but then let them go. There is no known cause for CHD. There are factors that may make it more likely for you to have a child with CHD, but that doesn’t mean you caused your child’s heart problem or that you should feel guilty. You might hear about things that mothers can do to help reduce the likelihood of having a child with CHD, and while this is good information for you in the future and for others who may be thinking about having a child, it does not mean that you did anything to cause your child’s CHD. There are plenty of moms and dads who do everything right — eating healthy foods, exercising, taking prenatal vitamins, etc. — and still have a child with CHD. Conversely, there are moms and dads who do not do these things but still have healthy children without CHD. You do not know that anything you did or did not do directly caused your child’s condition, so let the guilt go. If your child senses that you feel guilty, your son or daughter will believe that there is something wrong with him or her. HELPFUL TIPS FOR LETTING GO OF GUILT Talk to someone you trust. Have a conversation about your feelings of guilt with someone who won’t judge you. If you know another parent of a child with a birth defect who is doing well, try talking with him or her. It’s likely he or she has worked through the same feelings you’re experiencing now. About My Child’s Heart Table of Do NOT listen to anyone who blames you for your child’s CHD. Unfortunately, sometimes even well-meaning people place blame for a child’s CHD on a parent. Again, there is no known cause of CHD; therefore it is not possible for someone to say that anything you did caused your child’s heart problem. Treat yourself kindly. Even if you had actually caused your child’s CHD (and there is no evidence that you did!), feeling guilty about it would not help you or your child. Every time you start to feel guilty or to engage in negative self-talk, focus on something positive and beautiful about your child instead. Look at your son or daughter as a miracle that you played a part in creating — CHD and all. Treating yourself with kindness and loving yourself will help your child feel more positive about growing up with CHD. Go To 18


Mended Little HeartGuide
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