Meeting Friends and Family for the First Time
Much anticipation and excitement awaits the introduction of a newborn baby to one’s family and friends. Your child’s condition will not change the love and support that will come from family members and friends who really care about you and, now, your child.
When first introducing your child to friends and family it is important to remember that you can control the amount and type of information you provide about your child’s condition. The extent and depth of detail you offer depends on the type of relationship you have with that particular person. It’s also important to remember that the message about your child that you share with other people will ultimately be the message your child shares with people about himself as he or she matures. It is often helpful to think through exactly what you want to say so that you are prepared with some ‘set answers’ to the most common questions.
Having a child who looks different can change the way people, including family members, interact with you. It usually increases the level of support and empathy you receive. It can, sometimes, give people license to make comments they would not consider making to another family member. The important thing to remember that you can control the amount of information you share and your response to such comments.
It might be helpful to carefully explain your child’s condition, at your comfort level, to the family member or friend before he or she meets the child. Providing a photo beforehand is another way to prepare everyone for a more relaxed and meaningful meeting.