As the parent of adult children, the announcement of an upcoming grandchild is often a time for excitement, especially if this will be your first grandchild. While most families get to welcome healthy new babies into their household, a small portion of expectant parents and their families will wind up receiving devastating news late in the pregnancy or after the birth of their child.
Discovering that your grandchild has special needs or serious medical conditions can feel like a devastating blow. Medical issues in an infant will likely have lasting consequences for everyone in your extended family, including you as a grandparent.
Your children may rely on you for childcare or other support
Regardless of your current situation in life, your new family member with special needs will undoubtedly require support.
Depending on your current circumstances, support might include babysitting another child in the family, cooking or cleaning so the family can focus on the needs of the new baby, or even offering financial support because one of the two parents likely can’t return to work.
A special needs grandchild could affect your retirement plans
You may have always intended to move in with one of your children after retirement in order to save money and possibly to spend time with your grandkids. Unfortunately, your children may no longer be capable of providing you with practical, financial and medical support as you age. A child with special needs could mean that there is no space in a household budget or schedule for caring for an older adult as well.
You may have to encourage your child to take action
It is common for people to feel overwhelmed after learning that their child has special needs. Particularly if your grandchild’s medical condition is the result of birth injuries, your child and their spouse may be in a position where they can seek compensation to reduce the long-term impact of the injury on the family.
They may need encouragement and support to pursue those rights, as feeling overwhelmed and disempowered are common emotional responses to a difficult and uncontrollable situation. Supporting and encouraging your children to get the help they need now could drastically improve the family circumstances in the long-term.