SPEAKING ABOUT SHAME, TO TRY TO GET BEYOND IT

Start by taking the time, now and frequently, to explore your own feelings of shame and embarrassment. Try to think about what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. You are not a bad parent just because you may feel ashamed and embarrassed about your child’s DSD. It is understandable that you might feel this way.

But being ashamed and embarrassed forever will not work. We have heard from many adults with DSDs and their parents that staying ashamed and embarrassed will cause your child and you too much stress and pain. So what do you do? Do not expect these feelings to magically go away now or forever. Instead, start by reading this book so you understand what is going on, so you know why you are not to blame, and so you see you are not alone. And then try to communicate with people you trust (doctors, family members, friends, support groups) so that you can set up a good system of honest support for yourself and your child. Developing loving, honest, accepting relationships will help you and your child through the challenges that you may face in your lives.

You will probably find, as many parents have, that as you move through the stages of acceptance, you sometimes find moments of real strength when you can help not only your child, but others in similar situations as well. And then, at other times, you will find that your strength has shrunk. It is okay to go through this cycle of strength and weakness. It is an understandable and acceptable part of being a parent of a child with a DSD.

What so many parents of children with DSDs have told us is that, over time, they accepted their situation and learned to cope. Many say they found a special kind of love and joy from sharing this life with their children. As it was for them, for you these ways of coping will not develop in one day; they develop over time. And there is no simple resolution to the emotions that come with having a child, including having a child with a DSD. Just know that, as there are days where you feel frustrated, confused, sad, or angry, there will also be days of intense joy and wonderful peace.