A GT Study of Parent Adjustment after the Birth of a Child with a Facial Birthmark
Little is known about the experiences of parental adjustment following the birth of a child with a facial birthmark due to a scarcity of literature. The literature within the fields of cleft lip and palate (CL/P) and cranio-facial abnormality (CFA) suggest that there are many factors involved in the process of parental adjustment. The aim of this project was to explore how parents adjust following the birth of their child with a facial birthmark. In-depth interviews were conducted with 13 parents of children aged between birth and two years old. The data was analysed using a Constructivist Grounded Theory approach and a model of adjustment was co-constructed from the data. It appears that parents move through a process of adjustment, that begins with coping with the initial shock and uncertainty before moving on to understanding the birthmark and treatment options, making sense of the birthmark, developing coping strategies and adjusting to birthmark. This process is affected by the availability of resources and the extent of social challenges experienced by the parents. The findings of this study indicate that psychology should be routinely involved with the assessment of parental psycho-social well-being and psycho-social support should be promoted for these families. Furthermore, greater training about birthmarks for medical professionals is recommended.