This unit highlights the human approach that we embrace at Birth and Beyond and integrates a psychological dimension into our institution through the support of newborns, children, their families and our team of healthcare professionals.
Needless to say, a personal and often sensitive story accompanies our patients at Birth and Beyond.
Every child is born with not only a physical dependency but a psychological reliance on his environment and his caretakers as well. Studies show how an early and/or sudden mother-baby separation could affect the child, sometimes cause mental regression and severe symptoms that could progressively develop due to this emotional deprivation.
This abandoned child, whose birth was somehow invalidated, will have to be loved, touched, spoken to and held. He will have to live through the eyes and hearts of his caretakers so he can acquire a sense of existence.
Premature born babies
More and more studies reveal the risk of psychological repercussions on preterm babies, such as anxiety disorders, behavior disorders and learning difficulties, pointing out once again the importance of psychological support during this critical period.
This child who embarked on life while flirting with death has to establish a bond between our world and his to evolve. We need to speak to him, tell him his story and make him listen to a voice that is warmer than the noises of the machines to help him lean towards life by wanting it and wishing it for him.
As for the parents of these children, working on the mother-child couple is essential: parenthood is not an innate state. In fact, motherhood is a process that evolves during pregnancy (sometimes earlier). To assist the mother during this premature separation, it is important to respect her pace and let her create a bond with her baby however and whenever she is ready... Help her find her words, evacuate or acknowledge feelings of fear, anguish or anger and sometimes a possible feeling of guilt for not being able to carry the baby longer or take him or her home.
A hospitalization is never easy, especially when it comes to a child. It is necessary to listen to the child, prepare him in words that are adapted to his age and maturity, help him express his pain when he can’t elaborate his feelings.
Art therapy and other artistic activities could be introduced to help the child dream, hope, ease if possible his pain and his anxiety, and have a little control over what is happening.
Parents of hospitalized children could also benefit from a psychological support program so they maintain a drive force for life and not surrender to fear, sadness…
Health care team
Finally, and to assist our healthcare professionals who are reminded everyday about the challenges of the human condition, submerged with complex feelings while having to work objectively and professionally, psychological care might lighten the weight of the medical environment, whether through a discussion group or a more personalized assistance. Every person carries a personal story that could emerge in such work conditions and that he/she might want to share.