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Parents have a confusing variety of emotional reactions to the stress of a high-risk birth. Terror, grief, impotence, and anger are common feelings for these parents. Some of these reactions bring families closer together; at other times these emotions pull spouses apart. It is essential to recognize that even though these emotions are very troubling, they are normal experiences during a life-and-death crisis. Instead of attempting to escape these feelings, the parents' recovery from the stress of a high-risk birth is dependent upon how well they accept their feelings and the changes in their lives.
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Michael T. Hynan, Ph.D.
Michael T. Hynan, Ph.D. is an associate professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201. He is the author of The Pain of Premature Parents: A Psychological Guide for Coping, 1987, University Press of America.