Summary: Looking Ahead and Finding a Balance

Just as every brain injury is different, so is each family. Whether you are single, married, or have a partner, each family must find its own way to cope with what has happened and to move forward. Thinking, "If only I had..." cannot change what has happened. During the first weeks or months after your child's injury, much of your time and energy will go to visiting in the hospital and rehabilitation program. If you have other children, you may feel torn between wanting to be with them and wanting to be with your injured child. You also need some time for yourself, your partner, and close friends.

During this period when everything seems so uncertain, try to give yourself time and patience. You cannot be everywhere and do everything for everybody. Some things and people will just have to wait. Finding the balance between caring for yourself, your children, and your family takes time. You are all learning how this brain injury has affected your lives and how it will affect the future of your child and family. Be patient with yourself and each other.

TIP: Keep in touch with families you meet in the rehabilitation program, or find other families through the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire's Connections Program at http://www.bianh.org/connections.htm. Families who have had similar experiences are often the best sources of information and support for you, because they can truly understand what you are going through.

After a few weeks of driving and visiting every day, I made a choice to spend more time at home with the other kids. And I was exhausted. We worked out a schedule so someone visited every day.

TIP: Find out if you are eligible for time off from work under the federal Family Leave Act. This law allows families to take time off from work to care for family members, without losing their jobs. Ask your employer's human resource department if you qualify under the law. You can get a copy of this law from your local state representative or senator.

Your child may need to continue rehabilitation as an out-patient and may need special services in school. For more information about home-based and school-based rehabilitation, see Preparing for Your Child's Homecoming and Meeting Your Child's Educational Needs.