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Birth for Mom with Mental Retardation


Women with mental retardation can get pregnant, either from rape or from a love relationship, and can give birth without undue fear or pain. In making decisions for one of these mothers, speak to her doctor and caseworker. Medications can make pregnancy, labor, and delivery more comfortable. Help the woman understand as much as she can about pregnancy and childbirth. If she can understand, involve her in any adoption arrangements. Have the woman meet the adoptive parents and possibly visit her baby shortly after the adoption is complete. You may involve the baby's father in adoption arrangements, too.


The woman and her lover may wish to marry and parent the child. Parents with mild mental retardation can parent well with supervision. Speak to the couple's caseworkers about the feasibility of marriage. This couple could learn parenting skills through your community mental health center. With early childhood education programs and child help groups, the couple's child can learn skills that they may have difficulty teaching.


Eudora had an IQ of seventy, and her husband Don had a learning disability. Together they raised a daughter who today teaches students with emotional needs and mental retardation. The daughter is about to enter graduate school, majoring in special education. A shy, quiet couple, Eudora and Don kept a loving, comfortable home. When neither could help their daughter with schoolwork, they told her to ask her teacher. As the girl grew older, she gradually assumed more of a parenting role to her own parents. Today she and Eudora are especially close.

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