by Michelle Herberger
Pregnancy is often a time filled with hope and expectation. The new life growing in the womb is a sign that life continues and there is promise for the future. It is no wonder that couples look forward to their ultrasounds where they get a glimpse of their growing miracle.
However, for some, that ultrasound is the beginning of a devastating loss, one for which they were ill-prepared and one where support seems limited. Adding to the shock and pain of adverse fetal diagnoses is the frequent recommendation to terminate the pregnancy.
Organizations such as Be Not Afraid offer concrete help and support to couples who learn their unborn child has little to no chance of surviving outside the womb. Couples can make a birth plan, get support from others who have experienced a similar pregnancy, and plan ways to create memories of their baby immediately following the birth. There is also support following the death of the baby.
Although no amount of support can take away the pain of this tragic loss, there is a way to embrace and celebrate the gift of your child for the brief time you have him or her with you. For more information about resources available to you, in addition to the support you may receive in your parish, please contact the Family Ministries Office for accompaniment in these very difficult situations.