After a devastating prenatal diagnosis, it's too often assumed that a mother will automatically terminate. If you have determined to carry your unborn baby to term despite his or her fatal condition, this website was designed for you. Physicians and professionals are often unsure what to do when the mother carries to term, and the grief books always assume your baby's death took you by surprise. Some might tell you that the course you've chosen is futile, since the outcome is the same, but it's possible to make four or five months into a lifetime of memories. It's possible to bond, to care more than you ever imagined, to experience unconditional love in its truest form, and to allow your baby's life to transform you in ways you hadn't imagined. Looking back, parents often treasure this time as all they able to spend with their babies. I have never spoken to a mother who regretted going to term.
I'm very, very sorry that anyone would have a need to come here.
Other mothers who have lived through that twilight time are going to be your best resource through the weeks ahead. While many tips come from my personal experience, this site actively solicits tips from other mothers and fathers who have "been there" and want to help others avoid the pitfalls and make the most of their brief time with their babies.
There are other sites which provide support while carrying to term, but those provide mostly psychological or inspirational support. By all means, visit those too! I want these pages to deal as practically as possible with the day-to-day issues. If you notice that some topics are not addressed, let me know. If you have information useful to other parents, contribute it. This site will work best if as many parents participate as possible.
Now that you're here...
There is nothing scary on this site, but some of it may be hard to take at first, especially if your diagnosis is recent. If so, please return here in a couple of weeks once the initial pain has eased a little bit. I found healing in the details, and I know others have as well. Because so many of my friends investigated web sites for me after my daughter's diagnosis, I am including a special section if you are investigating for a friend. There is a Hall of Fame for doctors who valued our babies no less than any other. I've included a list of links to resources I found helpful, a list of books, sample birth plans, and for those who would like to read about my family's experience with neonatal loss, Emily Rose's story.
What kinds of practical issues are covered?
Anything I could come up with. Everything from how to talk to your friends and family to how to bond with your baby, to what to do at the time of the birth, how to plan the funeral or memorial service, how to deal with The Clueless (there are a lot of them), the impact of your baby's life on your religious outlook, and how to memorialize your baby afterward. Among other things.
Everything here is offered as a suggestion.
There are no right and wrong ways to love your baby. While the issues I address are issues most parents will face under these circumstances, the answers I reached are by no means the only ones. As you read, take for yourself any ideas which resonate and discard any you don't like. There is no if-clause to our parenthood: "I will love you if you are perfect." The first thing a parent can do is love his or her child. In some cases, it's the only thing we can do, and so we love them all the harder.
And now, without further preamble, I invite you inside...
Feedback is more than welcome. Please email me to pass along other tips, to tell me where I goofed, and especially if you're looking for a listener in time of crisis. If you want to email other mothers who are currently carrying to term, please let me know. I will not share anyone's email address without explicit permission.
MANY thanks to Diinzumo, without whom this web page would still exist only in my fantasies. She saved me from making several fatal mistakes, and I'm very grateful. The framed b&w photo of Emily Rose was a gift from Tammy. The image in my banner came from Artistry of Bekki: