October 2, 2018 // Diocese

Support available for poor prenatal diagnoses

MISHAWAKA — Miriam’s Blessing is a diocesan ministry designed to provide comprehensive support to parents who receive a difficult prenatal diagnosis. It may be the detection of a chronic condition like Down syndrome, spina bifida or cystic fibrosis, or a life-threatening disorder like anencephaly, Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18. With little or no information or resources available that support the option of carrying the baby to term, many of these pregnancies end in abortion. When offered a service of comprehensive support, however, the majority of parents choose to carry to term and to cherish the child and the time they have been given.

Miriam’s Blessing is based on the national program Be Not Afraid (www.benotafraid.net), which utilizes a peer ministry model of support and presence. Peer ministers provide empathetic emotional and spiritual support based on their own experience of having carried to term after a poor prenatal diagnosis, or having experienced a perinatal loss such as miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant loss. Support extends through three distinct phases: the pregnancy, the birth and the postpartum period. Families are typically followed for one year following the birth, no matter the outcome.

Peer ministers are trained and work in teams, and their outreach is informed by a pastoral care manual. To expectant parents, peer ministers offer unique insight and sensitivity regarding such difficult issues as mourning the loss of the anticipated baby, maintaining hope when a prognosis is poor, the preparation of a birth plan, and if necessary, the perinatal bereavement process. Peer ministers provide concrete, compassionate support before, during and after birth, so that no family has to face the unique challenges posed by a difficult prenatal diagnosis alone.

Miriam’s Blessing affirms the sanctity of every human life from the moment of conception and supports families of any faith in their mission to be “the sanctuary of life.”

For more information about Miriam’s Blessing, visit www.diocesefwsb.org/miriamsblessing or contact one of the diocesan coordinators.

South Bend area: Lisa Everett
Email: [email protected]
Office phone: 574-234-0687

Fort Wayne area: Allison Sturm
Email: [email protected]
Office phone: 260-422-4611

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