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Continuing a pregnancy with a life limiting condition 

Continuing a pregnancy with a life limiting condition  

In the UK we have fantastic neonatal care provision, with a high standard of palliative care on offer for families of children born with life limiting conditions. This means pain and distressing symptoms can be managed successfully and parents can feel reassured that their children are in safe hands. For the family there can be many social and emotional benefits. Carrying the pregnancy to term can help families to process and grieve their loss. It also can provide some families with the opportunity to meet their child, to bond and form a relationship with them, providing the family with the opportunity to make memories, that although deeply sad, are often precious and treasured for a lifetime.

 

Sadly there are also some occasions where a pregnancy does not make it to full term and ends in miscarriage or the death of the fetus (unborn baby). Organisations like the Miscarriage Association and Sands are equipped to support families facing bereavement.

Natalia's Story 

I found it amazing to meet my sibling, Natalia. It was an extremely emotional experience as we had no idea how long we would get to spend with her. However, it united our family and our wider family in a way which nothing else ever has. Both my brother and I travelled back from university and my Aunts, Uncles and Grandma were all there to be able to share the time with us. My mum wanted to have her baptised in the traditional Catholic way, so the Priest from her parish came to do that which was wonderful. I think seeing my mum having to process it was one of the hardest things for me, as she and Natalia had been on the journey the whole time together. There was such a maternal instinct that I could see meant she found it hard to say goodbye even after Natalia had passed.

 

I decided to document the whole experience in the form of a video as a gift for my parents to keep, which was an extremely emotional experience for me to put together afterwards. However, I believe this has been able to be a real tool for me and the rest of my family to be able to grieve together. We also decided to post the video on Youtube to be able to help other families through the process and to show them that the experience is an extremely valuable one and one we are so glad we went through.