Excerpt from the introduction:
I have had the privilege of supporting many families who are faced with the life-changing and shocking news that all is not well with their baby in utero, and for many years I have photocopied chapters of books, provided personal copies of books, purchased books for our local Sands group library to lend out, each time wishing for a resource that supports families in some small way. A resource that tells parents, families and whānau that this is a road that others have walked along, that acknowledges that it is a road of pain and heartache but also that there is hope.
Eventually I turned to what I know – the power of stories to help and heal, the knowledge that others have journeyed a similar path, the strength that can be sustained through this knowledge, the care and compassion of health professionals who support bereaved parents and families every day, and how sometimes it just helps to have something in your hand, something to read, to hold onto, to dip in and out of, to help with the highs and lows that lie ahead.
Over the many years that I have worked with and supported families who have faced an unexpected diagnosis in pregnancy, one theme that has always echoed through our discussions is the love felt for their babies, no matter the decision, no matter what the condition or the gestation or what lays ahead. For each family, without fail, love and aroha have been the foundation upon which decisions are made and paths chosen.
This is an important point because, ultimately, responding to an unexpected diagnosis in pregnancy is about parenting our precious babies. Each parent’s story in this book highlights this. Whether the decision is made to induce a pregnancy early or continue the pregnancy in the hope of the baby living until birth, and sometimes for much longer, the undercurrent is love.
I: Hearing from Health and Caring Professionals
1. ‘I’m sorry but there’s a problem with your baby on the scan’ – Dr Emma Parry
2. A Genetic Counsellor’s perspective on facing an unexpected diagnosis: loving Michael and letting go – Alison McEwen, PhD
3. When ‘Letting Go’ Can Be the Most Difficult Parenting Decision of All – Carolyn McIlraith
4. Experiencing a Fetal Anomaly: a Midwife’s Perspective – Jeannie Matthews
5. The smallest things do matter – Maari Gray
6. Who Will Be There For My Pepi and I? – Kahurangi Ross
II: Holding On: Continuing the Pregnancy
1. My Boy – Marietta
2. Precious Memories – Vanessa
3. Georgia, sweet Georgia – Judith Moorhead
4. Our Ben – Catherine Reid
5. For Love and Hope – Emily Davidson
6. The Joy of Loving Alfie – Jane
7. Raji – Claudia Astorga Ralph
III: Letting Go: Ending the Pregnancy
1. Sometimes Things Won’t be Okay – Margaret MacKay
2. Our Daughter – Anonymous
3. Letting Go of Lukas – Aimee
4. The Most Poignant Day of my Life – Lisa
5. Leah Amy – Nicole Richardson
6. The Boy with the Broken Heart – Alison & Steve
7. Hope Springs Eternal – Penny McLean