It can be a fear filled moment for any mother to find out that the baby she is carrying may have a disability. If you’re reading this, you may be in that exact situation. There may be many people who suggest, or even pressure you to get an abortion. To those who aren’t personally affected by your circumstances, ending your pregnancy may seem like a quick fix. First, though, you need to know that you aren’t alone and that there are many resources and many reasons for hope.
Reasons for Hope
You can do this! A diagnosis is not the end of the road for you or for your baby. There are resources and support to help women with prenatal diagnoses through pregnancy and through all the future decisions that you’ll make regarding your baby.
Yes, your newborn may never get to ______ (finish the sentence as applicable). Grieve the dreams that have been lost. You must also purposefully choose to focus your attention and energy on what he or she can do. Focus on attainable goals. Focus on dreams for this new family member. It may be more than you ever think possible right now. This is the “half full” part.
In Mississippi there are a number of organizations that are organized to support special needs children and their families. These programs offered by these organizations are either free of charge or flexible on cost. You can check them out here: Joni and Friends – The Mustard Seed – Little Lighthouse. These are just a few of many!
The Disabled Child Living at Home (DCLH) is a special eligibility category that allows certain children with long-term disabilities or complex medical needs disabled children to obtain Mississippi Medicaid eligibility.
Parent to Parent USA is a group that matches each parent with a fellow parent who has a child with the same special healthcare need, disability or mental health concern, allowing each parent or family to have a contact for sharing information, receiving support and creating new friendships. Parent to Parent USA has local groups in almost all states and is great for connecting families with each other for emotional support.
On the one hand, we want you to be as prepared as possible so you can negotiate the challenges that may await you. On the other hand, research shows that your prenatal diagnosis might not always be the truth.
In April, The FDA issued a safety communication to patients and health care providers about the risk of false results from prenatal blood tests that look for fetal genetic abnormalities. According to a New York Times investigation, these tests “have gone from laboratory experiments to an industry that serves more than a third of the pregnant women in America.” Worse still, the newspaper found that noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) for five rare genetic conditions can return false positive results 80% to 93% of the time.
The most important thing to remember in this situation is that you are not alone. There are so many other mothers facing the same thing. There are so many people that want to surround you with the support and care you need.
As always, the Cline Center is here to walk alongside you, offering support, hope, and resources throughout your journey.
You are not alone.