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SELF – This Mom is Carrying her Terminally Ill Child to Term to Save Lives

This mom is carrying her terminally ill child to term, and the bravery of this family is nothing short of extraordinary.
Their daughter will be born in a few short months and is not expected to survive more than a few days due to a rare and fatal condition in which she does not have a large part of her brain. The mom is carrying the baby to term in large part to be able to donate her organs. They are making sure their daughter, whom they have named Eva, will leave a profound legacy to other children and families.

Research shows we can tolerate suffering better when it means something, and we can find a purpose we believe in. Research also shows that helping others drives down feelings of depression and anxiety. It may just be that staying grounded the other lives Eva will save through her organ donation will help her parents come to terms with her tragic loss.

Attaching to the good they will do, and the meaning this will have, appears to be bringing them “freedom” and peace.
For the rest of us, we stand by, awed by their altruism.
This is a great piece on how parents can face perinatal trauma and illness with which I was pleased to help. To read the full article for SELF, click HERE.

Support from friends and family members is crucial during this time, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., tells SELF, but a couple ultimately has to decide how open they want to be about their baby’s diagnosis. Some, like the Youngs, may find comfort in sharing it on Facebook, while others may simply need to find support from loved ones that they know won’t judge them.

Clark says it’s important for families to recognize that the days and weeks following delivery and a child’s death will be “brutal.” “This is where the support of loving family and friends, self-care (sleep, nutrition, getting outside), and meaning will be most needed,” she says. While many people wonder if they’re grieving in the “right” way, Baker says there is no proper way to cope with a loss, as long as you’re not harming yourself. “It is a natural process that all of us experience in our own way,” she says.

Clark says it takes time to move on, but it is possible. “You will move through this,” she says. “It doesn’t mean you’re crazy if this is really hard. It means you loved.”

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD

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