Ending a pregnancy because of fetal anomaly can be a very isolating experience. The associated feelings can be complicated and sometimes overwhelming. It can be helpful to know your feelings are normal after such a traumatic experience. You may recognise some of the feelings described by these bereaved parents (all names have been changed):
‘I will never forget the complete heartbreak of it all. We were faced not only with the fact that our baby was going to die, but also that we had to play a part in deciding the timing of his death.’
‘It was agony, but we decided we would have to let our baby go as we are both in our forties and not having any family around us we felt it would be just too much for us to bring up a child with serious disability – and we had our other children to think of. We worried about who would look after our child after we were gone.’
‘It was the most horrendous thing we have ever been through. The level of grief and emotional pain was frightening. But even after all this, ultimately we were grateful that we had the choice to end the pregnancy. We felt and still feel that we made the right decision for us, but also, importantly, for her.’
‘I have to say that the staff at our hospital were great. We were treated with sensitivity and sympathy throughout. But when I got home – with no baby – I was hit by a huge wave of grief. It really floored me and l know my partner was really worried about me. The ARC helpline was a lifeline then. I don’t know how they put up with my endless sobbing, but they did.’
‘After my termination for medical reasons last year I turned to ARC and was welcomed with open arms. At a time of despair you brought understanding, comfort and hope. You never judged me and made me realise I was not alone. When I reached those dark places you were the only ones I could count on.’
ARC has a number of support services for parents after a termination for fetal anomaly. Please use us – don’t feel you have to cope alone.