by Janet Morana and Kevin Burke, LSW
Blessed are the poor in spirit … for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Here’s a real life situation that is tailor made for pro abortion apologists:
- Arielle is a single mother of two young children and facing an unplanned pregnancy. In the early stages of her prenatal care the doctor told her “your baby has a serious medical condition and won’t survive.” Arielle’s baby girl had a chromosomal defect known as Trisomy 18, along with severe cardiac defects. The chances of her child surviving a full term pregnancy, let alone being born alive were slim. And if the baby was born alive, she would likely die before her first birthday.
In the majority of cases like this the unborn baby will be aborted. The mother (and father if involved) will face the complicated grief and trauma that are common after such procedures.
Medical Pressures to Abort
Arielle was a patient at a Pittsburgh-based hospital pregnancy clinic. Many of the medical professionals advised her to abort. When Arielle informed them that she was going to carry the child to term, she found that the clinic did not want to spend money on a life that was not expected to survive long after birth. Arielle was feeling more isolated and alone. Her hope was that clinic personnel would be more sensitive and attentive to her struggle as an expectant mother of a child with medical challenges.
Despite great pressure Arielle resisted. She drew upon a deepening of her faith and trust in God. She revealed a spiritual wisdom that far exceeded that of the highly educated medical professionals who were presenting abortion as the only reasonable solution to her problem pregnancy.
Arielle reflects on their temptations to abort:
“Do you know how the devil makes bad things look good?”
Arielle discerned that if her daughter were to die, then the death of her baby should be natural, not based on her decision…but on God’s timing. Arielle made the brave choice to carry her baby girl to term. When she shared the news of her baby’s poor prognosis with her 9 year-old daughter and 8 year-old son, their response, like their mother’s revealed an advanced level of trust in God’s providence:
“We will love her as long as she’s with us,” the children told their mother.
Even with her strong faith and supportive children, Arielle was still alone with a very challenging diagnosis, and an uncertain future.
Thankfully the faithfulness of Arielle and her family was rewarded when a representative from Northside Christian Community Health Center told her about The Promise.
The Promise is a Pittsburgh based prolife program of Catholic Palliative Services committed to walking alongside families with a poor prognosis for their unborn and newly born infants. They help women like Ariel to face their journey with hope and optimism.
Arielle came to The Promise overwhelmed and not aware of her options and the best way to proceed. The Promise team of Lori Heil and doula, Brandy Rawls offered the support and guidance to help Arielle discern the best options for her care:
“Brandy knew questions that I didn’t even think of,” Arielle stated.
Advocates for Life
One of the most important resources The Promise provides is advocacy for the mother and child. Parents face an uphill battle in a medical climate that can be hostile to those that choose life-affirming alternatives when facing a fetal disability. Arielle was being denied appointments with neonatologists and other specialists. She needed a knowledgeable advocate for herself and her unborn baby. Here’s where a resource like The Promise is so important.
Promise representatives attended Arielle’s clinic appointments and secured the care typical for a pregnant woman. “Lori and Brandy helped to put things into perspective that were too touchy for others to handle,” Arielle shared.
When she chose not to terminate her pregnancy, clinic personnel were encouraging Arielle to place the baby in a hospital setting after her birth. Knowing that she had a team of people focusing on a live birth and possible discharge to home alleviated many of the unknowns for Arielle. Through The Promise, Arielle’s baby would have the opportunity to be at home with family, with medical care provided by Catholic Hospice.
A Brief Life…an Eternal Destiny
Alonna Angel quietly entered this world on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 3:27 PM weighing four pounds, two ounces and measuring 17 ½ inches long. Approximately twenty minutes later, she took her final breath on this earth while lovingly cradled in the arms of her mother.
Everything happens for a reason. How often we have heard that phrase as a condolence statement in reaction to a difficult time in our lives. Although it’s meant to be supportive, most often it can also evoke great sadness and heartache. But for those who maintain a strong and faithful relationship with God…like Arielle and her family…everything happens for His reason.
Although the emotional healing will take time, a memorial service is being planned to recognize Alonna Angel’s short life on this earth and the great love that her mother and siblings hold for her. Arielle’s hope is that her experience with this pregnancy will get her to a place where she can help others going through the similar situations. The Promise will follow Arielle and her two surviving children for 13 months in a specialized bereavement program.
Every life is a miracle, whether long or short, it is worthy and matters. Arielle demonstrated incredible faith and strength to give her daughter the gift of life.
Support services provided through The Promise are made possible by community contributions and foundation grant support. If you would like more information on the program or to contribute, call 1.866.933.6221.