Miriam's Blessing is a new ministry whose purpose is to provide comprehensive support to parents who receive a poor prenatal diagnosis. Support for parents carrying to term varies through three distinct phases: the pregnancy, the birth and the postpartum period. The focus of support changes as the pregnancy progresses and as parents move from diagnosis to anticipation of the birth and whatever lies beyond. Peer ministers and volunteers are screened and trained. They work in teams and their outreach is informed by a pastoral care manual.To expectant parents, they offer unique insight and sensitivity regarding such difficult issues as mourning the loss of the anticipated baby, maintaining hope when a prognosis is poor, stillbirth and neonatal critical care.
Miriam's Blessing is based on the national program, Be Not Afraid.
If you or someone you know could benefit from Miriam's Blessing, please contact one of the diocesan coordinators:
Fort Wayne area coordinator: Allison Sturm: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 260-422-4611
South Bend area coordinator: Lisa Everett: email@example.com Phone: 574-234-0687
More than 100,000 expectant couples each year receive the devastating news of a so-called poor prenatal diagnosis. It may be the detection of a heart defect, Spina Bifida, or a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13, but whatever the diagnosis, shocked and bereaved parents have lost the baby and the pregnancy they had anticipated. With little or no information or resources available that support the option of carrying the baby to term, many of these pregnancies end in abortion. When offered a service of comprehensive support, however, parents more often chose to carry to term.
Miriam's Blessing is based on the national program Be Not Afraid http://www.benotafraid.net which utilizes a peer ministry model of support and presence. Peer ministers engage parents and journey with them based on the shared experiences of having carried to term after a poor prenatal diagnosis, or having experienced a perinatal loss such as miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death. Support extends through three distinct phases: the pregnancy, the birth, and the postpartum period. Families are typically followed for one year following the birth no matter the outcome.
Peer ministers engage parents carrying to term and journey with them based on shared experiences and an ability to empathize.
Peer ministers are screened and trained and work in teams and their outreach is informed by a pastoral care manual. Peer ministers may either be individuals or couples, and typically two peer ministers are assigned to support a family carrying to term. To expectant parents, peer ministers offer unique insight and sensitivity regarding such difficult issues as mourning the loss of the anticipated baby, maintaining hope when a prognosis is poor, stillbirth and neonatal critical care.
Miriam's Blessing affirms the sanctity of every human life from the moment of conception and supports families of any faith in their mission to be "the sanctuary of life."
Supporting Families Who Receive A Prenatal Diagnosis (USCCB article)