Imagine going for a prenatal doctor visit and hearing, “Your pregnancy is incompatible with life.”
Hundreds of couples receive this heartbreaking conclusion to news of a poor diagnosis, often along with the offer to terminate the pregnancy. Yet there is another road to take.
As Nancy Mayer-Whittington says, “The phrase ‘incompatible with life’ is a judgment, not a diagnosis.”
Mayer-Whittington stresses that this phrase has taken on such weight that it may often serve to take away a parent’s right to choose by making them feel as though there is no other response available. She also cites the work of experts who note that this terminology portrays a judgment about quality of life as a factual medical determination, thereby pre-determining what only a parent should be allowed to decide.
Eager to offer support to couples who have been plunged into their worst fears and confusion, her organization Isaiah’s Promise comes alongside with information and resources to help accept and love the child they are going to have.
The ministry springs from the experience of losing her daughter Angela shortly after she was born. Mayer-Whittington says, “To be honest, there is nothing good about the death of a child. It is the life you lead afterward that creates the good. God always gives us a choice. Even when we think we have no options, we do. I have come to believe that Angela was a gift, an incredible, four-pound, eight ounce treasure that many people spend their lives seeking, but which I was privileged to hold.”
As families share stories of loving their children for seven hours or seven months, they again and again marvel at the beauty of a life lived completely surrounded by love for every single moment and each breath.
From Nancy’s bio:
Isaiah’s Promise was founded in 1995 to provide families, who decide to carry to term after receiving a severe or fatal prenatal diagnosis, support, information, friendship and hope. We understood, first-hand, the need to support these families who, after making this courageous, loving decision to continue the pregnancy, often feel isolated and alone. We draw on our own experiences – both of us carried to term after receiving a prenatal diagnosis that our babies’ conditions were “incompatible with life.” Francis LaHood diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and Angela Mayer-Whittington diagnosed with Trisomy 18 died shortly after their births. Their lives though brief changed our lives forever. Every baby is important, every life has significance. Over the years, we have helped hundreds of families in the Washington Metropolitan area and across the nation reframe their expectations. We help them grieve the baby they were expecting and accept and love the baby they are going to have.
Nancy Mayer-Whittington is also the author of For the Love of Angela a memoir published by St. Catherine of Siena Press detailing her experience carrying and delivering her daughter, Angela, who died shortly after her birth.
PLEASE NOTE: Cradle My Heart, Finding God’s Love After Abortion provides affirmation and hope after abortion from the Scriptures. Here are more resources for help and healing. If you are pregnant and need free, confidential help call 1-800-712-HELP. If you’ve had an abortion and need immediate help call 1-866-482-LIFE.
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