My Child, My Gift
A Positive Response to Serious Prenatal Diagnosis
An Important Resource
My Child, My Gift is an important resource for parents who, prior to the birth of their child, receive the news that their child has been diagnosed with a serious illness or disability. Understandably, this can be a time of many questions and uncertainties for parents. For clergy, religious and counselors seeking to provide pastoral care and guidance, this book will be a great help in upholding the dignity of each and every life, and the truth that every child is a gift from God.
Seán Cardinal O'Malley, OFM Cap., Archbishop of Boston
People Like Me
After reading the first few pages of your book, I immediately knew that this book was written for people like my husband and me. It has been such a blessing to have this book minister the beauty of all God's children. . . . Thank you from the bottom of my heart for ministering to me and for your prayers. I will keep you up to date on my baby's precious life. God bless you.
They Gave Us Some Literature
While we were at the doctor's office, they gave us some literature. There weren't any testimonies about keeping the baby or having the baby and placing her in a home or up for adoption. The only option seemed to be abortion.
I think if there were some stories that gave some kind of hope it would be possible to choose something other than abortion. My children know they have a sister in heaven, but they do not know how she died. It is very difficult to discuss Josephine (that's her name) with them. One reason is that I hate having to lie to them and I know that one day I will share the truth with them. Too many people know the truth, so one day they will also know the truth.
One of the saddest things about this is that if Josephine died naturally, I would be able to share her with my other children. (We have 5 other children). My greatest wish is for others to listen to stories like these. I try to tell some of my family and friends how much I regret the abortion when I get the chance to talk about it.
(Francesca, mom of Josephine who was diagnosed with multiple disabilities and who died by saline injection to the heart prior to "pregnancy induction" at thirty- six weeks gestation)
Defects Incompatible with Life
My baby was born still on Easter Sunday 2007. Some of his organs didn't develop properly, and he couldn't have lived outside the womb. He died some time shortly before birth. The autopsy showed that his kidneys, bladder and heart didn't develop properly. They don't know why this birth defect sometimes happens. The doctors were amazed he lived all the way to full term (42 weeks). If a baby lives past birth with this, they usually die within the first day or so. I'm so thankful he died with me and not in a NICU!
We are so grateful for the time we had with him. Pregnancy is a special time that God has given to parents - especially mothers. We get to know our child with increasing intimacy as we spend more time with them. God in His Love for each one of us has given us parents to be examples of His parental Love for us.
Seek this Love from God and you will know how to care for your child. We have lost our child, but God has given us special knowledge that our son is with Him in heaven and that He has a special intimate relationship with our son in heaven. We know that Jesus touched our child while still in the womb to show our Thomas who He was and how Thomas could love Jesus. Ask Jesus to touch your child. Ask Jesus to heal your child if it is His will. Jesus Loves your child just the way he is.
Please consider that the doctors are not always correct in their diagnosis. Many parents who choose life are surprised to find the diagnosis incorrect.
Sadly some abort their children when they learn their baby has a condition not compatible with life. I just don't understand why. I'm so glad for the time we were give with him from Jesus (Keith and I seriously suspect Our Lord gave us a little extra). He lived out his life as Jesus wished. I pray all parents would give their children the same chance. How can we know what Jesus does with these children in the womb? Their lives, however short, have a purpose according to God's plan, too. If we had known beforehand that Thomas had this condition, we still would have let him live for as long as God willed.
So thank you for all of your prayers!
Holly Bodoh, Milwaukee, WI
That Was His Purpose
Last week I spoke at a women's retreat for a group of women from Allentown, PA. One woman in the group is a long-time friend of mine who was the first person I know personally to have a child with a severe pre-natal diagnosis. Ruth was told her baby would not survive outside the womb but Nathan lived 12 hard, long years. Ruth and her husband had one daughter prior to Nathan and three more daughters after Nathan's birth. Year after year, Nathan lingered but Ken, Nathan's dad, shares that he was personally drawn into a relationship with God because of Nathan's life. That was his purpose. There is so much to their story but I will leave that for Ruth to share sometime soon, hopefully.
I took several copies of My Child, My Gift with me and Ruth was eager to read her copy. She called me this afternoon to tell me that she wept through the entire book, able to relate on so many levels with so much within the book. She wishes she had a support system 25 years ago, family, friends, church, resources were absent or non-supportive then. She felt completely isolated and yet continued to press on. Nathan passed away just about the time my daughter, Tess, was born. That was thirteen years ago and Ruth is finally able to get some healing, thanks to several factors of God at work in her life at this time. One of these factors is My Child, My Gift.
Thank you, dear Madeline, for being obedient to the call of God on your life and making this My Child, My Gift happen!
Needs to Be Read
If Ob's and geneticists would pass this book along to parents upon diagnosis, perhaps fewer would feel that they are expected to terminate. And even better, if the diagnosing professionals, themselves, would actually read, "My Child, My Gift", perhaps they would begin to understand what a disservice it is - to natural maternal love, life itself, and hope - to persistently recommend termination.
We have a chance here to really make a difference in the lives of countless families by ensuring that newly diagnosed families have an opportunity to read this book. Thank you Madeline, for this wonderful contribution to the Culture of Life!
Monica Rafie, founder of BeNotAfraid.net and mom of a child prenatally diagnosed with life-threatening, complex heart defects.
I Was Given a Booklet
Upon my baby's diagnosis I was given a booklet that was not very helpful at all. The overwhelming majority of the cases in the book decided to terminate their pregnancies. There were only a couple of stories of carrying to term, so that in itself said a lot.
I definitely could have used a book with LOTS more stories of people who chose to carry their babies despite a bad diagnosis, and their reasons why and how they found the strength.
(Jewell, mom of Joyann who was born with anencephaly)
Some Joy in Our Baby's Birth
I have read My Child, My Gift also, and found it extremely helpful, it was the first time I got a sense that there would be some joy in our baby's birth, despite everything, and that was true in the end.
(Posted to an Anencephaly Support On-Line Board by a mom whose baby was diagnosed in utero with anencephaly)
If a Prenatal Test Had Been Available
When my son was a newborn, I met a young counselor at a pregnancy aid office who treated me like the new mother I was when his older sister was born. He was very small, being born a month early, and he has Down syndrome. I don't remember what brought me to her office, only that I seemed to fall back into the mainstream world when we were talking. I think if we had not met, I would not have realized so early that my son's diagnosis had thrown me into some kind of out of sync subculture as his mom.
As I was preparing to leave the office, I thanked her for being so natural and authentic, or whatever set her apart from everyone else I had met. She told me that she was born with Spina Bifida, and had been diagnosed only a few years earlier. She was mildly affected and that delayed her diagnosis, although the condition caused challenges that were significant enough that she was relieved they could be explained when she found out.
She said that not being diagnosed at birth caused her to have many opportunities that she would have missed otherwise, and that she was also aware that if a prenatal test had been available she would most likely not have been born at all. She said that gave her a very different perspective on babies with disabilities and prenatal testing. It seems to me as though something far beyond that made her the person I found that day, but of course we will never know.
Seeing the web page about My Child, My Gift, reminded me of that life changing meeting. Thanks again for your book.
Pam Wilson, Seattle, WA
Make This Decision Quickly
So, I finally got my hands on a copy of your book, and I LOVE IT!!! It is just perfect...not judgmental and just SO compassionate and lovely. It will most certainly steer women to the spiritual guidance they SO DESPERATELY need when faced an adverse prenatal diagnosis. If you impact one woman to change her decision to terminate, you have saved a LIFE...amazing work. I truly believe, as you do, that many women make this decision quickly and out of fear.
Although I knew my decision on diagnosis, your book surely would have lifted my spirits through the sharing of these stories and real-life situations, like mine.
Sorprendente! después de haber tenido a nuestra beba hace veincicinco años, es increible descubrir en los testimonios de ¨My Child My Gift¨, ¨Mi Hijo Mi Don¨, los mismos sentimientos, ideas y pensamientos. Qué importante es comunicarse con quienes vivieron la misma experiencia.
Gracias a Dios, no estuve sola, pero pienso que hubiera facilitado mucho si hubiera conocido el libro o la página, a pesar de no existir internet.
De ahora en más, no estoy más interesada en los doctores ni en quienes nos hicieron sufrir más que tener un hija limitada. Ahora deseo profundamente recordar todo el enriquecimiento que nos legó nuestra querida María Lía y compartir todo lo que aprendimos, uniéndonos a quienes deseen respetar la vida.
Vale la pena!
Maria de la Paz Maroto de Nadale
Undiagnosed Conditions in Mother
I wanted to let you know about something your readers may not know. I am a celiac, which means that I am intolerant to wheat, oats, barley and rye, and anything made from them. If I eat them , the villi in my intestine are stripped, leaving me unable to absorb certain nutrients.
This problem is genetic, and can be symptomless; it can also result in miscarriage and trauma to a baby in utero. If a pregnant mother has this undiagnosed condition, it can result in neurogenic defects in her child, because the mother does not absorb essential nutrients through her intestine, most notably, iron and folic acid. It may be that a mother who delivers a child with anencephaly may have this condition, but that it is undiagnosed.
Celiac disease is 98% undiagnosed, and is present in 1% of the population, about as many people as are diabetic. Please encourage mothers who have had children with neurologic defects to get tested for this. Any mother who has children with Down's syndrome should also be tested. I hope this information helps prevent birth defects.
Instruction Manual to Motherhood
“Where is the instruction manual to motherhood?” Finally you hold it in your hands.
What began as a booklet to encourage pregnant women who have been told disconcerting news that their child may have a fatal, threatening or disabling diagnosis, has at long last been assembled in book form.
This volume is a must read for each parent, grandparent and friend. Madeline Pecora Nugent has answered every question asked regarding the pains and joys of motherhood. She also addresses queries that most of us never thought to ask, but need to know the answer to in order to be capable to comfort a loved one, a spouse or even to console yourself when you beseech to know the truth; if you’ve done or are doing the right thing regarding conceiving, carrying, and nurturing your child. Madeline’s words are written to mothers who crave honest counsel and anticipate earnest guidance.
To call this book “Every mother’s Bible” would sound irreverent. But sincerely this is undoubtedly the most profound and complete guide to understanding what love means at the heart of becoming a mother. I challenge you to find a more poignant compilation of genuine personalities that capture the spirit of a mother’s unconditional love recorded on a single page. This treasure piece is essential to occupy every woman’s library. Congratulations Madeline and thank you for stirring my heart and confirming that what I do as a mother is as it should be.
Terri Green, Author of Simple Acts of Kindness and mother of 22 year old Kara who lives with severe Cerebral Palsy.
For most of us, confronting the unknown and facing those things over which we have no control makes us fearful. But courage is not facing obstacles without fear – it is facing obstacles DESPITE our fears.
Knowing we did everything possible for our child regardless of the outcome can give us a great sense of peace and relieve us of the “what ifs” that could haunt us in the future. We can realize strength within us that we never knew existed.
(Debbie, mom of Braedon who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome)
Prayers Were Answered
BABY ALEXANDER ROBERT WAS BORN APRIL 18TH-AFTER AN EASY DELIVERY -5 LBS, 13OZ. HE PASSED INTO THE ARMS OF OUR LORD,3 DAYS LATER SURROUNDED BY HIS LOVING FAMILY.
HE HAD MANY DEFECTS-BLINDNESS, DEAFNESS, BRAIN DEFORMITY, AND A HEART DEFECT, TO NAME A FEW.
PRAYERS WERE ANSWERED HOWEVER, IN THAT THE BABY GOT TO GO HOME IN HOSPICE CARE AND HIS PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS WERE THERE AND GOT TO LOVE HIM AND HOLD HIM EVERY MIN OF HIS SHORT LIFE. IT GAVE EVERYONE TIME TO BOND WITH THIS DEAR LITTLE ANGEL.
HE WAS BAPTIZED AND HAD A FUNERAL IN WHICH THE PRIEST PUT EVERYONE AT EASE AND WAS A VERY COMPASSIONATE PRIEST. BEN & CHRISTINE SAID THEY WOULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS ANY OTHER WAY. THE JOY AND LOVE THEY FEEL FOR THEIR LITTLE PRECIOUS ONE WILL REMAIN IN THERE HEARTS AND MEMORY FOREVER!
WHEN THEY ARRIVED HOME, HOSPICE WAS WAITING FOR THEM AT THE DOOR.! THEY TOOK CARE OF ALL THE DETAILS FOR THE BURIAL AND EVERYTHING.
THEY ARE NOT ANGRY, BUT FULL OF JOY AS TO HAVE MADE THIS DECISION TO SEE THIS TO THE END. NOW CHRISTINE AND BEN WANT TO HELP OTHERS IN THIS SITUATION. THEY ARE IN A SUPPORT GROUP AND FEEL GOD CAN USE THEM IN A SPECIAL WAY. THESE 2 AGENCIES HELPED THEM SO MUCH! "NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP" AND "MISSING GRACE". THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE LEFT THEM WITH SUCH PEACE IN THEIR HEARTS KNOWING HE IS IN GOD'S LOVING ARMS!
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR PRAYERS!
YOU GUYS ARE THE GREATEST!
I ordered three copies and will be ordering more--already gave it to a lady whose neighbor got a Downs diagnosis at five months pregnant. . . . Thanks so much for this wonderful resource. . . . Your books are going faster than any other on our Respect Life Month table - I put one out at a time and it seems whenever I check back they are gone!!
I am so grateful this information is getting out there - and thankfully we have a VERY supportive/active pastor and staff at our parish. I know many lives will be changed...many saved as well!! Thanks a bunch!
God Bless, Kathleen McCusker
Just Like Any Other Baby
I purchased your book in February and was very glad I did. I gave birth to a daughter in April with Spina Bifida, and hydrocephalus, who is doing great. Aside from a two week stay in the hospital and two surgeries, she is just like any other baby; she just has a lot more Doctor's visits for check ups.
My parents were not very supportive at all. At first they thought I should terminate my pregnancy which I could never have done. My mother has totally changed her view since my daughter has been born and is now very supportive. People are definitely scared of the unknown. No one in my family or my husband's knew anything about Spina Bifida so I think they expected the worst. I have since lent your book to several people. It made me realize that there are a lot worse things than Spina Bifida. Today people tend to use a prenatal diagnosis as a death sentence which is very scary. My daughter's neurosurgeon guessed that around 25 % of Spina Bifida babies are aborted.
Thanks for writing such a great book, I think it will save lives,