So kind and generous of heart is Amanda Balderrama, RN, who shares her story of silent grief with the loss of her son, Fernando Michael Philip, and how she has used her experiences to extend her heart and professional support to other families in similar situations in this episode of Faith and Good Counsel.
Amanda is founder and director of Journey to Remember, a Forever Footprints Perinatal Comfort Care Program which supports families who desire to carry their child with a life-limiting diagnosis to term. Perinatal Comfort Care programs are a moral, ethical alternative to abortion/termination which respects the dignity of life and parental decision to spend the time that they are given with their child.
With Perinatal Comfort Care, the natural processes of grieving, bonding and attachment are fostered with the help of a trained professional who journeys with the family…and who very likely has been through a similar situation themselves with the loss of their own child. SO….MUCH….BEAUTY happens when families are assisted with healthy attachment, good counsel, and ways to receive the gift of joy amidst the sorrow of the situation through actively engaging with their baby as a family during the pregnancy and delivery.
Sadly, in the culture of death we live in today, most parents who receive a life-limiting diagnosis for their baby during pregnancy (such as anencephaly or genetic disorders) are encouraged to abort these precious children who “are going to die anyway”. Because she knew of no other option, Amanda herself suffered through this “option”, and speaks very intimately about what she experienced during our conversation. Like Amanda, so many parents who have been told that their child will likely not survive long after birth experience a deep desire to spend as much time with their child as possible, and do not wish to extinguish the life of their child. However, at a time when parents are literally in shock at receiving such devastating news about their baby, they may not be in a position to know or to explore options besides the termination recommended by well-intentioned medical professionals. Their hearts are torn, and they feel crushed, confused and alone. This is the moment that kind, caring, experienced Perinatal Comfort Care specialists like Amanda are available to enter into the situation, to educate, to advocate, to accompany, and to offer hope, comfort, and guidance at this time of such crisis in a family.
From my perspective as a mother, a former labor and delivery/perinatal RN, as well as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner specializing in perinatal mental health issues, I am truly amazed by the beautiful service that Amanda has developed, and offers with great love to heartbroken parents who are in need of love and support. My professional experience and research into these matters have given me great concern about the risk of significant psychological and familial issues caused by an abortion/termination of and by itself. Notwithstanding the grave moral and ethical reasons for avoiding abortion, termination as a “treatment” only serves to place the family at even higher risk for complicated psychological responses to an already overwhelming family crisis of having receiving a life-limiting diagnosis for a child during pregnancy. There is another avenue! From diagnosis, throughout the pregnancy and delivery, to the time of death and thereafter, Amanda and other perinatal comfort care specialists are available and stand ready to help in ways that are simply awesome.
Listen in as Amanda speaks about her personal journey, as well as the incredible work she provides in the area of Perinatal Hospice/Comfort Care. Truly amazing, ya’ll… As a person who also wears a lot of hats, I have to say I’m really in awe of Amanda. We only scratched the surface of what she does in our time together. I’m so grateful to her for how she loves those she serves!
Connect with Amanda: