"Our baby had been diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome"
At 17 weeks pregnant we had been told that our baby had been diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome. Our GP asked us if we would like to contact your service, and explained a bit about it.
We did not know about the service but were desperate for any help, advice and support to make the hardest decision in our lives.
The centre helped by having an independent way of thinking about all the issues of either having or not having our baby, and helped us to sort through our thoughts and feelings. It also allowed us as a couple to openly and safely discuss thoughts that maybe we didn’t want to express at that time in case it upset the other, so having separate time as well as a joint session helped to clarify individual thoughts and feelings.
It was important to feel you were not being hurried or that you were one of many with such a heartbreaking difficult decision to make, and you need to not feel judged in any way. All three people from Crossways were very sympathetic and helpful.
One thing that came over very strongly verbally and non-verbally was that the listener was not trying to influence the decision you made. We would not have stayed if this had been the case, and I feel we are quite perceptive people and would have picked this up. It allowed us to really open up and work through every thought or feeling, that may not have made sense at times but needed to come out.
We decided to terminate our baby although it did take us nearly more than two weeks to get to that decision. It was so useful to be able to come back each time to the centre after going off to talk to Paediatricans, people with DS children, people who had terminated their pregnancy for the same reasons, DS Association etc.
I came back to the centre weekly a few weeks after the termination, and had 1-to-1 bereavement counselling and support, which helped me more than I could ever put into words. This went on for about 6 months and the weekly sessions dropped to every other week then monthly. I now keep in contact by text/email for mini updates.
I think the Crossway is an essential service and was glad the GP knew about it... I feel all potential parents not sure about their pregnancy, should be given this opportunity. I don’t know of any NHS service that could have helped in this particular way, as it is so specialised in terms of support and counselling.