Sunday, January 11, 2015

Lily's Gift - A Program for Those with a Poor Prenatal Diagnosis

Lily’s Gift is a network of concerned parents and professionals who have experienced or worked closely with issues surrounding poor prenatal diagnosis. Modeled and trained by Be Not Afraid, volunteers from Lily’s Gift offer a free service of practical guidance and compassionate care focusing on meeting the needs of expectant parents as they seek to honor the life of their baby no matter how frail or how brief.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Sister Kathleen Schipani, IHM about this program to find out more information for our local  pro-life group, the Bucks County Pro-Life Coalition.  

Located in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Pastoral center, Lily's Gift  is a collaboration of the Office for Persons with Disabilities, the Office for Life and Family and Catholic Social Services.  Each of these offices has in the past assisted families in ways related to Poor Prenatal Diagnosis (PPD).  

Lily's Gift was started about fourteen months ago and to date, they have served ten families.  Sister noted that each of the couples they have supported would say they have been successful in providing them support at a time they feel very alone; in a cultures which pressures them to discard their unborn baby.  

The services provided through Lily's Gift include resource materials, assistance with writing birth plans, birth support persons as requested and referrals to other community based services and support groups.  When contacted, they appoint a 'peer' to be the lead person offering spiritual, emotional and practical support through visits, texts, e-mail and phone conversations.

According to Sister Kathleen, a peer is someone who has gone through a similar situation and can relate to these parents. Most often a team is set in place to help with all aspects of the pregnancy, birth and at times death. 

Sister Kathleen says this program is promoted mainly through parish announcements, palm cards at churches and also in some hospitals and pregnancy centers. She  said that many Catholic nurses promote this program in the hospitals where they work when they come across someone with PPD.

While the initial funding for this program came from the Office for Life and Family, and  Catholic Social Services, the main funding comes through private donations.  

If you would like to help Lily's Gift with a donation, please use this link.

If you are someone looking for support from this program,  please use this link.

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