Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Cross of Adverse Diagnosis [Divine Mercy]

Theresa Bonopartis, Director
Lumina/Hope & Healing After Abortion

I have been very blessed to present a webinar for “Be Not Afraid,” an organization whose mission is to provide comprehensive, practical, peer-based support to parents experiencing an adverse prenatal diagnosis so they will carry to term. Unfortunately, many couples receiving an adverse diagnosis are pressured to abort given little time to find out the resources available to enable them to have their babies. Sadly, some give in to the pressure only to recognize later how wrong the decision was.

My training, "Special Considerations When Providing Support to Post-Abortive Mothers Who Experienced an Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis" focuses on ministering to those who terminate pregnancy after receiving an adverse diagnosis and how it is beneficial for these parents to have their own healing ministry.

We at Lumina have been holding retreats for those who have experienced abortion due to an adverse diagnosis for a number of years. The retreats touch my heart in a profound way as I listen to the stories of couples who very often were prepared for the birth of their child only to receive heartbreaking news of an abnormality, coupled with the undeniable pressure to terminate the pregnancy as “the loving thing to do.”

What is sadly lacking in our communities are resources to give these couples hope, and the means to continue to love their unborn children no matter what the abnormality or length of life. In spite of the diagnosis, abortion is never the answer but only adds to the pain and denies the family of time spent with their child, no matter how short it may be.

As one woman told me, “Looking back, I can see what was missing from the conversation in the doctor’s office. They never mentioned anything remotely positive. Surely there was something they could have told us that wasn’t bleak and morbid, like the fact that we could love our daughter no matter what her physical or mental condition.”

Over the years, I have been privileged to work side by side with one of the founders of “Be Not Afraid,” Tracy Windsor, with the shared hope of being a sign of Christ to these couples, whether they brought the pregnancy to term or gave in to the pressures of termination.

As we celebrate Divine Mercy, a time that calls us to Mercy Himself, I am reminded of the unfathomable beauty of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the love and redemption found at His cross, a redemption that embraces us whether we follow Him without reserve, or give in to our human weaknesses.

Those who have chosen to bring their pregnancy to term surely walk the way of the cross in choosing to “Be Not Afraid,” trusting in Christ as they embrace their cross and loving their child through its life no matter how short or challenging.

Those who give in to the pressure to abort, feeling pressured or believing it is the loving thing to do so their child will not suffer, also find in the end, the ultimate love of the cross, walking the way of Calvary to the only love deep enough to forgive and heal our wounds: Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, and His unfathomable mercy.

He is there for them both, because He loves us all. Let us remember in our prayers and sacrifices, those who carry the cross of an adverse diagnosis. If we do not have an outreach, let us try to promote organizations like “Be Not Afraid” so those who receive an adverse prenatal diagnosis are offered support in their sorrow, resources, and hope that they can love no matter what. Let us also pray that those who terminated will come to find the love of Christ on the cross, His mercy that forgives, understands, and desires to heal.

Living with the pain of abortion can be overwhelming. Feelings of anxiety, panic, grief, guilt and shame can often seem insurmountable, but there is a way out of the pain. You do not have to suffer alone! Countless women and men have reached healing through Lumina’s services. In addition to our own programs we refer to professional therapists, clergy, and other post-abortion resources.  Use this link for more information on Lumina.

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