Kenna Hamm, LMSW
Perinatal Social Worker
The advice that I would give to parents who choose to carry to term is to know that they are not alone. There are resources available to them, there are wonderful organizations that are there to support them and the choice that they make. Parents are often given the option by their obstetrician or perinatologist to be connected with the inpatient hospital team that includes physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, case managers. It’s a really interprofessional team that can sit down with the patient in her support system to be able to talk about the diagnosis and the complexities of it and create a plan of care together with their input of their spiritual needs or emotional needs that are just as important as the medical needs. So as a social worker, some of the things we can provide are community resources, whether that be formal support groups, one-on-one therapists, couples, counselors, books for talking to children about grief and loss, assistance with completing a palliative care birth plan, assistance with funeral arrangements, whether that be burial or cremation. Whatever they need from me is what I want to provide to them.
Every situation I encounter is unique and what I feel I have learned during all of this is that you’re going to have many “experts” who are going to weigh in, they’re going to give their advice and their opinions and well-intended guidance. But at the end of the day, parents have to be able to live with the decisions that are made and the options that are laid out in front of them. It’s just very important that they understand that even beyond their internal support system of their partner, spouse, parents, they have other people that are there to walk beside them through the process and help them navigate these very emotional times.