New guidelines for grieving parents welcomed

Termination for Medical Reasons Group says counselling should be available

The Government is to announce new guidelines for grieving parents. Photograph: iStock

The Government is to announce new guidelines for grieving parents. Photograph: iStock


New guidelines to be announced today about support services for grieving parents have been welcomed by the Termination for Medical Reasons Group.

The group’s spokeswoman Clare Cullen Delsol said post abortion counselling is wholly inappropriate but bereavement counselling is essential.

Ms Cullen Delsol told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that she had not received any counselling when she had a stillbirth at 30 weeks.

She had been told after her 20 week scan that her baby had Trisomy 13, or Patau syndrome and would not survive.

“I did not receive any counselling, I am part of the Termination for Medical Reasons group and most of our members travel to the UK for an abortion, but I wasn’t in a position to travel, as I’m in a low paid job, I couldn’t afford to, but most importantly I couldn’t leave my other two children.”

She told how she continued her pregnancy “pretty much against my will. It was the only option available to me”.

She asked for counselling immediately and was eventually told by a midwife that she wouldn’t need counselling until after the baby died. At 26 weeks her daughter Alex was stillborn.

Eventually she received counselling – in April – at a community centre. Alex’s stillbirth was the previous September.

She said she was glad that the term FFA will be included in the guidelines for grieving parents.

“I absolutely welcome the guidelines – I think it’s brilliant. It’s about time that we are including all bereaved parents in guidelines.

“In these circumstances I think post abortion counselling is wholly appropriate, it is still a bereavement, it is not a choice someone made to lose a baby, it’s not an unwanted pregnancy. It’s still a much loved and wanted baby.

“The guidelines should cover all. The absolute grief of losing a baby that you love regardless of the circumstances.

“Had I chosen to go for a termination I would have had a still birth four weeks earlier than I did, what would the difference have been? Why would I have been less deserving of care and of comfort and of support, if I’d had that experience.”