Holy Family Prenatal Care: Dr. Moell Councils Women Through Difficult Pregnancies
by Mark Danis
Dr. Ann Moell is very clear about the mission of the Holy Family Prenatal Care (HFPC) in Dayton. She helped found the ministry in 2000, and she believes in the institution’s mission to help patients envision a better future for themselves, one that is consistent with God’s own vision for their life.
The center currently delivers approximately 130 babies a year. To date, they have successfully brought more than 2,250 new lives into the world. But, it is about more than just delivery.
HFPC offers a “strong start,” which provides care for the mother and child even before insurance starts to cover the costs. They provide a free crib for individuals who complete a series of core classes, and new moms can shop in one of five baby boutiques using “baby bucks” they can earn by attending prenatal appointments and training classes. All of this supports an expectant mother’s decision to choose life for her baby.
As a physician who has dedicated her life to women’s health, and the past 20 years to expectant mothers facing the most difficult circumstances imaginable, Moell has witnessed the pain of making the right decision.
“There are often complications, and the expectant mothers of babies with potentially fatal defects must struggle with this decision,” said Moell.
She related the story of a young couple who was told their unborn child almost certainly would not survive. They choose to have the baby anyway. Their circumstances were a great struggle, but their trial also brought blessings. The once- estranged parents of the young girl were reconciled with their daughter in her time of need. The young man also began attending classes with the men’s ministry. He eventually converted and began actively practicing his faith. That faith ultimately sustained this couple through the loss of their first child.
But when asked about her experiences, Moell said one story that always comes to mind is of a young woman facing the prospect of a second high-risk pregnancy. The woman’s first child died of an extremely rare genetic disorder, a condition that, even if the child had survived, would likely have resulted in severe neurological abnormalities and irreversible brain damage. After a complex series of tests, the expectant mother learned that her second child also carried the same defect. She faced a significant dilemma: have the child and accept the consequences of the diagnosis, or abort the baby.
After compassionate counseling and the intercession of an army of prayer warriors (something always available to the patients of Holy Family Prenatal Care), the young woman chose to allow God to decide for her baby.
The remarkable end of this story is that when the newborn was re-tested, there was no trace of the previously-diagnosed condition. Our only real choice is whether we will allow God to fulfill His own vision for every life.
In the profound words of Dr. Moell, “It is against a woman’s nature to choose when her baby will die; if she can just be given support, she can choose faith and leave the decision in the hands of God. Then she can live with the outcome.”
This article originally appeared in the October Edition of The Catholic Telegraph. For your complimentary subscription, click here.