Outpouring of love for Erin O'Hara who said no to abortion after tragic baby diagnosis
Messages of support have come flooding in for a pregnant Northern Ireland mother who hopes to carry her baby to term despite knowing the child won't survive outside the womb.
Erin O'Hara declined to have an abortion and has recently reached 26 weeks of pregnancy with a baby girl whom she named Freya after the unborn infant was diagnosed with untreatable anencephaly.
The 24-year-old, already mum to six-year-old son Josh, revealed that she and Jamie McCormick (23), her partner of almost four years, had planned on having a child together and couldn't bear to have a termination.
Her heartbreaking story in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph prompted an outpouring of love and solidarity for the Limavady clerical officer, who is now preparing a baby shower for her unborn baby girl on November 10.
Writing on Facebook, Belfast woman Chantelle Dougan (24) revealed that deciding not to continue her pregnancy with an unborn baby girl after receiving a similar diagnosis was one of the "hardest decisions" she has ever made.
"Erin, I don't know if you will ever see this, but in June 2016, I had a little girl with the same condition," she said.
"It broke my heart into a million pieces, but I couldn't continue my pregnancy knowing the outcome. I was five months gone and it was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I was only 22 and hadn't a clue what was for the best at the time.
"I now have my beautiful little rainbow baby, but think of my little Riley every single day.
"I beat myself up for so long thinking what if, but as you well know, this illness isn't compatible with life and therefore for my own health and well-being, I decided to terminate. This choice is yours and yours alone! Sending you loads of love xxxx."
Erin replied: "Chantelle I am so, so sorry to hear about your loss. My decision obviously doesn't suit everyone and I understand that.
"I'm glad you do what's best for you. Wishing you and your little rainbow all the love and hugs in the world xxxx."
In response to Erin's story, Colleen Ellison wrote: "Huge respect to you Erin and to your family. You are loving and nurturing Freya to the very end. What a loving and beautiful way to treat your precious little daughter.
"Praying for strength for you through the difficult times ahead. I am sure the time you have together will be heartbreaking, but your devotion to your terminally ill child is inspirational."
In another post Rebecca Stewart added: "Erin, if you read this I just wanted to let you know how brave you both are and how much we are praying for you - even though we don't know you. From one mummy to another xx."