For decades, the death of a baby was barely discussed.
A 1950s obstetrics nursing textbook suggests parents shouldn't be allowed to see or hold babies with birth defects.
"Parents should not be allowed to see monstrosities," the authors wrote.
Today, better understanding of end-of-life care has changed that practice.
"Now we know that parents do need to see that baby," said Pam Mange, manager of Kids Path, the pediatric program of Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region.
"There is a greater recognition that these parents are still parents.... Grief is a journey, no matter what grief you're experiencing."
Amy Kuebelbeck, a Minnesota author whose newborn died of a congenital heart defect, said parents who continue their pregnancies find solace in knowing they gave their baby the "gift of a peaceful, natural death."
"There is no shortcut through grief," said Kuebelbeck, who has written two books on the subject, including "A Gift of Time: Continuing Your Pregnancy When Your Baby's Life Is Expected to Be Brief."
"People will say 'Why not just get it over with?'" Kuebelbeck said. "But these parents look at it differently. Why not embrace that time together?"
Societal pressure to "Get it over with" doesn't work, she said. "Parents grieved anyway. They wondered what their baby would have looked like.
"It's amazing how parents can look past (physical deformities) and see that baby with eyes of love," Kuebelbeck said.
"This transcends abortion. This is not a political decision. This is not a religious decision. It's a parenting decision."