Hope is a wonderful thing. Hope in crisis is like a breath of fresh air. The word crisis means a time of intense trouble where a difficult or important decision must be made. A crisis pregnancy center (or resource pregnancy centers) exists to offer hope and life-affirming choices to women who find themselves in unexpected pregnancy situations and are considering abortions.
Often pregnancy centers are seen as places that care only about keeping the babies from being aborted, but the workers in the centers care just as much about the well-being of the women who are carrying the babies. Many women who are helped by crisis pregnancy centers are in shock over their pregnancy and feel overwhelmed by the choices that they must make. Some do not feel they are ready to parent a child. Some are still reeling from the violent nature in which the child was conceived. Some are young or want to finish school. Some have no support system to help them raise a child. Some feel they are simply without hope. Workers at a pregnancy center show compassion for the women and the situations in which they find themselves. They listen, without judgement, as the women tell their stories. Then the workers offer hope in a variety of ways.
The women are assured that they and their baby have worth. Their pregnancy isn’t a mistake. While they are not a medical facility, many centers have registered nurses and can offer limited ultrasounds and prenatal advice. The hope is that when the women see their babies on the monitor and hear their baby’s heartbeat, they will see the pregnancy as a life and not something to be terminated. Some centers even send the ultrasound pictures home with the women as a tactile reminder that there is a life growing inside them.
Pregnancy centers offer abortion alternatives. Most centers will not discuss abortion as a solution but seek to inform the women that there are other choices that can be made. Should the women decide to parent the baby, most centers offer post-decision support and parenting education classes to encourage them to be the best parent they can be. Some of the time, the centers offer clothing and baby supplies as an incentive for the women to complete the courses. If the women are not able to parent the child themselves, they can make kinship (family) care plans or an adoption plan. Both options allow the women to choose where their child is placed, and, in most cases, allow them to have limited contact and/or communication to the child and its new family. Pregnancy centers are not adoption agencies, but often refer the women to supporting agencies to make the adoption plan.
In the event that a woman chooses to have an abortion, some pregnancy centers offer abortion recovery groups where the women can anonymously come to a support group with others who have had abortions. Because of the stigma and the trauma to post-abortive women, they can find help and healing as they learn to surrender their secret in a safe place.
In short, pregnancy centers are nonprofit organizations that provide compassionate support to women faced with difficult pregnancy decisions. They offer caring, non-judgmental places for the women to explore pregnancy options and to receive accurate information and confidential services. Pregnancy centers offer clients these services without charge at almost every center. While Pregnancy centers may differ by location in what they can offer to their clients, two things that they all have in common are that they speak for LIFE and offer HOPE.
Visit Adoption.com/unplanned-pregnancy for more guidance on your crisis pregnancy.