A positive pregnancy test can bring a myriad of emotions. Joy, relief and excitement are often experienced if the woman is trying to conceive. However, for those whose pregnancies are unplanned (nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States) alarm, fear, worry and hopelessness are more common, especially if they are not supported by a partner. Many of these women are uninsured, have low-income and are already facing financial hardships. Struggling to meet their own needs, their fear may be more than just of having a child, it may be of being unable to provide food or housing for that child. Although there are agencies and support available, these women may be overwhelmed, unaware of these resources.
Our nonprofit clinic, Sierra Pregnancy and Health (SPH) is one of these places. Just this week, a young woman, assuming she was a few months pregnant but too nervous to take an in-home test, came to our clinic. Already a mother to an 18-month-old, lacking support from the baby's uninvolved father or her own mother (who treated her first pregnancy as the "ultimate mistake") she had real fear of losing her housing.
As the young woman tried to fill our her introductory paperwork, she kept looking at the large sign in the lobby of Sierra Pregnancy and Health..."You matter. Your story matters. Your voice matters. Always"...and was soon sobbing. It had been a long time since anyone had told her that she mattered! Her world came crashing in around her as our test confirmed that she was 24 weeks pregnant. But this time she was not alone! At our clinic she found compassion, resources, community and hope. We were able to support and guide her, giving her vital information which helped transform her story from tragedy to triumph.
How can you help women like this?
-Be aware of local resource centers. Share their posts on social media so that others will know about them and be able to refer someone in need.
-Support local resource centers, many of which are non-profits and need funding.
-Moms in unplanned pregnancies frequently struggle to afford diapers and not uncommonly reuse them when they run out. Help keep a local agency well supplied by hosting a diaper drive!
Supporting new mothers helps strengthen them, leading to strong babies and families, which ultimately strengthen our community!
Tricia Lewis is the Executive Director at Sierra Pegnancy + Health (SPH), a FREE, faith-based, non-profit medical clinic located in Roseville, CA. SPH provides free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, prenatal vitamins, parenting education and physical support, as well as reproductive loss support. For more information, contact SPH at info@SierraPH.org or call 916.624.8990.