Unfortunately, unplanned pregnancies are often seen in a negative light in society. For those of us who face them while married and in good health and financial status, an unplanned pregnancy might add a few months of unplanned stress to our lives, but we also know that it can and will add years of unplanned joy.
Sadly, many women struggle to see beyond the moments of stress, and fear leads them down the path to the abortion facility. When they fight that fear as well as the pressure to abort, and ultimately choose life for their child, they are often met with more problems than most of us could imagine. They could be kicked out of their homes. They could lose their jobs and their health insurance. They might feel they need to leave school. They probably feel alone in the world and frightened for their future.
That’s where you come in.
While it’s impossible for you to help every woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, there is plenty you can do to help one woman. That one woman you are able to help will have her sense of hope renewed, even if you never have the opportunity to meet her. Here are some big and small ways you can help a pregnant mother in need — both stranger and friend.
- Always remain positive. One of the hardest parts of facing an unplanned pregnancy is knowing that those around you, even those you are closest to, may not react with joy. The best thing you can do as a friend, or as a volunteer, is show excitement at her pregnancy news. The newly expectant mother is likely feeling a range of emotions and hormones are playing a large part in dictating what she feels at different times. Her conflicting emotions coupled with negative reactions can be devastating. Always remain positive and supportive.
- Offer to drive her to her doctor’s appointments. Many women facing unplanned pregnancies go to their doctor’s appointments alone or they don’t have a way to get to their appointments. Volunteer to drive her and be there with her during the appointments. These visits can often be emotional, especially if the doctor suspects something is wrong with the baby. Having a supportive friend there will help her to feel less alone and more confident.
- Hook her up with your local pregnancy resource center. Local pregnancy resource centers have been getting a bad rap in the news recently with states attempting to pass laws accusing them of lying and forcing them to advertise abortion. But your local pregnancy center is an amazing place filled with volunteers who want nothing more than to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. They assist women with securing health insurance, a doctor, baby gear, formula, and maternity clothes. They also offer parenting classes, help for the mother to continue her education, and even have maternity homes for women who have nowhere else to go or are escaping dangerous situations.
- Donate to your local pregnancy resource center. If you don’t know anyone who is facing an unplanned pregnancy, you can find one at your local pregnancy resource center. You can donate baby gear and other necessities that are desperately needed. Pregnancy resource centers don’t receive any aid from the government and rely on private donations and fundraising events. There are plenty of opportunities for you to donate, whether it’s money or baby items.
- Volunteer at your local pregnancy resource center. If you’d like to become more involved, in addition to or instead of donating, you can volunteer to lend a hand at your local pregnancy center. Many of these centers are run by volunteers and therefore, their hours of operation are limited. They can always use assistance.
- Volunteer to babysit any other children she has so she can get to her doctor’s appointments. Sometimes women facing unplanned pregnancies already have children. Many of them struggle with securing adequate daycare, especially when they suddenly have numerous doctor’s appointments to get to. An offer to babysit, even if she just needs time to rest, will be a Godsend to an expectant mom.
- Host a baby shower for her. Baby showers are always a good time as women gather to welcome a new life into the world. Every new mom deserves that. Even if you don’t personally know an expectant mom in need, you can hold a baby shower to benefit the pregnancy resource center near you. Invite your friends and make it a mom’s night out. Celebrate as if you know this woman personally and have fun! Everyone can bring a gift and you can create a scrapbook of support to give to a mom at the center. But even if that seems like too much, you can hold a virtual baby shower and ask for donations through a registry at a baby store which can be shipped directly to the pregnancy resource center.
- Prepare meals for her. One of the hardest things to do when you get home from having a baby is take care of yourself. Prepare some meals that you can freeze and store for the new mother. That way she can simply pop a homecooked meal in the oven for those days when getting a meal prepared seems impossible. You could also gift her with gift cards to local takeout restaurants.
- Encourage her when times get tough. Having a baby is hard work and an emotional roller coaster. There are going to be days when the fear of the unknown creeps in. Be there to support the new mom as she struggles with those emotions and self-doubts.
- Visit her after the baby’s born. A lot of times mothers feel alone after their baby is born. If their friends don’t have children, they will often slowly disappear from the new mother’s life. And when the baby is unplanned, many times they don’t have the support of a partner or family members. Check in with her and make sure all is well. Help her navigate the first few months of being a mom and assist her in getting to doctor’s appointments for herself and her new baby.
Being a mom is hard enough, and without support it can be downright frightening. Having help from another woman, even one she just met, can make a world of difference for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. Don’t feel that there’s nothing you can do. Instead, do anything you can do. Even if it feels small and insignificant to you, your actions could be some of the best things that ever happened to a woman in need.