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Daughter’s unwed pregnancy led to parents’ support group

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–A couple whose daughter’s unwed pregnancy dramatically changed their lives are letting other parents know of hope beyond the pain of the crisis.
Luther and Anne McIntyre organized “Especially for Parents,” a weekly support group for parents dealing with the pregnancy of a teenage or unwed daughter.
Parents meet at their Louisville, Ky., home on Thursday evenings. Although only a few couples have attended since the group began more than a year ago, Luther said they have also served as an information and referral source for other parents.
“The most beneficial thing we do is provide a support mechanism for people to be heard,” he said. “They can safely say what they think and feel.”
They also share insights, such as the reluctance of some doctors to treat unmarried pregnant women, and the privacy and legal issues a family faces during an adoption.
The group is sponsored by St. Matthews Baptist Church, where the McIntyres received counseling during their daughter’s unplanned pregnancy four years ago.
The affiliation also led to the church supplying two mentors to group members’ daughters who needed a confidante outside their family.
Associate pastor Dave Stancil said he thinks Especially for Parents will grow as word spreads of the service.
“It’s not like it doesn’t happen,” he said of the nation’s 1 million out-of-wedlock pregnancies each year. “It’s just a matter of steering people to the right resources.”
“Sometimes it’s hard for parents to open up and make an effort to talk to someone they don’t know,” observed Anne, a nurse at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Louisville.
“It’s something you think about but you never think will happen to you.”
In the McIntyres’ case, their daughter’s pregnancy occurred her freshman year of college.
Luther, then a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote about their experience for Home Life magazine two years ago. They sell reprints of the article as one of the resources offered by Good News Publishing, which McIntyre organized after he graduated.
“I was on an evangelism track in the school of theology,” said the former instructor at the University of Virginia. “I would like to be teaching but, for now, we find ourselves here operating this publishing business. It changed our plans 180 degrees.”
He has also written two books, “Help for Hurting Parents” and “Whose Child is This? A Biblical View of Adoption,” which have sold more than 5,000 copies. He markets them primarily to crisis pregnancy centers, adoption agencies and churches.
In October his company released a devotional journal aimed at helping expectant mothers reflect on their experience and learn how it affects others.
As the support group grows, Luther hopes to write another book as a guide to help parents in other states establish similar efforts.
“The thing that’s important about this ministry is the need for support doesn’t stop,” he said. “Healing takes place continually. Everything doesn’t stop and is fixed after the baby is born.”
For the McIntyres, there has been a pleasant conclusion to their daughter’s choice to give birth. Her child was adopted by another family and last spring she married after her college graduation.
They also have been through the birth of a grandchild to one of the couples in their group, which Anne describes as a joy.
“It’s been very rewarding for us, knowing we can give our experience to someone to help them understand what they’re going through,” she said.
“I think the main thing we try to give families is encouragement and letting them know there is going to be light at the end of the tunnel. Although they wouldn’t have chosen for (their daughter) to be pregnant, there are certainly a lot of blessings that come out of it.”

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  • Ken Walker