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FIRST-PERSON: How pregnancy resource centers help more than babies

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NASHVILLE (BP) – When most people think of a pregnancy resource center, they rightly think first about the babies that are saved. When women are given a chance to see their baby in the womb through ultrasound technology, most will choose to carry the baby to term. But what if I told you that many pregnancy resource centers are also investing time and money to help the mothers (and sometimes fathers) of these babies?

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting a pregnancy resource center in Kansas City, Mo., called Parkville Women’s Clinic. Throughout my visit, I was amazed at all this clinic is doing to serve these vulnerable women. Every single staff member at the clinic cares deeply for the women that come through their doors.

Through care and attention to these mothers, Parkville Women’s Clinic models what it means to be holistically pro-life, valuing the life of the baby in the womb as well as the woman carrying that baby, because all of life is sacred. Many women who come to a pregnancy resource center are scared and don’t know what to do. And if a woman decides to carry the baby to term, the work doesn’t end. In fact, this is when the ministry of this clinic really shines. Here are just some of the things they do to serve parents of babies whose lives are saved through ultrasound technology:

Equipping and education: Mothers have access to Bright Course Lessons, which are digital lessons that can be accessed through their phones or a computer. These courses are very practical, and many are geared toward parenting: Your first trimester, infant temperament, breastfeeding, getting your baby to sleep, etc. Some are designed to help the mother succeed in other areas of life: Preparing for a job interview, staying out of debt, budgeting, domestic violence, relationships, loss and more. The women are able to earn points for products in the clinic’s “store.”

Providing products for baby: Volunteers at the clinic manage an entire room of donated baby clothes, books, diapers and other baby gear that women can get as needed. These are things that a woman in a vulnerable situation benefits from as they prepare for and bring a newborn home. The most common product moms need are diapers and wipes. Pre-COVID, the clinic offered weekly lessons. Any who attended could shop in the store after class. I could tell the staff was thankful for the many donations they receive from the community.

Investing in the dad: Some of the Bright Course Lessons are geared entirely to the father. Being a leader, respect for mothers and co-parenting are just some of the classes offered to expectant dads. They also have trained staff who regularly meet with fathers to help them understand what is going on and how they can be supportive.

To truly support a life, we must support the parents. That means coming alongside them and helping them make choices that will help them and the baby thrive. I’m grateful that Parkville Women’s Clinic sees the innate value of both the baby and parents.

Julie Masson is director of external engagement for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, where this piece first appeared.

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  • Julie Masson