I met Sarah last year on Facebook. She and her boyfriend were homeless. We kept in touch, and the last time we met a few months ago she told me she was eight month pregnant. They were still homeless.
I met two young women, Courtney and Jessica, this year through our local pregnancy center. They were both in high school and trying to process their positive pregnancy tests and what that would mean for their lives going forward.
I have been pondering a friend’s stories about her experience as a foster care parent, and the situations her kids have been through in their short lives.
These experiences and the overturning of Roe v. Wade have been on my mind this summer. I believe that both laws and hearts have to change in order to help the maximum number of women and children possible.
I passionately want to build a culture where babies aren’t seen as an inconvenience to women’s lives. And for that to happen, mothers and families have to be supported. No matter what laws we have in our states, we can get to work immediately building a culture of life in the neighborhoods and towns we live in.
Here are some very practical ways I’ve brainstormed to help support life locally.
Reach out to moms you know.
Whether you’re a mom or not, think of moms in your life, and intuit what might help them. Has your coworker been complaining about lack of sleep due to a struggling toddler? Has the mom in the pick up line behind you mentioned morning sickness struggles? Offer to babysit or bring meals to moms you know. Grab a surprise coffee for your sleepy coworker, or grab some protein-heavy snacks and stickers for the family you see in church who have a new baby.
Look into foster respite care.
Respite care is when you provide foster parents with some time off by watching their kids for a day or two. It does not require the same kind of commitment as foster parenting, but it is a way you can help kids whose parents are struggling. What kind of training it involves varies from state to state, so do some research on what your state requires.
Check out pregnancy centers nearby.
Does your city, or a city nearby, have a pregnancy center? Check in with them to see what kind of support they need. Could they use volunteers? Donations? Help with marketing and outreach? See if you can find a way to match your skill set and time to what they’re looking for. Even just educating yourself on what services the center provides and what resources are available in your town for moms and families is a great place to start.
Consider starting a ministry to support mothers in your church.
One parish I was a part of years ago organized meal trains for new moms in the parish. What a great idea! This would be an excellent way to build a better community in your parish, as well as supporting both women and babies. Parents inquiring into or scheduling baptisms could help you figure out who needed help. Plus, working with the staff at the parish office and trying to coordinate with fellow parishioners in this effort would be a great way to immerse yourself in parish life.