While the internet rages with heated debate over some of the country’s latest pro-life abortion restrictions, one woman is creating a space of hope and help on Facebook.
Late Sunday evening, Beth Rahal uploaded an album to her Facebook page with a selection of 25 gentle graphics on topics related to the various needs of women. In the caption for each graphic, she listed a number of resources pertaining to the need named in the graphic. Her hope? To let women know of the vast network of support that surrounds them—even in the most trying circumstances.
At the top of the post, she wrote,
This is not a post for debating abortion. This is a post simply to let you know that there are people out there who care about you. There are people who genuinely want to help, and there are so many organizations that have the resources to meet your needs. You are not alone.
While I can’t speak to every single challenge that you are facing, I want to give you a starting place. On these posts, you will find a variety of different situations and concerns. I have shared a short list on each to direct you to organizations that will have more in depth knowledge on the resources that you are seeking.
Soon, the post took off, climbing into the hundreds of shares. By Wednesday morning, it had more than 6,000 shares across Facebook.
“There’s only so many times you can insert yourself in the comments, and try to defend life and try to direct people to help,” she told Pregnancy Help News. “And at a certain point, you have to step out and say, ‘Okay, what can I do? Just me? What’s my expertise? Where do I help?’ My expertise is resources, so I figured, I’ll take a couple days, make some graphics, and put together all of the resources I know off the top of my head.”
Those resources reside cozily in Rahal’s head thanks to the six years she spent developing the Pregnant on Campus Initiative for Students for Life of America. Serving as director of the program until last year, she was admittedly “obsessed” with discovering resources, finding solutions, and researching policies to help pregnant and parenting students thrive in high school and college.
Together with student groups, she worked to ensure that diaper decks and lactation rooms were available on campuses, and promoted Title IX policies to help students navigate, address, and resolve cases of pregnancy discrimination. In doing so, she helped students get financial aid reinstated, stay in class, and remain on sports teams.
“(Helping) pregnant and parenting students is my heart and soul,” said Rahal. “That is my area of expertise, it is where I have helped most. It is the place where I have spent the most time investing the research and figuring out, ‘How do we actually work with pregnant students to help them not only choose life, but to help them stay in school?’”
“More and more students are knowing that they can be moms and be students, it just gets me so psyched!”
Along with education assistance, Rahal’s popular Facebook post lists a number of resources, starting with Heartbeat International’s Option Line—a 24/7 helpline that connects callers to a local pregnancy help organization to walk with them in their time of need. Last year alone, Option Line provided life-saving support to more than 400,000 contacts around the world.
Other resources Rahal lists include the Abortion Pill Reversal Network (also managed by Heartbeat International), the National Safe Haven Alliance, Catholic Charities, the National Diaper Bank Network, Feeding America, post-abortion healing ministries, help with affordable childcare, and perinatal hospice and palliative care for those whose unborn babies have been given a fatal diagnosis. She also points to resources such as La Leche League for breastfeeding support, Embrace Grace for church support groups, and resources concerning pregnancy-related health conditions such as hyperemesis gravidarum.
“My goal was to make this information as accessible as possible,” Rahal said. And with thousands of shares across Facebook, her post is certainly reaching that goal.
“I think people need the opportunity to share hope,” she said. “They need to see that we have so many fantastic resources on our side. Even resources that are not explicitly pro-life, resources that are in the community, resources that are provided by the state. Resources that are provided by churches and different specialty groups.”
Tweet This: We have so many fantastic resources on our side to help women in need. #prolife
Still, Rahal admits that her post—which includes contact information for about 80 different resources—isn’t exhaustive of all the help that is actually available. To fill in the remaining gaps, she invites others to chime in with additional resources and encouraging words to mothers in need.
Beth with her husband and two children
Beth with her sister, Anna, and mother, Kathleen | Photos Courtesy: Beth Rahal
“Let’s step away from the ugly Facebook comments and let’s start saying, ‘We’re not going to attack you, we’re not going to degrade you, we are not going to make you feel that you are unworthy in this conversation or that you are unworthy in seeking help,’” she said. “And instead we’re going to say, ‘Here’s what we can do for you. We can’t solve everything for you. There are still gonna be challenges. I’ll be the first to tell you that motherhood is hard. It’s really hard, even in the best of circumstances. But all of that being said, all that considered, we can help you take one step forward.’ And that’s what matters at the end of the day. People just need hope.”
Tweet This: Here are 80 ways we can help pregnant women take one step forward. #prolife
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