The support given by parenting program advocates impacts a patient's life in general and can translate into positively affecting her spiritual life as well.
Carrie had planned to abort and was actually on the table at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. The ultrasound technician asked her, “You don't want to be here, do you?”
Carrie got up from the table, paid for the ultrasound, and walked out of the clinic.
On the sidewalk she encountered someone who had been praying near the clinic; that person told her about Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center, located across the street. Carrie went inside, received an ultrasound, learned about all of her pregnancy options, and heard about LifeSteps, the center's parenting program. She enrolled and completed LifeSteps and eventually gave her life to Christ.
Carrie now serves as as a Bible study facilitator for the program.
“She went from being an abortion-minded patient and choosing life to accepting Christ and now leading a Bible study,” said Cindy Hand, LifeSteps director.
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Programs like LifeSteps and Baby & Me provided by True Care Women's Resource Center in Casper, Wyoming offer opportunities to know about and develop a relationship with Christ as well as provide ways to “enhance a patient's learning,” said Rebecca Tharp, program director of Baby & Me.
Sarah, one of True Care's Baby & Me patients who was a college student enrolled in the program, gave her life to Christ, and eventually married of the father of her baby. He also became a Christian and the couple, along with their new baby, began attending a local church.
Sarah, as well as other Baby & Me patients, learn from advocates who are mothers about the role and responsibility of parents. The fathers-to-be are welcome to take part in the sessions as well, Rebecca said. Topics taught include what happens during each trimester, breastfeeding, SIDS and shaken baby syndrome, childhood nutrition, and budgeting.
The relationships established and the knowledge gained help abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable women find hope and gain confidence, all primary objectives of a center's parenting program.
“We tell patients, 'we're going to support you to be the best mom and dad you can be,'” said Cindy.
“Our goal is to help these women raise emotionally healthy children, to love themselves and their child,” Rebecca stated.
To help them discover that love of self, the advocates model the love of Christ, accepting each patient where she is. Whether the woman proclaims Christ and begins, or renews, a faith walk during the Baby & Me sessions or not, a seed is planted and each girl knows she is loved and accepted by her advocate.
“I model Jesus through compassion and edification towards my girls,” said Leannette Clapp-Meyer, Baby & Me program advocate. “Christ is brought forth … when I look at them and say, 'I'll be praying for you' or 'I admire your strength to save your child when all odds are against you.' They truly warm my heart and make me want to be a better advocate. Bottom line: I am blessed by them – I love them.”
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“I tell our girls that we care about them in a holistic health care manner ... not only do we care about them physically, mentally, and emotionally, but we care about them spiritually as well and (that the) advocates pray for them throughout the duration of the time that they are pregnant,” Rebecca said.
Discovering encouragement and love from her advocate, seeing Christ modeled and then accepting His love and grace happened to one of Jeanne Hopkins' Baby & Me patients. Twenty-one-year-old Kori seemed excited about possibly being pregnant, but her boyfriend did not.
They came to True Care together, and as the ultrasound was administered and he came into the room, Jeanne noticed his countenance was not one of a happy dad-to-be. Kori signed up for Baby & Me and not long thereafter, her boyfriend kicked her out of their shared apartment. Kori embraced her Baby & Me sessions, accepted Christ when presented with the opportunity, began attending a local church, and impressed Jeanne on many levels.
“She never missed a session and took every lesson to heart,” Jeanne said. “We talked about her life, but she never seemed defeated. She would be tired and stressed but always optimistic. She always had a smile on her face when we met.”
Kori's new-found faith played a strong part in her life. Between community agencies and church help, she found a new apartment and employment. She delivered a baby boy and though there were complications during delivery, mom and baby are faring well.
“I was not alone in my pregnancy,” Kori said. “True Care and the Baby & Me program helped me so much, and I couldn't be more grateful!”
This is part 3 in a 3-part series featuring the diverse parenting programs offered at pregnancy help organizations. Next Thursday, learn how these programs can impact lives for Christ. See part 1 here and part 2 here.