Submitted by Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre
“I can’t have a baby right now. I want my life – I want to go to school, and then work for awhile and then have a baby. Just not right now.”
That is how 18-year old Amelia* opened the conversation as she flopped down in a chair in the counseling room at the Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre. She sounded nonchalant and tried to be brave about it, but the tear rolling down her cheek told a different story.
The Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre (LPCC) has been open since November 2013, and Amelia’s story is not unique. In just a few short years, almost 500 women have come
through the front doors, all with their own unique, and often heart-breaking, stories and situations.
The mission of LPCC is to be a safe place for women and men facing an unplanned pregnancy to receive accurate information on all their options, without judgment or condemnation – just compassion and care.
Statistics tell us that approximately 40% of pregnancies across the country are unintended, a number which represents so many women in Canada every year who are faced with making a life-changing decision. Pregnancy care centres are there to walk with these women as they make those decisions, to ensure that they know that they’re not alone.
For Amelia, abortion seemed to be the only option. Just finishing high school, she had her whole life ahead of her. The possibilities were endless – post-secondary education, a career, travel. But all of those things seemed to be gone, in the face of an unplanned pregnancy.
Many women come to LPCC looking for a free pregnancy test, but more valuable than the free test is the knowledge that someone is there with her when the results come up. LPCC is not a medical facility – all pregnancies need to be confirmed by a doctor. We don’t have special pregnancy tests – just a deep desire to provide a listening ear in a very difficult time.
We strongly respect a woman’s right to choose and are committed to journeying with our clients, whichever option they choose. Our clients are making a life-changing decision and they need to know that they’re not alone.
Just like when making any major decision, it’s important to have all the information before making a choice. The LPCC offers full and accurate information on all three options – abortion, adoption & parenting – as our clients want to hear about them.
Amelia came into the Centre seeing abortion as her only choice, but she also wanted to talk about her other options. After learning about what an abortion procedure would entail and the possible long-term emotional struggles an abortion can bring, Amelia asked about parenting. While she didn’t know how that could possibly work out, there was a hint of longing in her voice as she talked about the idea of being a mom.
LPCC is just one of many helping agencies in Lethbridge, and we have developed fantastic working relationships with many other organizations within the city.
For our clients who are interested in parenting but don’t see how that could be possible, we are able to show them that there is help available. This can look like so many things – helping our clients look for suitable housing, finding employment training possibilities, helping apply for daycare subsidies, or finding tangible resources like the food bank. Within the Centre itself, there is a clothing room with maternity and baby clothes, all generously donated by the community, that our clients can access once a month until their baby is two years old. For our moms who are struggling with finances after baby is born, we are able to help out with diapers and formula as we help them find ways to budget and support themselves and their baby.
When Amelia left the Centre that day, she’d received information about abortion procedures, including the physical and emotional risks that come along with that. She’d found out that if she chose to parent, there were agencies within the city that would come alongside and help her. She had learned about open adoption, that adoption can look quite different now than it used to. Amelia’s situation was no different than when she’d walked into the Centre – she was still pregnant. But she knew she had options, and she knew that there was someone there who cared for her, whatever option she chose.
For the staff and the volunteers of LPCC, that is why they are there. To walk alongside women and men in crisis – to let their clients know that they are loved and that they have value. To build relationship, and through that relationship, share the hope and love that we have been given.
For some women, however, that love and hope is needed after the decision has been made. Every year, tens of thousands of women in Canada make the decision to place their child for adoption or to terminate a pregnancy. These women are left grieving, and often feeling that they have no one to turn to. Complete love and acceptance permeate through the grief groups that LPCC offers to these women who find themselves struggling after their decision.
“I couldn’t do it – I just couldn’t do it. My abortion appointment was this morning, but I just couldn’t go – I couldn’t do it.” Amelia’s eyes shone with tears as she spoke. “I know it’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to have my baby. I know that I’ll have help and I can do this, because I’m not alone.”
This charity has been certified by the Canadian Council of Christian Charities. Charities that display our Seal of Accountability demonstrate ongoing compliance with high standards of financial and organizational integrity. To find out more about this charity or other Certified charities, visit giveconfidently.ca.