Are you an expectant parent? You may find yourself in a pregnancy that may be in a less than ideal situation. And that is ok. You are becoming a mom or a dad. Yes, you are going to have a baby, but the reality is, you became a parent as you think about your baby’s future. You may not think your pregnancy is a good thing because the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy might be considered a crisis. But, make no mistake, your child is a blessing. You choosing to make a life plan for your child is a good thing. You chose life. So, remember that you are choosing love. This article will lead you in the right direction if you need and are wondering “how do I choose a good crisis pregnancy center near me?”
What Is a Crisis Pregnancy Center?
A Crisis Pregnancy Center, also known as a Pregnancy Resource Center is a place to go for women who have an unexpected pregnancy. These centers serve women through all stages of pregnancy and afterward as well. Keep in mind that these centers will not support or provide aide in abortions and will, instead, encourage the path of adoption or how to begin the parenting stages. However, if you have chosen to have an abortion, a good crisis pregnancy center will assist with counseling.
Looking around for a good crisis pregnancy center is not exactly like shopping or looking for a mechanic or department store. Many places of business advertise in big bold signs, TV commercials, and radio spots. Unfortunately, finding a good crisis pregnancy center is not always that easy to find. Unlike many businesses, crisis pregnancy centers are non-profit. Many crisis pregnancy centers do not receive government funding, which, in other words, means limited funding. This means that there are only one or two paid staff, and the rest are volunteers. This means that advertising funds are limited, if at all, and that many of the advertising comes through word of mouth and through the faith-centered community. Much of the funding comes through private donations and grants from the community. There seems to be a considerable uphill battle because the news media does not give major news slots to these services or highlight these efforts as often.
However, you can always find a good crisis pregnancy center. Many are hiding in plain sight, so to speak. You just need to know what to look for. First, if you do a word search on Google, be careful not to click the first listing–it may be an ad that takes you elsewhere. Type in “Crisis Pregnancy Center,” and then the name of the biggest town or city in your area. Be aware that you may come across some negative articles on crisis pregnancy centers. But do your homework. Second, speak to a trusted person who has experience with crisis pregnancy centers and list the pros and cons. Third, call each crisis pregnancy center to compare each to one another. Third, you need to ask questions about these services provided–lots of questions. The more questions you ask, the more informed your decision will be.
Here are a few questions you need to ask when searching for a good crisis pregnancy center.
Where Is the Center Located?
The first item that most people look for is location. It would be nice to have a good crisis pregnancy center on every block. But the fact of the matter is that these centers exist at about the rate of one per major town or small city. Major cities will have multiple clinics available, so you should be able to access on at your convenience. But even if you live in a rural area and have to travel an hour to get to one, it is well worth the time and travel.
Are the Services Free?
A good crisis pregnancy center does not charge for services. Whether it is a free pregnancy test, a free ultrasound, counseling, a free Sexually Transmitted Infection test (STI), or if you simply need free diapers or baby wipes, the vast majority centers will not charge for those services. As explained above, these services are funded through grants and donations, and the staff and volunteers realize that women entering the premises are sometimes in dire need. Why add to the trauma of an unexpected pregnancy by adding a financial burden? Financial worries should not be a reason not to get help.
Do the Crisis Pregnancy Centers Serve Birth Fathers?
Yes, it is the woman who is carrying the child, it is the woman who will carry the child to term, and it is the woman who will experience labor and delivery. And it is the woman who will make the choice of whether to raise the child or to place him or her in a loving home. However, the reality is that the birth father participated in the conception of the child. If he took part in making the baby, he can take responsibility for deciding that child’s future. A good crisis pregnancy center will have services for men as well as women. Whether that be assisting his significant other in the labor and delivery room, to education on finances, housing, and becoming a father, men have a role to play as well, and these centers can assist in these areas.
Do the Centers Perform Ultrasounds?
Seeing is believing, in some cases. If you see your baby, you will most likely keep your baby. Do you want to know what your baby looks like, while in your womb? Do you want to count those fingers and toes? Do you want to see and feel your baby kick? A crisis pregnancy center that has an ultrasound is the perfect place to go to have that performed. These centers will do this free of charge and with no obligation. As a matter of fact, most women who face an unexpected pregnancy, when seeing an ultrasound of her baby, decide to keep and raise the baby herself.
Do Crisis Pregnancy Centers Have Qualified Medical Staff?
A good crisis pregnancy center has qualified medical staff on board. These staff and personnel will be certified to perform ultrasounds, give STI tests, determine how far along you are in your pregnancy, and make medical referrals, if possible. And you won’t need insurance to receive services.
Do the Centers Offer Sexually Transmitted Infection Tests?
It is always good to know if you have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). Some crisis pregnancy centers will test for that. The center will give you information on how to treat it and make a referral to a specialist, if necessary. It is a scary thing, but you don’t have to go through it alone.
Do the Centers Perform Adoption Referrals?
Most women who face crisis pregnancies decide to keep and raise the baby. But if you are unable or unwilling to do so, the crisis center will give you a referral to a good adoption agency that will walk you through the process. The adoption option should always be available, and there is no shame in placing a child in a home who you know can provide a better future for your child.
Are the Centers Faith-Based?
Many people do not believe in God, and that’s fine. But many people do. If you do, you can rest assured that the people who are serving you are on the same page when it comes to faith issues. Staff at crisis pregnancy centers that are faith-based will respect your viewpoints, will pray for you if you want, and will put you in touch with clergy and other like-minded people. Please note and be aware that many faith-based centers will not give abortion referrals, nor will the centers promote the use of contraceptives. Many faith-based centers believe that abstinence if you are not married, is the best form of birth control. Many faith-based centers believe that a good relationship with your significant other and relationship with God are the best cures in preventing a future crisis pregnancy.
Do Crisis Pregnancy Centers Have Crisis Counseling?
Staff at crisis pregnancy centers are fully aware of the fact that many pregnancies are, in fact, the result of a crisis. Whether the pregnancy was the result of a rape, incest, human trafficking, or the threat of being thrown from a parents’ house, these are traumatic experiences in connection with the pregnancy. Staff and personnel realize that the trauma may last well after the baby is born. These centers will be there to help you.
Are the Centers Connected to a Maternity Home?
This is incredibly important, especially if you are facing potential homelessness. A maternity home is a safe place for pregnant women to go to prepare to give birth and to live a while after the baby is born. Maternity homes give housing, prenatal classes, clothing, diapers, formula, etc. This is the perfect place for women who do not have natural support and have nowhere to go.
Do Centers Offer Education?
A good crisis pregnancy center will have a good education on a multitude of subjects, whether it through an onsite library, or pamphlets, or in-person classes, or a good catalog of websites. Some centers will give you credit for each class completed–those credits can be used for items such as diapers, formula, or baby clothes on site. Here are some topics that may be included.
-Adoption. An adoption is a beautiful option. Though a woman who experiences a crisis pregnancy may keep and raise her own baby, there are a significant number of women who choose to place the child in a loving home for adoption. These adoption agencies will help you make a Life Plan for your child. This is a plan which will match you with an appropriate family who shares your values. The agencies and centers will help you to locate an attorney who will help you to relinquish your parental rights and possibly help you to formulate an open adoption with the adoptive family. You aren’t giving up on your baby if you choose adoption. You are choosing life.
-Prenatal Care. A good crisis pregnancy center will not only have information on good prenatal care for you and your baby but will also put you in touch with the appropriate health institutions that will help you in your situation. Good prenatal information will contain the stages of development of your child, what type of diet is good for you and your baby, and what habits you need to stay away from. It will also contain the types of vitamins and natural supplements you need to take for your baby.
-Labor and Delivery. You should have information on how to prepare for the big day. Both you and your significant other should know what to expect in terms of your water breaking, contractions, dilation, etc. And if you don’t have a friend or family member to help you in the delivery room, a crisis pregnancy center may be able to help you.
-Raising Your Own Child. If you find yourself in a crisis pregnancy and decide to raise your own children, you have made a brave choice. No doubt, you will need help. But the education of child-rearing is indispensable. You will need as much information as possible.
-STIs. Many women who enter a crisis pregnancy center do not know if she has a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). This may be a scary idea. But a good center will test for free. Some STIs are lifelong but can be treated and managed. Some are temporary, but none should be ignored.
-Abortion. A good crisis pregnancy center will not aid or help or support in performing or advising an abortion. Instead, these centers will give you the truth and education about abortion. You need to be educated about what abortion does to your baby and what it does to you, physically and emotionally. A good crisis pregnancy center is there as an alternative to abortion, and are there as another viable choice that will empower women, not destroy hopes and dreams for the future. A good crisis pregnancy center will also provide post-abortion counseling as many women will suffer from post-abortion depression. Again, crisis pregnancy centers will not support or aid in an abortion.
Despite the myth that Pro-Life advocates only care for a woman only up to birth, crisis pregnancies do exactly the opposite. But, choosing a good crisis pregnancy center is no easy task, especially if you feel you are being pulled in a million different directions. But knowing that there will be someone there for you before, during and after the process, will set your mind at ease. You will know that you can have peace of mind, knowing that someone is there to care for you and your baby’s needs, without judgment.
Derek Williams is an adoption social worker and has been in the field of child welfare and behavioral health since 2006, where he has assisted families in their adoption journey. He and his wife started their adoption journey in 1993 and have 8 children: 6 of which are adopted. His adoption children are all different ethnicities including East Indian, Jamaican, and Native American. He loves traveling with his family, especially to the East Coast and to the West Coast and is an avid NY Mets fan! Foster care and adoption is a passion and calling for Derek, and he is pleased to share his experiences with others who are like-minded.