The cost of being a teen mom

2013 Graduates of the Teen Parent School Program. Photo credit: The Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers

Each year, over 700,000 American teens, ages 15 to 19, become pregnant. According to the Guttmacher Institute (2008), over 425,000 teen pregnancies result in births. Unfortunately, about 180,000 of these teen pregnancies end in abortion, and about 100,000 end in miscarriage. While shows like 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom sometimes glamorize the struggles of these young girls, being a teen mom is a costly and demanding sacrifice. It is a sacrifice that takes a great deal of courage and support.

These days, the costs of prenatal care and delivery can be quite steep. In a January 2013 study, data showed that women with insurance (commercial or Medicaid) paid an average of $3,400 out-of-pocket. A teenage girl may not have these finances. So how is a teen mom supposed to finish school and be a parent?

Meet Leah Broulliet. At 16-years-old, Leah became pregnant. After months of trying to deny the truth, she finally revealed her pregnancy to her family. While Gabby’s father was not in the picture, Leah had the support of her family and the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanders. The Maine Children’s Home was instrumental in helping Leah complete her high school education and raise her young child. With this support, Leah and her daughter are looking forward to life beyond the Children’s Home.

Finding support is critical for women facing unplanned pregnancies.Leah was able to overcome the challenges of teen pregnancy because she had the help of her family and the Children’s Home. However, others may still be searching for resources to assist them.  There are hundreds of maternity homes and pregnancy resource centers across the United States. To find the support that you or your friend may need, please check out: www.optionline.org.

 

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. The original article and video featuring Leah Broulliet can be found here: The cost of being a pregnant teen (Kaitlyn Chana, WLBZ).

Tulane Students for Life: Rising to the Challenge

Opposition on campus is tough to overcome. However, pro-life students are confident in the great impact of their education and resources. They rise above the challenges of their campus to meet the needs of women and families in their community.

Meet Tulane Students for Life.

Tulane SFLDefending life-affirming options for women is no easy task on the Tulane campus. Time and time again, Tulane has proven to be a hostile campus concerning pro-life matters. After chalking the campus with pro-life messages, the group returned to find pro-choice messages surrounding their chalk display. Twice, others have attempted to stop the group from chalking. Complaints stemming from a school newspaper article even went so far as the Huffington Post and local news. A conference entitled “Don’t Chalk About It, Talk About It” was organized to discourage the group’s chalking.

Rising above their critics

Despite the opposition, many students are willing to dialogue with Tulane Students for Life. Megan Alfonso, Tulane SFL President, says, “Those who are also pro-life on campus seem to have a sense of relief and encouragement when they see us, knowing that there are others who share their view on campus.” When I asked Megan what was the most fulfilling project this year, she confidently affirmed that tabling. “Tabling on campus has been the most fulfilling project this past year. We set up a table and a sign saying “Should abortion remain legal” with yes and no sides. The dialogue that we engage in with these students is so fulfilling because we are able to share truth about life and the dignity of the unborn as well as get to know and understand people who have differing views.”

Education AND resources

Moreover, these students know that being pro-life expands beyond education. You need to provide real solutions for women in unplanned pregnancies. For this reason, Tulane Students for Life offers information about pregnancy resources whenever they table. “Pregnancy resources are so important on a college campus because they spread awareness to women that there are people who will support them and their decision to choose life. They allow women to make an informed choice and not feel like they have to choose abortion due to a lack of resources.”

Tulane Students for Life does more than tabling! The group had a team in the Born to Run 5K Run/Walk, an event held by the Women’s New Life Center to raise funds for their efforts to assist women in unplanned pregnancies. The group also hosted Feminists for Life President, Serrin Foster. After Serrin’s talk, the students began discussions with her about hosting a pregnancy resource forum in the future.

Now it’s YOUR turn.

Tulane Students for Life are hosting a baby shower for women in crisis pregnancy situations throughout New Orleans– and they need your help! The students will be supporting 6 mothers (and possibly more). Currently, they are fundraising to buy items for these women. Much needed items include clothing, diapers, strollers, formula, and toys. Many of these women are living in local maternity homes, and they will most likely not have a baby shower of their own. Will you help Tulane Students for Life create a special event for these women?

The group needs $600 to meet their goal. Will you join this effort? 

Click here to offer your support. Thank you in advance for your support!

 

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. To learn about Pregnant on Campus and to join the Initiative, email Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org. With Beth’s help, your group can help women in your community!

The Doctor Will Web Chat With You Now: How Technology Helps Breastfeeding Moms

Mom baby computerYou’re on vacation away from the comforts of home and your 6-month-old is clearly sick, crying and can’t be consoled. Should you race to the local urgent care with an irritable baby only to sit and wait? Is there a better alternative? New communication innovations that bring medical advice to you at a moment’s notice help when you need it most. Whether it’s an emergency situation or simply arranging a regular check-up with a lactation consultant from the privacy of home, online access to doctors and mobile apps make life easier for breastfeeding moms.

1. Get on-demand advice about potentially emergent pediatric health concerns.

Every parent’s heart skips a beat when awoken by a baby with a fever, inconsolable crying or obvious ear pain. Naturally, wanting to ease their baby’s discomfort, parents often pick up the phone to consult a pediatric professional only to be told to schedule an office evaluation. What if your pediatrician or emergency care provider could see your child to rule out the need for an unnecessary drive to the office? Health concerns such as ear infections are known for their telltale pattern of ear pulling and irritability. With a few questions and an opportunity to actually see your child over a Web interface, your doctor could save you a trip to the ER and handle the matter in no time at all, spelling relief for your baby. As an example, MeMD offers online medical consultations on ear infections as well as other health conditions.

2. Consult a lactation specialist online from the comfort of your home.

While some breastfeeding moms are more willing than others to breastfeed in public spaces, some women find it challenging or embarrassing. Sometimes the difficulty arises because the baby is experiencing latching issues. Rather than bundling baby up to go learn a personal activity, you can bring a lactation consultant to your home with webcam technology. Baby and mom can learn the technique from trained lactation specialists in their own natural setting, setting themselves up for success. Popular services such as The New Born Baby and Best Fed Babies specialize in bringing breastfeeding advice directly into your home to offer fast relief and solutions to keep you comfortable.

3. Innovative apps that make life easier for breastfeeding mothers.

Feeling groggy or experiencing vanishing short term memory after too many sleepless nights with the new baby? Mobile apps designed by healthcare providers who understand what breastfeeding mothers go through can help keep you on track for feedings, diapering and more. Try these cool (and free!) mom-centered apps:

  • Breast Feeding Tabulator. Skip the pen and paper by letting your smart device log your breastfeeding activity. This app also allows you to record when you last pumped to coordinate baby feeding scheduling times.
  • Eat Sleep App. “Did I change the baby’s diaper at 9 a.m.? No wait, they were sleeping, right?” This handy app lets you track and coordinate the essentials, eating, sleeping and diapering. Now sleep deprived moms can “book” their own time to eat and possibly get a little down time.

 

This post was contributed by Nancy Stewart. Nancy is a stay-at-home mom, baker and Instagram whiz. For more information about the Pregnant on Campus Initiative, please email Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.

How YOU Can Host a Community Baby Shower

Baby ShowerThe Community Baby Shower event was inspired by the Pro-Life Aggies group at Texas A&M University. The group hosted a “shower” asking shoppers of a local store to purchase diapers, wipes, formula, and baby items to give to the group so they could, in turn, donate these items to a local pregnancy resource center. After their Community Baby Shower, the Pro-Life Aggies donated over $700 in cash and truckloads of baby items!

The popularity and success of the Community Baby Shower has made it a favorite event among pro-life student groups. Students for Life of America has seen thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of needed materials donated to pregnancy centers all over the nation, thanks to our courageous and faithful students. Last year, Students for Life of Ozaukee County, WI (pictured above), gathered $3,000 worth of baby items in one day!

host your own Community Baby Shower!

1) Contact the local pregnancy resource center in your area. Tell them your group wants to collect donations for them from a local store. Be sure to ask them what items they are generally most in need of. Visit www.optionline.org to find a nearby Pregnancy Resource Center that you can help!

2) Contact (by phone or in person) a local grocery store (e.g. Target or Walmart) several weeks or months ahead of time to get permission to host a donation drive outside of their store. Have as much information about the local pregnancy center you’re helping as possible (such as flyers or posters you wish to hang up or hand out), as well as your contact information, in case the manager requests. While not all stores require a letter of recommendation, you may contact Students for Life for a letter, if needed: Sample SFLA Letter of Recommendation.

Community Baby Shower- Promo- Flyer Image3) Once permission is obtained, make signs asking specifically for baby items. For example: “Will you help mothers in need at (name of PRC) by donating diapers, formula, wipes, and other baby items? Thank you for your support.” Also, decorate a jar to have available in case people want to make cash donations or give gift cards to the pregnancy center instead. Make small fliers with contact information for the pregnancy center and their website and address, too. Below is an example flyer you can download and fill in for your group!

**Click here to download flyer**

4) Call to confirm the date of the Community Baby Shower with the store the week beforehand.

5) On the day of the Community Baby Shower, dress comfortably and bring supplies needed. You will need a table or pack and play to place donations and to tape the signs. Place your decorated jar on the table or in a safe but accessible area so that people can easily put donations in it. Also, have someone physically hold the sign with the list of needed items. (People are more likely to read it if is held.) Always listen to store employees if they request that you place the table in a specific location in front of the store.

6) About an hour before you pack up your donations to leave, take down the signs and stop requesting items. That way, people still shopping who intend to donate will not be stuck with baby items that they have no use for because you left!

7) Share your story! Contact Students for Life, and tell us about your Community Baby Shower and how you helped your local pregnancy resource center! By sharing your success, you can become an inspiration to students nationwide!

Other Helpful tips

Whether you are a veteran or just starting out, these tips are helpful to remember for making your community baby shower as successful as possible. Contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator for further assistance to make this a successful event!

Register your group

The next National Community Baby Shower weekend is April 26-27. To ensure groups are not planning events at the same times and locations, please register your group events with Students for Life using the following form:

Oh no! I may be preggo!

MPregnant Woman- Testissed your period? Feeling sick? Witnessing an unusual increase in your spare tire? Before you sound the alarms and brace yourself for the family lecture, pause for a moment to consider your situation. You may be panicking when simply you are late for this month’s visit from Aunt Flo.

Take a deep breath. Let’s go over the basics!

1. Are you sexually active?

If you are sexually active, proceed to #2-4. If your period is late but you are not sexually active, give your doctor a call. Stress, diet, excessive exercise, and other lifestyle changes may be causing your delayed period. Your doctor can work with you to identify the problem and then determine the best course of action to get you back on schedule.

2. When was your last period?

Whether you mark your calendar religiously or you simply wait in anxiety for your T.O.M., take a deep breath and figure out your last period. You may have miscounted, or you could simply be panicking without good reason.

3. How are you feeling?

Early signs of pregnancy may include some of all of the following symptoms: missed period, headaches, tender breasts, nausea, lower backaches. While women’s experiences vary, you may be experiencing a few or all of these signs.

4. Have you taken a pregnancy test?

If you are sexually active, get over to the store, and purchase a pregnancy test. If you are nervous, a friend may be willing to do this for you or accompany you for the trip. Go home, read the instructions, and get to it. Pregnancy tests can identify pregnancy as early as 7-10 days after ovulation. Testing too early may result in a negative test. You should do a second test to be sure that your results are accurate. (See this fact sheet for more information.) If your test comes up positive, schedule an appointment with your doctor to confirm your pregnancy. Even if it is negative, you should consider scheduling a doctor’s appointment to make sure that you are healthy. Your doctor will help determine why you missed your period, examine you for STIs, and address other health concerns.

“I’m PREGNANT! Where can I get help?”

An unplanned pregnancy is often a very emotional time for young women. Please know that you are not alone in this journey. There are thousands of pregnancy resource centers and pro-life organizations across the country that are prepared to assist you in your needs. Please check out our page,  Looking for Help, to guide you through resources for pregnancy support and counseling, adoption, and recommended resources for your various needs. You should also go to OptionLine.org to search for the pregnancy resource center nearest you.

 

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. For comments and questions, please contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org 

Post ALL the Flyers!

Post all the flyersYou’re walking to class minding your own business, and then BOOM! Your eyes rivet to a sheet of bold color with a glaring headline. 

FREE FOOD IN THE QUAD! Come and get it!

Colored across this glorious rectangle is a grease dipping pizza and 3 smiling college students. You’re staaaarving (or so you think), and this flyer reaches out to you right in your moment of need. You weren’t expecting it. You weren’t looking for it. But there is was. By golly, someone did their job right! With these powerful words and saliva-inducing images, that flyer caught your attention, attracted you to the event, and satisfied your need.

This is the power of a flyer. A flyer creates a moment for someone to discover something that they need (e.g. resources, services, opportunities).  It sits quietly on a wall begging to be read by the one person who needs that information. Now, when we are talking about your pro-life group’s outreach efforts, the need to be met is much, much more important than any free pizza event catering to your growling stomach.

Our flyers provide education, hope, help, and support. Our flyers serve to assist women in unplanned pregnancies, offer resources for mothers, and provide healing for post-abortive peers. If you aren’t out there posting and re-posting, noone is going to know about the resources, services, and opportunities that your club offers!

We challenge you to POST ALL THE FLYERS. Check out our selection of flyers for campaigns that you can host on your campus. Pick your favorites, download, and print. Get a team together and split up across campus to cover your campus. Here are some quick tips for a successful campaign:

    • Follow the rules. Some campuses require you to have flyers approved before posting. Go to your Office of Student Activities for this information.
    • Post in easy to view spots. Do not let students cover or rip down your flyers!  If others do this, go back and post another flyer. Check your locations from time to time to ensure that your flyers are still there.
    • Choose high traffic locations on campus. Great spots include the cafeteria, dorms, academic buildings, and bathrooms.
    • Keep posting! Organize your campaigns to last a couple weeks or a full month. Add new flyers throughout the month, and make sure that others posted remain up.

PRINT AND POST. Choose one of these categories, and pick the right flyers for your campus. For more Students for Life of America flyers, go to the Flyers page on our college website: found hereContact Beth for files if needed.

Flyers- Promo

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. For comments and questions, please email Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org

Pro-Life & Pregnant: Lessons from an Unplanned Pregnancy

I am for Life- Online for LifeI came to college with a mission. I was a Jesus-lovin’, baby-savin’, praise-music-beltin’ Mother Teresa in training. Of course, I was naïve and a little silly, but my intention was to share the joy that had blossomed in my heart with a world that desperately needs it. Though I’ve matured and mellowed, I still want to do just that. But, you know, a little less… jangly.

About 30 seconds into freshman year, I found the college’s pro-life club and signed up. By my sophomore year, I was the president. I think that this is due more to accidents of circumstance than my administrative ability, but it was a position that I relished and a cause that I cared about deeply. My now-husband and I spent our free time together doing pro-life work, performing praise and worship music for college events, and playing intramural sports. I got good grades, I didn’t have a drink until I was 21, and I served as an officer of various honor societies, clubs and councils.

And then, I got pregnant.

I stared into my future with dread. I imagined myself looking forward to a life of shattered dreams. My wonderful life, my successes, and a promising future were seemingly ruined by one stupid decision. There was never, ever a possibility that we would abort. But the pain and fear of young lives crippled were very, very real. We were cornered, and I was doomed.

The first thing I realized as the fog lifted on those first few weeks was how arrogant I’d been. I had no idea what a cataclysmic event an unplanned pregnancy can be, even under relatively happy circumstances (e.g. a healthy, committed relationship, family support, a college education). I knew that it was often panic which drives mothers and fathers to the terrible “relief” of abortion, but experiencing an unplanned pregnancy showed me how much empathy I’d been lacking and how essential pro-mother programs (like the Pregnant on Campus Initiative) are.

Next, I got to experience firsthand just how real, how human, how precious the unborn child is. Feeling my son grow within me caused me overwhelming joy. It also brought profound sorrow when I reflected on the legally sanctioned, actively promoted practice of violently destroying these wonderful creatures within their mothers’ own wombs. This strengthened my resolve to see this barbaric crime exposed for what it is and utterly eradicated.

But lastly, and most importantly, I came to understand this, which you have heard before: There is more to pro-life than anti-abortion. There is a reason we use this term, and it is not simply rhetorical. A pro-life person does not simply save the baby; she loves the whole family. She doesn’t stop at not-killing the child, but insists on the child’s inherent dignity and worth. She protects and defends life not just because killing is evil, but because living—just being—is good.

I had heard these things, and I believed them, but accepting them anew, on this side of unplanned pregnancy, changed everything. Reaffirming my pro-life principles meant abandoning my melancholy and embracing joy. Yes, there were struggles. Yes, there was mourning of the plans that I didn’t get to fulfill. Yes, there were arrangements to made, bills to pay, and a whole new life of marriage and parenting to somehow figure out without missing a step. But these things did, and do, hold little weight against the immeasurable good that is a single human life.

The notion that accepting a child at a difficult time would bring about my ruin is an ugly lie. It so permeates our culture that it came to me—me!—in this hour of great distress, and its phantom still creeps into my mind on some endless, sleepless nights. This lie could have destroyed our future, had we accepted it, and locked us inside our own regret. It was the witness of the pro-life community that affirmed our decision to give our child life and encouraged us that it was a beautiful one, filled with hope. Without the conviction that this single life was worthy of making so many demands on us, the challenge would seem utterly impossible.

When we stand for life, we must do so in a way that celebrates all of it. The unexpectedly expecting parents find themselves looking not just at nine months, but a lifetime of living with the decision that they make. Not only must we denounce abortion, but we must extol the beauty of humanity. A mother is little comforted by thinking, “I didn’t do that terrible thing.” Instead, I find great peace in knowing that all of this struggle is for something inexpressibly good.

* This post was contributed by Jillian. Jillian is the mother of Joseph Benedict. She hopes that her experience empowers women to embrace the glorious struggle of motherhood and to reject the lies of the culture of death. To share your story, contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.

Cosmo & the A Words

Cosmo March 2014 coverFashion, sex advice, dating tips, and celebrity gossip, Cosmopolitan’s glossy pages dictate what’s hot and what’s not to an audience searching for advice, pleasure, and distraction. As one of the most popular women’s magazines, Cosmopolitan reaches millions of women with each publication and internet post.

In reviewing a variety of Cosmo articles, it is true that the magazine will occasionally provide a quick post on pregnancy-related tips and comments. However, Cosmo’s audience may look no farther than the cover girl’s edited curves for avid promotion of fabricated beauty. (If you’re waiting for stretch marks and hips, don’t hold your breath!)

Looking beyond the superficial, we discovered a few interesting pieces that reveal Cosmo’s relationship with the A words (i.e. abortion and adoption). While we won’t be ripping these magazines from your hands, we do ask that you take a moment to consider the message that Cosmo sends our lady friends, particularly the moms and birth moms among us.  Then, we will discuss how you can combat pregnancy stigma in the media.

What is Cosmo telling women about abortion and adoptionLet’s find out!

“How Our Abortion Changed Our Relationship”

Cosmo- AbortionIn a January 2014 article entitled “How Our Abortion Changed Our Relationship,” Liz Welch shares the stories of 4 couples who chose abortion. She highlights statements from Cecile Richards, President Planned Parenthood and #1 cheerleader for abortion “rights.” Richards comments on a generational shift which has resulted in men becoming more involved in the abortion process. “These men care deeply about the women getting an abortion,” Richards states.

Here’s a quick recap of the couples’ stories:

  • Cindy, 23, shared the story of her 2nd abortion. At the time, she felt that the pregnancy interrupted her plans and that it would present a financial burden.  “I had all sorts of plans, and becoming a mother that young was not one of them.
  • Kristina, 24, talked about the confusion, anger, and emotional turmoil that surrounded her pregnancy and her abortion. I had this idea that once I ended the pregnancy, I’d be fine. But I’m not the same person I was, and I never will be. I felt conflicted…and then angry at myself for feeling that way… I would not do it again.”
  • Brittany, 23, shared the strains in her relationship. “Brandon wanted to come, but I told him not to. Instead, he sent a check for $500… I was so pissed. I thought, I have to get this thing done, and he gets to sleep in? … Later, when I told Brandon I had been 10 weeks along, he Googled what that looked like and the image shocked him. I did not want to see it… I got mad at him a lot that summer. He was going out while I was in bed, watching movies, healing — not physically but emotionally.
  • Emily, 32, said, “It was the humane thing… and it devastated us.” Emily and her husband, Dave, talked openly about the abortion of their preborn son, Aaron Jack. “I thought since I do this for a living that I was going to be fine. But then two days later my milk came in, and I completely lost it.”

With each story, the author allowed for the couples to share openly and honestly, without adding any comments or critique. It certainly took great courage for these couples to discuss these heartbreaking moments with a national audience. Unfortunately, what we read is a great lack of support from the men to seek out other resources and even to be strong for these women when they were going through such turmoil.

Yes, we agree that men should become more involved in women’s pregnancies and in the discussion about options. Yes, we agree that we should hear more of these personal stories about abortion. However, Cosmo has failed their female audience.

Cosmo gave the “okay” for men to hand over a check and wipe their hands of this situation. Sure, the men added a comment or two about their experience, but what good does this serve the women involved and the female audience? Shouldn’t men be offering more than conversation– like compassion and support?

In addition to trivializing the significance of this decision (i.e. that abortion kills a child), this article fails to provide a proactive solution to the problem. Instead of encouraging their audience to seek out resources and a full range of options and support, the article ends abruptly with a suggestion to call Exhale, an organization that supports abortion. The article fails to provide information for resources that could assist other women in similar situations so as to help them make a fully informed decision.

These stories, while difficult, noted common reasons for why women make the desperate and devastating decision to abort their child. Unfortunately, each reason could have been addressed with the right resources. Rather than wait for women to make such a emotionally devastating (and life ending) decision, it would have been appropriate to provide a proactive answer to their female audience by including information for seeking out resources.

Hope is not lost

Cosmo- Adoption

After reading several other Cosmo articles promoting abortion, one would think that all hope is lost for this media empire.  (See here, here, and here.) Nevertheless, a recent article featured the other rarely seen A word– adoption. 

In Liz Welch’s March 20th article, “I Placed My Daughter for Adoption, But I Didn’t Give Her Up,” Jessa Speight shares the confusion, anger, sadness, and eventual peace that she found in adoption. At the end of the article, Jessa emphasizes the empowering choices of the birth moms to whom she now ministers.  “These women leave feeling less alone and more empowered. They realize their lives are not over and that their choice, however painful, was always made out of love for that child.”

With this article, we are grateful that the author took the opportunity to highlight a birthmom and her experience with adoption. This effort acknowledges the hundreds of women who pursue adoption as a loving choice to better benefit their child.

Cosmo: Here’s Your challenge

Let’s be honest. We don’t expect a magazine like Cosmo to ditch the pro-abortion posts and join the chorus of “Abolish abortion!” In a perfect world, it would be wonderful if they opened their eyes to the emotional and physical harms of abortion. For now, our expectations are simpler. We hope that in future posts the magazine will promote a greater support for pregnant women by promoting resources and support. We hope that they will move away from such articles as “How to Handle Your Best Friend Getting Pregnant” (which emphasizes the selfish “betrayal” of friendship caused by pregnancy) and instead promote more life affirming articles like “I Placed My Daughter for Adoption, But I Didn’t Give Her Up.

What Can I Do?

The media has a powerful influence over our society, and it can certainly effect a woman’s morale, decisions, and perceptions of motherhood and pregnancy options. We encourage you to speak out against the stigma against pregnancy and to promote life affirming support and resources. Offer your stories. Share resources. Empower women to make an informed choice for parenting or adoption. Here’s what you can do:

  • Get on social media. On Facebook and Twitter, post pregnancy help information, such as the phone number and services of a local pregnancy resource center. Post life affirming messages, articles, and images. Like and follow groups that offer support, assistance, and encouragement for moms. If you are more tech savvy, create a YouTube channel to offer viewers a peek into the mom life or to promote education about pregnancy, parenting, and available resources.
  • Join social media campaigns. Remember the campaign #WhatWomenNeed? Cecile Richards and her pro-abortion cronies tried to promote abortion, and pro-lifers responded with pregnancy support, resources, and true compassion. Stay alert for social media campaigns like this, and join in the action!
  • Write a blog. If you are a mom, put your fingers to the keyboard! Share your stories, tips, and encouragement. You can also fight against stigma by writing blog posts that counter other blogs to point out misconceptions and assumptions.
  • Get active in a pro-life groupIf you are a college student, join your pro-life group, and encourage them to take part in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative. With more people committed to the same goals, you can make great changes happen!

 

 

 

This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. For comments and questions, please email Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org

 

 

 

 

Creating a Pregnancy Resource Website

UA Pregnancy websiteA common trend among pro-life student groups is to create a pregnancy resource website that is separate from their pro-life student group’s website. This effort helps broaden their audience by avoiding bias that may result from your pro-life position. In turn, these websites provide strictly pregnancy resource information for peers at your school and women in your community.

A pregnancy resource website can be a simple, effective project if organized as a group project. You can assign members to divide areas of research to collect all the necessary information to serve a woman in an unplanned pregnancy situation. Do you have a tech savvy member? Assign them to develop the website. Members can be enlisted to create graphics (or purchase appropriate stock images), and others can be assigned to developing the website content and checking the pages for edits.

Does this project interest your group? Here are some basic steps for developing an effective pregnancy resource website.

1. Decide on your initiative’s title.

It is important that you are clear about the name of your campus initiative and that you are consistent in using it on your website, in promotional materials, etc. This promotes good branding by strategically identifying your actions and activities as affiliated with this initiative. You may call your initiative (your school’s name)‘s Pregnant on Campus Initiative, Pregnant on Campus at (your school’s name), or Pregnancy Resources at (Your school’s name). Choose wisely! Your initiative should be a consistent, lasting part of your ministry; so you don’t want to be changing it every year.

2. Choose your host site.

A host site is a website which provides the tools for you to create and publish your own website. Some host sites that are easy to use and navigate include WordPress.comWix.com, or Weebly.com. These sites offer free blogsites, templates, and more. You may want to shop around and test different templates before deciding on your host site.

3. Pick a domain name.UMiami Pregnancy website

Choose a website domain that accurately describes your initiative. For example, Bama’s site is www.uapregnancy.org, and UMiami’s site is www.umiamipregnancy.org. You may purchase a domain at GoDaddy.com or another domain registry prior to pursuing your host site, or you may choose a domain after registering on one of the aforementioned website hosts.

4. Decide on content.

Content for your pregnancy resource website is critical. You need to decide what information will be most helpful for students at your school. Here are some subjects to consider:

  • School Policies
  • On-Campus Resources: Health center, services, scholarships, support.
  • School Insurance Information
  • Local Pregnancy Resource Centers: Locations, services, contact information
  • Pregnancy Information: Identifying pregnancy, fetal development, health and wellness during pregnancy
  • Resource Guide: Comprehensive guide of campus and local resources (available for download and print)
  • Contact Information: Provide an email address to be reached at, a Facebook page (if applicable), and a contact form (if desired)

Your group may also want to include testimonies from pregnant and parenting students at your school (or elsewhere).

7. Design and messaging sets the tone.

How do you want your site visitor to feel when they land on your site? What do you want them to see and read? As a pregnancy resources website, your site is intended primarily for students who will be curious, confused, and/or desperate. Keep the colors and tone comforting. Your messaging should emphasize hope, support, and compassion. The words, pictures, and videos included throughout the site should be thoughtfully reviewed to consider the viewpoint of the audience.

6. Contact information is key.

Your peers need to know how to reach you! How else can they find support, ask questions, and join your efforts? In addition to providing contact information for campus and local support, your group should have an email address for website visitors to contact you. It is recommended that this is a unique address that is specific to your initiative. For example, yourschoolpregnancy@gmail.com . Your group can easily create a Contact Form using Google Form that can be embedded into the website. (Go to Google Drive > Create > Form.)

7. Keep it current!

Make sure that you are regularly updating and improving your site. Each year, confirm that your sources link and refer to current resources and active organizations. Email should be checked on a consistent basis and promptly responded to. Blog posts should be posted on a frequent schedule to provide interesting, engaging material. Don’t let your site get dusty! Assign a member to update and review content each semester.

8. Update us about your websites.

We want to know what resources are available! Tell us about your site, and we will add it to our campus resources page, and we will keep it on file to promote to students and to aid students seeking help.

Set a goal, and get this done! Make it your group’s goal to create a unique pregnancy resource website by the end of this semester. By expanding your pregnancy resources, you can be one step closer to transforming your community to a pro-life, pro-family environment.

For further assistance on this project, contact Beth with questions, ideas, and comments at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.

You Are Not Alone

Host a Fun Baby Shower for a Classmate

Baby ShowerWhen a friend or classmate becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she needs all the love and support she can get. Show that you are there for her by throwing a baby shower with all of her friends. She will probably need a lot of things to prepare for the baby, and you can help her get excited for the birth of her child.

A baby shower doesn’t have to be traditional to be fun. Invite the girls and the guys over for a casual baby shower that will show your friend how much you all love and support her and her new baby.

Keeping with Tradition

Adding guys to the list doesn’t really change that much. Items such as the date (6-8 weeks before the due date), location (your apartment or the dorm of the mom-to-be, for example) and food will remain the same. You can also still plan to host 2-3 games during the party. Although the games themselves may be a bit different, you can still expect to spend a good portion of the event ooh-ing and ahh-ing over tiny baby socks and oh-so-soft stuffed animals.

Selecting a Neutral Theme

Forgo the over-the-top baby themes and replace them with something a bit more modern. One theme that can play to both guys and girls is the ever popular “Ready to Pop” which allows for some clever food selections (think popcorn, bubble gum, cake pops and apple cider). Or opt for a casual back yard barbecue — if your inner party planner must match it with a theme, try “A Bun in the Oven and Burgers On the Grill.” Whether you need supplies for a boy baby shower or girl baby shower, focus on items that will appeal to everyone, such as bubble gum cigars and custom soda bottle labels.

Baby Shower OutdoorsInvitations

Resist the urge to cover your invite with pink and lace (especially if the baby is a boy!). Etsy offers some great gender-neutral invitation options, but pick your wording carefully as this sets the tone for the event. Instead of “We are hosting a Jack and Jill Party,” try “Join us for Root Beer and Baby Talk.” Remember to pick a date or time that doesn’t compete with finals or a college championship game!

Game Time

Don’t even think about whipping out the “poopy” candy diaper game or guess how big mommy is. Instead, kick up their competitive nature with a bottle “chugging” contest with juice or soda and diaper changing races. If your party includes guests from various circles, start with this ice breaker: Have guests write down a childhood memory without signing their name. Then, give the memories to the mom-to-be, and have her guess which memory belongs to which guest.

The girls and guys are sure to have a good time regardless! So keep the focus on the mom-to-be, and you are sure to hear nothing but praises from your guests.

For more tips on how to host a successful baby shower, check out our online guide here.

 

This post was written by Lauren Rose. Lauren Rose is a Content Advocate. She is very passionate about promoting pregnancy resources across communities and college campuses. In college, she experienced first-hand her best friend getting pregnant. Because of that experience, she is committed to helping girls who get pregnant at a young age.