Early last week I received an urgent message from a girl who attends a local university in Colorado who was two months into an unplanned pregnancy. She didn’t know how she was going to finish school while pregnant and parenting. How would she tell her parents, professors, and family? All very valid questions and concerns.
After speaking with her for almost two hours on the phone, she began to see that she could do it. She was excited, but still in need of something: getting an ultrasound. She knew that she had a baby growing but what did that look like, or sound like? This was the final step in making her pregnancy really real for her and her boyfriend, ensuring that continuing this pregnancy and being firm in that decision in front of her family and friends was possible. But her circumstances were much like most other students. She is under a family insurance plan and didn’t want to go to the doctor under it because she hadn’t told them yet. I referred her to a local Pregnancy Resource Center in Denver, and that next week she went with her boyfriend. It was that moment that her entire attitude changed. She sent me a picture of the ultrasound and told me the heart rate. It was a moment unparalleled by any other that she experienced with her boyfriend who had cried with joy for their baby. Without this pregnancy resource center, this experience might not have been possible.
Although she never contemplated an abortion, she fits into a large category of young women who find themselves pregnant in college, the category pro-lifers need to be supporting better. And that is the mission of SFLA’s Pregnant On Campus Initiative. Through this initiative, students have brought hope and help to college campuses by identifying, improving, and expanding resources for pregnant and parenting students on their college campuses and in the surrounding community.
Because of my work helping students help their peers, I knew what this young mother needed. I talked with her about how she was going to tell people she is pregnant, of which some would likely advocate abortion. I connected her with her school’s Students for Life group, who were working very hard that week talking with the administration about what is available for pregnant and parenting students. What an amazing job they did because the administration, although they do not advertise these resources, is offering a unique individualized plan that fits the needs and wishes of this pregnant student who will soon be parenting. The resources range from larger desks in her classes, to lactation rooms, individual studies with her professors, maternity leave, family housing, and help with any costs she cannot afford for school. The Students for Life group has played an incredible role in their support for her and continuing to help her throughout her years at the university. After letting her know of the resources available to her, she was beyond excited to continue her pregnancy. I think too often in unplanned pregnancies, young women do not feel the love and support they absolutely need, which is vital. By the simple act of reaching out to someone in need, showing them you will walk that journey with them, getting them the resources they need, that person can change her perspective on her pregnancy.
We know now that we have a mother and a new baby to support and love in our community here in Denver and that gives us the motivation to continue to fight for resources!