Hope & Life June 2020
The biannual newsletter of Pregnancy Assistance Inc.
Floor Leadership Person in Charge (PiC) Lisette Jas
About Us Message from the Chair
Pregnancy Assistance Bunbury
Kindness goes a Long Way
Changes to Our Operations
Our Lady of Guadalupe Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton
Support Us to Support Others
Deputy Person in Charge (DPiC) Carmel Randazzo
Contact Pregnancy Assistance Inc. Elizabethâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s House 195 Lord Street, East Perth 6004 T 9328 2926 (Office) T 9328 2929 (Counselling) E email@example.com
Visiting Hours Mon - Thu 10am - 3pm Fri 10am - 2pm
Phone Hours You are welcome to visit us in this quiet oasis in the city. Mass is celebrated here and the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in our Chapel. If you would like to celebrate with us or spend an hour with Our Lord in adoration please contact Carmel or Lisette on 9328 2929.
Mon - Thu 9am - 3.30pm Fri 9am - 2pm
After hours by appointment
About Us Who are we and what do we do? Pregnancy Assistance Inc. is an independent Catholic organisation initiated by Emeritus Archbishop Barry Hickey in 1996. We provide compassionate care and emotional, practical and informative support to women in need throughout their pregnancy and post birth. We also offer counselling for women and men impacted by pregnancy loss (miscarriage, still birth and abortion). Our services are extended to all people irrespective of religion, race, demographic or personal values. Our free and confidential services include: • Pregnancy testing • Pregnancy care consultation • Professional counselling • Post abortion care & grief counselling • Accommodation assistance • Future study/employment pathways • Practical support – bassinets, baths, nappies & clothes, maternity clothes • Financial assistance • Advocacy & support services referral Who knocks on our door? Anyone and everyone affected by pregnancy who is in need of a little (or a lot) of help! We provide assistance to pregnant women who are distressed due to one or more of the following; • Unexpected pregnancy
• Relationship breakdown
• Abortion concerns
• Drug addiction
• Financial hardship
• Mental health issues
• Foetal anomaly • Domestic violence • Homelessness • Isolation / loneliness
• Migration • Grief/loss
Our Centre (lovingly nicknamed Elizabeth’s House) in East Perth is open for appointment (telephone or face to face) and allows for popins. Individuals are also welcome to metaphorically ‘knock on our door’ by contacting us via e-mail or Facebook. What method do we use when talking about abortion? We utilise Heartbeat International’s L.O.V.E. approach when pregnant women come to us in distress over whether to keep, adopt out or abort their baby. Pregnancy Assistance was founded on Christian values and offers its services as an alternative to abortion. We believe our counselling approach allows the woman to focus on her own needs. We try to awaken a vision in her for a healthy life for herself and her baby. We share information about options she needs to consider to make a life-giving decision. However, under no circumstances do we believe we have the right to impose upon a woman’s decision. We will continue to support and welcome back individuals who have made choices that differ with the personal values of Pregnancy Assistance’s volunteer base. Who supports us? God supports the operations of Pregnancy Assistance by providing the right resources at the right time. And you are part of that providence! Pregnancy Assistance operates through the generosity of its supporters and we thank you. Your support gives Hope and Life, so please (if you haven’t already) donate and get involved. We especially thank the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth for providing our rental costs.
Message from the Chair Dear Friends of Pregnancy Assistance, Since our last newsletter, our community has felt the impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic, as have many around the world. Our community had to adapt and change to ensure we protect the most vulnerable while being committed to continuing our services. Some of these changes have been small and temporary, while others changes, such as hygienic practices and social distancing, will remain in place for some time. We know in this case while many of the adjustments we have made have been challenging, we can fix our eyes on a hope that is greater than us all and know we are adapting in accordance with His will and good pleasure. It is once again, due to the dedication and commitment of our staff that we have been able to operate during this time in some form. We write about the full changes we made during this season on page 8. Importantly this has meant we have been able to reach some of those impacted by self-isolation and loneliness. It has also meant that those experiencing distress due to unexpected pregnancy, or pregnancy loss can have empathetic care provided at their time of need. These situations do not ‘wait’ for the Coronavirus emergency to end but rather may aggravate issues people are experiencing as they are now coupled with uncertainty, isolation, and less social systems to provide care. We give our sincere thank you to those that have prayed, encouraged us and provided donations during this time. While we haven’t been able to meet face to face, or hold events, we have felt as connected to you as ever and know you believe our Ministry to be a worthy one. I ask for God’s blessing upon our clients, staff, supporters and the Perth community. Stay well, and take care. Laura Craig Chair
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Pregnancy Assistance Bunbury
Pregnancy Assistance at 151 Spencer Street in Bunbury is an agency of the Bunbury Catholic Diocese but its mission reaches out much further than that, being available to every person regardless of their circumstances. I am grateful for my recent appointment as the new co-ordinator, following 20 years of dedicated service by Mary Kavanagh. I bring to the role past experience as a nurse and midwife, as a mother of 7 and more recently, in legal business administration. The vision of Pregnancy Assistance is to provide a safe and welcoming experience for anyone to come for pregnancy related support. Services include: Free pregnancy testing, emotional support, material support, pregnancy related information and emotional support post abortion. The service is free and confidential and comes form a place of love and care, without judgement. My vision is to expand the services of the agency making sure as many people as possible are aware of what we offer. You may think you are pregnant and come along for a pregnancy test, sometimes just a cuppa and a chat might make the world of difference, or perhaps a bassinet is all you need. We will help you as much as we possibly can. It is a privilege for me to be able to work in an area for which I am passionate about and where I can impact on the lives of families. Janet Mazza Co-ordinator Pregnancy Assistance Bunbury 9792 4759 Hope and Life
Kindness goes a long way The happiest day of my life was when I found out that I was pregnant. I was over the moon with joy and I couldn’t stop crying. I will never forget that day! What I never would have thought though is that I’ll end up being a single mum. The beautiful family life I had dreamt of started fading away when I was faced with the reality that the father had changed his mind and left without even looking back…I was devastated. I found myself in a country that I had just moved back to, where I have no family, hardly any friends nor financial means and completely on my own. I didn’t know what to do. I felt lost, heartbroken and hopeless. I knew one thing though, that I really wanted this baby and I needed to find support so I could cope! So I found some strength and started an online search. Pregnancy Assistance came up and I couldn’t wait for the opening on Monday and phoned right away. The voice at the end of the line was so kind, I felt a glimpse of hope and I couldn’t wait to come in and see somebody in person. This is where the journey began. From day one, the staff at Pregnancy Assistance made me feel comfortable, accepted and loved. I started weekly counselling sessions that gave a structure to the chaos I was in. I needed that. The counsellor ‘held my hand’, picked me up when I needed it and supported me on so many levels, that I cannot even express. These sessions made it possible for me to cope with the situation and kept me going. Pregnancy Assistance was able to refer me to other organizations as well so by the time my son was born we had everything we needed. We were provided a bassinet, a cot, a baby bath, a change table, a pram, baby clothes, pregnancy wear, nappies, toiletries and even doulas (support persons) who could accompany me at hospital appointments and at birth. Not to mention the photo shoot. First and foremost, I am so grateful to God that He blessed me with a beautiful healthy baby but I am equally grateful to Pregnancy Assistance as with their help I was able to find my strength and pull through this extremely difficult period and deliver a beautiful baby boy who is happy, healthy and so much joy to be around. I am also incredibly grateful that everything was provided but more than anything that I was loved, supported and cared for. I would like to highlight that without your help things could have been desperate and disastrous to say the least…Truly, Pregnancy Assistance, I couldn’t have done it without you! I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all staff members and supporters who made this possible. I am sure other charities are also great but I couldn’t think of a better cause than supporting a pregnant woman in need and so she is able to bring a healthy child into this world and for that I will be forever grateful. May this story be a reminder that Your kindness goes a long way. We thank you so much! With love & gratitude Jeanette 4
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Welcome to the world little one! It is a place full of delights and wonders.
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Changes to our Operations for COVID-19
On the 12th of March 2020, the escalation of the Coronavirus caused the World Health Organisation to label the emergency a pandemic. After watching the continued spread of the virus, we put in a number of new safety and health precautions at Pregnancy Assistance for the protection of our staff and clients. The changes were staged to respond appropriately to what information we had from the Department of Health (Australia and Western Australia) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Changes initially included asking our visitors to wash their hands before their appointments and cleaning down all surfaces with soapy water between each session. We also started asking visitors to refrain from attending the centre if they were unwell or had recently travelled. Posters were displayed from the World Health Organisation regarding hygienic precautions for COVID-19 such as washing hands for 20 seconds, coughing and sneezing into your elbow and putting tissues in the bin.
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As the situation progressed, we announced further changes on the 23rd of March that included moving to phone and video conferencing support for our clients, while still opening the centre once/week to provide practical support and receive donations (invaluable!). Our practical support day has been ‘zero contact’ with staff organising pick ups and drop offs at our centre’s back entrance. While we would all ideally prefer to be able to see our women face to face during visits, it has been great to be able to still provide them with the essential goods that they need such as nappies, wipes and baby bundles, without putting them, their newborns, or our staff at risk.
Our software and systems are all accessible off-site which has meant staff are able to undertake work from home during this period, while still providing services to our clients. We have been thankful that much of this was set up in the previous years resulting in a smooth transition. For those clients wishing to have face to face counselling, Facetime, has been used to try and replicate this for their sessions. Unfortunately, we believe nothing can replace actually sitting with someone in the same room when providing counselling. As such, it will be the first service we are changing back, in a staged way starting the week of Monday 18 May. Our next review of our operational changes for the Coronavirus is at the beginning of June, and we hope by the time you receive this we have been able to further transition back to more face to face services. We are so thankful to have remained a part of your lives during this time, and we can’t wait to see your beautiful faces again when we reopen the centre five days/week. Hope and Life
Pregnancy Loss Pregnancy Assistance signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth in April 2017 in relation to the Post Abortion Grief Program. Abortion is a delicate and complex issue. Every woman and man deserve to have their pregnancy loss acknowledged. A woman who has had an abortion experiences a significant loss and finding support is essential. Healing is a process and it does not follow a straight line; it often is erratic and there is no set time frame. At Pregnancy Assistance we have created a safe space in which loss and grief is validated and unconditional support offered. With the support of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth we provide professional counselling in this field. Among other services we also offer support for abortion vulnerable women and men. We provide options/decisional counseling. Decisions are heavily influenced by an individualâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s circumstances, resources, emotions and the messages they receive from others. We explore these areas with the person and with love and truth our objective is to assist the client to understand abortion more fully so that she can truly make an informed decision. We do not offer or recommend or refer for abortions, but we are committed to offering accurate information about abortion procedures and risks as well as how it may affect women and men. Pregnancy Assistance was founded on Christian values and offers this service as an alternative to abortion. All our services are free and confidential.
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Support us to Support Others It is our aim to have the baby room tidy and well stocked. As we rely solely on donations we are always in need of :
Formula Nappies Toiletries for bub Toiletries for mum Wipes Baby baths Bassinets Baby clothes Maternity Clothes The mums-to-be benefit so much from all you donate and so we thank you for your generosity!
Thanks to a generous donation, we were able to have our house repainted. We are so grateful for people with a giving heart!
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Thank You Thank you for continually supporting us in achieving our principal objectives – “To provide relief of poverty, suffering, distress, misfortune, destitution, or helplessness for pregnant women of all sections of the public irrespective of race, colour or creed.” Pregnancy Assistance Inc. solely relies on private donations. We are an ACNC registered charity, and all monetary donations above $2 are fully tax-deductable. Your generous support gives and changes lives and allows people to taste just how sweet and good hope and life truly is.
Your Donation Makes A Difference
The Archdiocese pays for our rent but for all else we rely entirely on GOD speaking to your heart! Pregnancy Assistance Inc. PO Box 8129 Perth BC WA 6849 T: (08) 9328 2926
Donations over $2.00 are tax deductible Name/Corporation:
Email: I make the following donation to Pregnancy Assistance Inc. of $ once only
By cheque/money order: made payable and addressed: Pregnancy Assistance Inc. PO Box 8129 Perth BC WA 6849 By Direct payment: Pregancy Assistance Inc. | Westpac | BSB 036014 | Acc 306953 Mastercard
Name on card: 3 digit verification number:
Online: www.pregnancyassist.com.au By including us in your will.