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Photo: Monica Defendi Photography

Hope & Life December 2018

The biannual newsletter of Pregnancy Assistance Inc.


Floor Leadership Persons in Charge (PiC) Lisette Jas Vacancy

Contents

Deputy Persons in Charge (DPiC) Carmel Randazzo Babita DeSouza

Patron Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton

Board

About Us Message from the Chair

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Thank You Pregnancy Assistance!

3

Jesmyne’s Story; a Gift of Hope and Life

4

Great Joy!

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A Time to Work, a Time to Celebrate

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Pregnancy Loss, Coping with Grief

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A New Patron for Pregnancy Assistance

8

Homeless Connect Day

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Chair

Eric Jas

Deputy Chair

Laura Craig

Support Us to Support Others

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Secretary

Veronica O’Brien

No More Plastic Bags

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Treasurer

Thomas Seeber

Board Member

Bronia Karniewicz

Thank You

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Contact Pregnancy Assistance Inc. Elizabeth’s House 195 Lord Street, East Perth 6004 T 9328 2926 (Office) T 9328 2929 (Counselling) E info@pregnancyassistance.org.au 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 the Lord in adoration and contemplation please contact Carmel, Babita or Lisette on 9328 2926.

Visiting Hours Mon - Fri 10am - 3pm

Phone Hours Mon - Fri 9am - 4pm

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, In a troubled world, Pregnancy Assistance aims to assure there is always hope. Hope is often associated with love and faith. Of the three, apparently, the greatest is love. The service of hope we provide must therefore be given in love to be effective. We know furthermore that love is patient and love is kind. Patience infers taking time to listen and seeking to understand. Kindness encompasses peace and tolerance within our own hearts and radiating this towards those affected and in need of assistance. We are blessed with the opportunity to serve lovingly. In this edition of Hope & Life you will find some of the insights regarding our service, how it is provided and how it is experienced. The support we received in the past year, in the form of grants, donations, volunteering time and effort, and prayer and encouragement has been immense! Thank you everyone for your ongoing support. I hope you will all have a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year! Eric Jas Chairman

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Thank You Pregnancy Assistance! I am writing to thank Pregnancy Assistance Inc for helping me get through the toughest time in my life. At 17 weeks pregnant my partner broke up with me. The circumstances surrounding the breakup were really horrible and I was heartbroken as prior to my pregnancy my partner was very supportive and we were trying for my baby for over two years. Although I was so happy to be pregnant, I was terrified to do it alone. I had no idea how I would cope financially and emotionally. I had tried to access counselling privately but it costs so much. I didn’t think I could justify spending the money as I didn’t know how I was going to provide for my daughter alone once she was born. I finally found Pregnancy Assistance. I couldn’t believe they were free and my counsellor was exceptional. She helped me cope and helped me realise I would be ok. She helped to restore my confidence and believe that I could raise my baby Mia on my own. I had a great community of support and was given all I needed for the baby but I was aware the service also helped women with this too. I thought that was lovely. I was given a gorgeous surprise gift with baby clothes and toys when I attended on one occasion and it absolutely made my day. I went home and burst into tears feeling so grateful. Eventually the father got back in contact after months of not hearing from him and my counsellor helped me cope with this as well. Now Mia and I are doing well. There are days where it is hard but I have faith we will be ok and I know a massive contributing factor is my counsellor. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without her. Seeing her was the highlight of my weeks and looking forward to sessions with her is what got me through :) Thank you so much from Mia and I !

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Jesmyne’s story; a Gift of Hope and Life My parents went to high school together. They’d lost touch, but met again years later while working in the same small country town. My mum was in Perth visiting friends when she discovered she was pregnant. She was overcome with excitement and trepidation, but my dad would never know that he would be a father. He died in a car accident a week later, aged 20. With no family support (her own mum a widowed single mum herself), and grieving her boyfriend, she couldn’t possibly imagine coping through the pregnancy or raising a child solo. She saw abortion as the only option.

what your family unit looks like and that your children love you unconditionally. I have immense gratitude for those who convinced my mum that having me would be hard but not impossible and gave her a second option when she only saw one. They fought for me, already envisioning the person I could become. A daughter, a nurse, a wife, a mother and so much more.

At the clinic she was met with protestors. Devastated, she explained her situation. They offered assistance, convincing her to change her mind. So my mum continued her pregnancy, all the while having traumatising dreams and flashbacks of her boyfriend. In this time my dad’s mum told her of the letters she had received from her son about the girl from school that he was falling in love with. My mum prayed that I wouldn’t be a boy as she felt that would be more than she could handle. It was then a small blessing to her to give birth to a daughter. From then my 21-year-old mum and I essentially grew up together, experiencing all the obstacles and challenges of being thrown into parenthood. For ten years now I have been a nurse, nine of those specialising in oncology. Just this year I brought my own beautiful daughter into the world. There is an element of fear no matter what the circumstances, be it an unprepared single parent or a married couple who have planned for their baby. Once you become a parent, you realise that you would sacrifice everything for your children; no matter 4

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Great Joy! A couple of the snaps from our recent photoshoot

With Thanks to Monica Defendi Photography

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A Time to Work, a Time to Celebrate

Agatha & Anne, two of our volunteers at PA’s training day Some of our staff & volunteers

On Friday 2 November staff and volunteers at Pregnancy Assistance attended a training day. We welcomed Ethna Richardson, a social worker from King Edward Memorial Hospital who spoke about the challenges faced by vulnerable pregnant women such as homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction. Collaboration with other agencies and individuals to address these issues before the birth of their child is essential. Ethna thanked Pregnancy Assistance for the compassionate care and practical assistance provided to women in need and their newborns. Laura Craig explained the importance of occupational health and safety in the workplace. Babita DeSouza gave us some tips on self-care using the Self-Care Wheel. We noted how what we do that is positive in one area of our lives flows through to other areas. Carmel Randazzo gave a presentation about some changes taking place at Pregnancy Assistance and Lisette Jas spoke about emergency relief. A new project starting next year sees us opening a food pantry. Pregnancy Assistance will make food hampers to hand out to women who need it most. Finally, a video was shown of a young woman with an unplanned pregnancy and how she sought and obtained life affirming guidance from her professor at uni. We concluded training with a beautiful Mass celebrated by Emeritus Archbishop Hickey. This was followed by lunch at Zesto Cafe in East Perth. It was a wonderful day of learning, affirmation and encouragement in the work of staff and volunteers. Thank you to all of you ! 6

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Pregnancy Loss, Coping with Grief

Mal and Dianne McKissop are bereavement counsellors and in their book ‘Coping with grief’ they mention that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, we all grieve as we have lived. Grief is chaotic, dynamic and ever changing. Grief is also normal and natural. For a baby who is not born alive before the 20th week of pregnancy, birth and death registration is not permitted. However, the relationship parents develop with their growing unborn is not dependant on the duration of the pregnancy. People may feel lonely, misunderstood and isolated because they feel their feelings may not be acceptable. Also, society allows many rituals to help us grieve the death of our loved ones, but there is still little visible support for helping parents who have had a pregnancy loss. When your loss is not recognized by society, there is no opportunity to openly mourn, however it is essential to realize and accept that you have suffered a loss and that your heart needs to grieve. We have created a safe space in which we listen with our heart without judgement and where you have the opportunity to express your emotions. Recognizing and processing your painful thoughts and emotions is a step towards finding inner healing. There is hope for you in the midst of your heartache. Our compassionate counsellors care about you and will support you, so you can be restored to live and love again. Please call us on 9328 2929.

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A New Patron for Pregnancy Assistance We are grateful that the Most Reverend Donald Sproxton, Auxiliary Bishop in the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, has accepted the position of Patron of Pregnancy Assistance. A patron plays an important role of support and encouragement. Bishop Sproxton will also provide spiritual guidance and advice.

Homeless Connect Day Perth Homeless Connect Perth is a one day, one-stop shop event that provides people in need with access to an extensive and critical range of services, access to healthcare and food staples. Now in its eleventh year, Homeless Connect Perth is the largest event in the state for the homeless, providing direct help to approximately 2,000 people in need. Homeless Connect Day is organised by Volunteering WA and the City of Perth. They bring together government organisations, business and community groups to provide a diverse range of free services to homeless people and those at risk. This year is the first year that Pregnancy Assistance has been involved in Homeless Connect Day. It was an exceptional experience. Hundreds of people came by our stall. We talked to pregnant ladies, new mums and dads and many grandparents. We were also able to meet people from other agencies and obtain updated information about the services they offer. It was also a great opportunity to raise awareness of Pregnancy Assistance and the services we provide to both those who need, or in the future may need our help, and other support agencies.

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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!

No More Plastic Bags Society is gradually phasing out single-use plastics. Pregnancy Assistance is conscious about minimising environmental impact. Our Monday volunteer Anne is holding our new fabric bag with our logo. We fill our new bags with beautiful baby clothes. We also include items such as bibs, singlets, socks and wraps, making this bag a perfect ‘starter set’ for our mums-to-be!

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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:

Date: Address:

Postcode:

Email: I make the following donation to Pregnancy Assistance Inc. of $ once only

monthly

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

Visa

Card Number:

Expiry:

Name on card: 3 digit verification number:

Signature:

Online: www.pregnancyassist.com.au By including us in your will.

Date:

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Hope and Life December 2018  

Hope and Life December 2018  

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