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Hope & Life December 2019

The biannual newsletter of Pregnancy Assistance Inc.


Floor Leadership Person in Charge (PiC) Lisette Jas

Contents

Deputy Person in Charge (DPiC) Carmel Randazzo

Patrons Our Lady of Guadalupe Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton

Board Chair

Laura Craig

Deputy Chair

Eric Jas

Secretary

Sara Paverd-Joyce

Treasurer

Thomas Seeber

About Us Message from the Chair

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The Camino de Santiago

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Running the Distance for Pregnancy Assistance

4-5

The Tale of a Surprised Counsellor

6-7

Volunteer Thank You Day

8

Support Us to Support Others

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Homeless Connect Day

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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

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 2926.

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, We thank God as we finish another year of fruitful service to the community at Pregnancy Assistance. We are aware that this would not be possible without the volunteers who generously give up their time in order to serve others. We are also thankful for our staff who guide the ship and keep the boat steady even with the rocking of the waves. We have experienced some change within the year as a team, but as always, the ministry and our purpose remain constant and we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and not get distracted. Earlier I had the joy of holding my new niece in my arms and she curled her tiny fingers against my hand, I thought of the many women who visit us and the battles they face during their pregnancy journeys. Many of them report to us that they have limited support by way of friends and family, and often feel they are in their situation alone. We are immensely honoured to be able to offer to be their support system during this vulnerable time in their lives. In that vein we are also proud to have again attended the Homeless Connect Day and continue to grow our networks with those similarly helping in the community. We humbly ask for your continued support of our ministry. We couldn’t open each day without the many prayers, donations and efforts that are contributed by people like you. No gift is ever too small if it is given with a generous heart. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Laura Craig Chair

‘To live in love is to sail forever, spreading seeds of joy and peace in hearts’ St. Therese of Lisieux

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The Camino de Santiago Veronica Kurak is one of our volunteer gardeners. This is a story about her pilgrimage.

The Camino is the new buzz word amongst travellers and those looking for a different holiday experience. And at the heart of it all, it’s a pilgrimage dating back to medieval times that has the tomb of St James in Santiago de Compostela (Spain) as its destination. I have just completed 800km on my fourth pilgrimage. We ‘seasoned’ pilgrims call it the ‘Camino virus’. And why do we do it? Well, there are as many reasons for doing it as there are pilgrims … the Camino is a break from the frenzy of the world, a time for contemplation and prayer, a physical and emotional challenge, a chance to see nature close-up, an opportunity to meet people from all over the world, a parade of landscapes to admire, and the freedom to eat plenty of yummy, local food and sample the local wine (because you’ll walk it all off the next day!). I’ve walked the French Camino, the Northern Camino and the Portuguese Camino but there are many more routes. A Camino can be as short or as long as you like, you can stay in albergues (hostels) or hotels, you can carry your pack or have it couriered, you can have a fixed destination and/or distance each day or you can walk as far as your feet will carry you. It’s completely up to you! The camaraderie is the most surprising, most inspiring and most enjoyable part of the Camino. Your blisters, aching legs and tired back will be easily forgotten but the friends you make will always remain with you. And lastly, St James is very much at work along every Camino route … providing a bar/cafe just when you need that coffee OR delivering a pilgrim who has something in their pack for your particular ailment OR producing a walking companion whose humour will help lift your spirits OR showcasing a vista guaranteed to take your breath away just when your energy levels are lagging. So if you’re just thinking about it …. JUST DO IT! Buen Camino! Veronica Kurak Hope and Life

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Running the Distance for Pregnancy Assistance We received an email in July from a young mum who said she was very keen to do some fundraising for us. A meeting was set up and we met beautiful, energetic Emma Woodward. Emma is a mum to two cuties and also works at a prison. She doesn’t have too much time on her sleeve. This didn’t stop Emma from training regularly, and in only 3 months she said she was ready for the big run. 100km in two days! Her perserverance and dedication is admirable. Emma said “I’ve never been a runner but over the last three months I’ve started to love it”. Her idea to run was not just to raise funds for us, but also to raise awareness. The reason she chose Pregnancy Assistance is that she wanted to do something personal, something close to her heart. She mentioned “with two little happy, healthy girls of my own, I wanted to support an organisation that helps those before, during and after pregnancy”. Emma raised $8185 for us.

Emma and her family after her run!

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100Km in two days We gratefully thank the following companies who have generously supported “Running the Distance for Pregnancy Assistance”

Arachnid - Martial Arts Academy Bali Spirit Day & Wellness Centre Bella Vita for Hair BetterU Fitness & Training Cookie & Co Mark Thornton Tattoo State Swim Ellenbrook Swan Valley Cuddly Animal Farm The Olive TEarooms and Cafe Tyre Power Ellenbrook Wanneroo Riding Centre Zambrero’s Aveley We at Pregnancy Assistance are so very grateful for what Emma did for us. We hope that this story inspires you to turn your passion or talent into giving back to the community at large. We see the joy and gratefulness of the women who visit us and receive gifts made possible by your generosity. If you are interested in doing some fundraising for us please give us a call and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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The tale of a surprised Counsellor It was 9 November 2016 and I arrived close to the start of the evening presentation so I could avoid conversation. I predicted this would be an uncomfortable night but I had no idea how uncomfortable. I was there with a very particular reason in mind, I thought. Had I not had some men in my counselling rooms tell me, and accidentally show me the magnitude of their grief I would not have thought I needed to attend a meeting titled ‘Abortion Trauma: Impact on Men & Relationships Forum.’ It turned out I needed to know the other reason I was there. After the evidence-base was presented to make the case for recognising the existence and impacts of post-abortion grief or trauma I got reflective: for the first time in my life I had just heard a case being made for the incidence of psychosis for some people with a completed abortion history. Right after the research presentation to my annoyance a woman was introduced to tell her personal experience of abortion, after all I thought the night was about men’s experience of abortion and I was not sure I wanted to hear her story. Once she started her story though I was gripped, in awed attention as a witness of her courage and transparency. Her husband sat nearby in the room as she spoke, sometimes between tears. She told the story of how her doctor had presented abortion to her as a benign experience predicting no complications. She said she was still a year away from graduating from university at that time of the abortion. She bravely went on to tell her story of how she would not complete that degree nor keep the job she was trying to keep as her mental health deteriorated following the termination. She courageously went on to detail the impact the shame and grief had on her mind and how little she felt she deserved the love of her husband and her children. She vulnerably detailed how her behaviour impacted her children and husband. Some time during her story it happened. It felt like a horrible revision of my family of origin history took place in the space of a few seconds. A jaw-dropping recognition hit my gut with a thud. This was my mother’s untold story! As a man in my 40s my older brothers who live interstate shared a story my Dad had told them about how my mother, as a protestant minister’s wife in the 1950s had completed an abortion of a child between me and my next oldest brother. She was not there to explain her choice nor its effects. To be honest that news produced little reaction from me at the time of hearing it. I did not know what to do with the information since at the time I was agnostic about any ill effects of abortion. I had adopted the ‘if-doctors-say-it-is-benign-it-must-be’ approach. But now the tangible thud in my gut told me a different story. My mother’s years of treatment for schizophrenia got ‘reframed.’ Her days of sorrowful silence made a lot more sense. Her frequent rages had more explanation. Her words “I’m a wicked, wicked woman!” that made no sense to a small boy at the time now could be explained more starkly. She died aged 79 not realising her secret had been shared with her sons; she was still under treatment for psychosis right up to her death.

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Frankly I have no idea how I didn’t get to discover as a clinician in the 21st century that abortion can have mental health consequences for many people. I am grateful I responded to my client’s needs by attending that workshop in 2016. Although, I am still re-processing my mother’s life through the lens of her exposed secret three years later. I owe a debt of gratitude to that brave woman who told her story so I would get to feel again what was so familiar from my childhood story; because of her I discovered the other reason I was attending that night. Owen Robinson MAASW (Adv. Accr), MACSW Clinical Div, BSW (Curtin), BEd (Science), Grad Dip Management, MA (Counselling) www.morehope.com.au

This statue is called “Emptiness” and was created by a grieving parent. it is a great attempt at describing how a parent feels after losing a child

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Volunteer Thank You Day Pregnancy Assistance would not be able to operate without the support of our volunteers. The many gifts and talents they bring is amazing and we are very grateful for the generosity given to this Ministry. On Thursday 21 November we came together to celebrate. Abigail and Sally from Youth with a Mission (YWAM) came to talk about the Birth Companion Service they provide. Many women who come to visit us have little or no support. A birth companion is an experienced companion who understands the emotional and physical needs of a woman and her family throughout her pregnancy, labour, birth and early postnatal period, and provides continuous support (non-medical) and care for a woman throughout her whole experience. Pregnancy Assistance and YWAM work together to ensure the women are well supported. Laura, our Chair spoke about work health & safety. Karina shared her story with us. Karina spoke about her 4 babies who lost their lives through ternination of pregnancy. Karina attended a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat which helped her on her journey towards healing. Many women and men feel hopeless about ever resolving the pain connected with their abortion experience, but Karina’s story gave hope that healing is possible. Father Doug celebrated Mass for us followed by a lunch to thank all the volunteers. We thank all donors and volunteers for their spiritual, practical and monetary support.

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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!

Homeless Connect Day Homeless Connect Day was Wednesday, 13 November and for the second year, Pregnancy Assistance was one of the many service providers there. Homeless Connect Day brings together business and community groups to provide free services to people experiencing or who are at risk of homelessness. There were an estimated 1800 people that attended who were able to access numerous essential services at no cost. It is a valuable opportunity for Pregnancy Assistance to interact with potential clients and to create an awareness of the support we offer. We had up to 150 people stop by our stand. Many of these happily received a baby pack which included a hat, lotions and a nappy. We were also able to network with numerous agencies that compliment our services but are not always aware of who we are and all that we offer. We also had the opportunity to find out about other agencies that we can refer our clients to.

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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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