Photo: Monica Defendi www.monicadefendi.com
Hope & Life June 2017
The biannual newsletter of Pregnancy Assistance Inc.
Contents About Us
Message from the Chair
Message from the Coordinator
Our Administration Officer Erica
Introducing One of Our Pregnancy Care Consultants
Video Production: Pearls of Hope
Counselling after Abortion
Message from the Restorative Counsellor 9
MASS TIMES You are welcome to visit us in this quiet oasis in the city. Mass is celebrated on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at 12noon. The Blessed Sacrament is reserved in our Chapel. If you would like to spend an hour with the Lord in adoration & contemplation please call Lara 9328 2926
Precious, cute and adorable
Must Have Baby Donations
Partying for Pregnancy Assistance
...and Pregnancy Help Australia
Thank you - Donations
Contact Pregnancy Assistance Inc. Elizabethâ€™s House 195 Lord Street East Perth 6004 T (08) 9328 2929 E firstname.lastname@example.org Visiting Hours Monday - Friday 10am - 3pm Phone Hours Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm After Hours By Appointment
About Us Who are we? Pregnancy Assistance Inc. is an independent Catholic organisation initiated by 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. Our free and confidential services are extended to all people irrespective of religion, race, demographic or personal values. What do we do? We provide a safe space in which all pregnant women have access to the care and support they need during their pregnancies and the freedom to make healthy decisions whether they are facing a crisis pregnancy and/or have had an abortion, miscarriage or still birth. We walk the pregnancy journey with the women we meet, assisting them through their crisis, encouraging them along the way and empowering them to walk independently into the future with HOPE and DIGNITY restored. Our free and confidential services include: • Pregnancy testing • Pregnancy care consultation and professional counselling • Accommodation provision • Future study/employment pathways • Practical support – bassinets, baths, nappies & clothes, maternity clothes • Financial assistance • Advocacy & support services referral • Post abortion care & grief counselling Who knocks on our door? Anyone and everyone affected by pregnancy who is in need of a little (or a lot) of help! We receive between 90 - 170 contacts per month from pregnant women who are distressed due to one or more of the following; • • • •
Unexpected pregnancy Teen pregnancy Abortion concerns Financial hardship
• • • • • • • • •
Foetal anomaly Domestic violence Homelessness Isolation / loneliness Relationship breakdown Drug addiction Mental health issues 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 because sometimes you just need help now! 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. However, under no circumstances do we believe we have the right to supersede/impose upon a woman’s decision. We will continue to support and welcome back individuals in love 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
Message from the Coordinator
As we are approaching mid-year, Pregnancy Assistance is continuing with implementing major changes. The workforce has been strengthened with an additional part-time employee for administration officer and more pregnancy care consultants.
It’s been an amazing 6 months since our last newsletter and we’re so glad to share the love with you through the pages of this edition! Pregnancy Assistance has a heart for all women, specifically those impacted by pregnancy or pregnancy loss.
A collaboration agreement has been signed with the Archdiocese of Perth for a postabortion grief counselling program; please see page 9 of this newsletter. One other collaboration agreement is about to be signed, with the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, to underscore the ongoing partnership we have with this group.
When mothers come to us with their unique situation, concerns and sufferings, we pour love on them. With all that we have... our words, our listening ear, our hands, our material support, our gifts... we’re quietly asking, “How is your heart?”. We aren’t called to fix pain but to feel their pain and walk alongside each mum in solidarity, knowing that wounded hearts can be healed with compassion.
This year is also the year when we plan to complete all our operational documents, to ensure we can function in full compliance with the range of applicable legislation. Several key documents are being developed, including a Ministry Plan, Health & Safety Manual, HR Manual (including Position Descriptions) and Administration Procedures. We also have plans this year to upgrade our IT hardware and software. We require funding for this and hope to obtain this soon, with God’s help.
How is it possible for the workers of PA to pour out such love?.. Only because He (Jesus) first loves us and keeps our hearts full to overflowing with His mercy and compassion. A neverending supply of LOVE. What joy it brings to hear a mother (after journeying with us) proclaim, “PA holds a big place in my heart. PA loved me a lot!”.
“ Let us love , since that is all our hearts
It is purely with God’s help, through you, that Pregnancy Assistance will continue to be a safe haven of Hope & Life for those in need of support. Thank you for your ongoing support. Eric Jas
were made for” - St Therese of Lisieux Lara Wynyard
Hope and Life
Introducing our Administration Officer Erica After being a stay-athome mum for several years, I decided I would not go back to my previous life (before kids
☺) of computer software
training, but would start training for a career in counselling which I could then pursue when my girls were older. I completed a Diploma of Counselling and volunteered for 2 years on the phones at LifeLine, when I found out about abortion grief.
Association in Perth. During my time with AGA, I sought specific training in abortion grief counselling and found out about the the Hope Alive program. It is specifically designed to heal men and women impacted by childhood neglect and abuse and/ or unresolved pregnancy losses including abortion. A prerequisite to attending the counsellor training was to first undergo the 33-week intensive Hope Alive program myself, which I did. I then completed the Level 1 Hope Alive Facilitator Training course.
I somehow knew immediately that this was my
What I learned at AGA and through Hope Alive
calling and since then, I have focused on
has given me some understanding of the
learning as much as I can about this issue.
enormity of abortion grief, as well as a deep
I volunteered with Abortion Grief Australia Inc.
sense of compassion for those who suffer.
(AGA) for several years which has been
I am now thankful to be utilizing the admin
invaluable to me.
and computer skills from my ‘old life’, as well
approach to this issue is underpinned by a deep
as the knowledge and experience in the field
sense of compassion which is modelled by
of abortion grief, to serve PA as an administration
Julie Cook, AGA’s Director. Under Julie’s
officer and volunteer.
mentorship, I began by learning about the issue
and helping to co-ordinate the volunteers on AGA’s National Crisis Line. As I progressed, I got involved in marketing AGA’s services to the community and also started running training courses under Julie’s supervision. I helped provide training for the Department of Child Protection and twice ran training for the Street Chaplains of Perth. I also was involved in putting together, marketing and co-facilitating training for the general public and for members of the Australian Counselling
Hope and Life
Introducing one of our Pregnancy Care Consultants As coordinator of PA, I can joyfully answer “Yes, this path sure does have a heart!”. Our PCC team shines with a heart of mercy & compassion. They are the first to minister to any woman who makes contact with PA over the phone, online or at the door. Bringing their own unique gifts to share, every PCC commits to ongoing training in crisis pregnancy and abortion grief counselling, responding with love to a broad range of crises, speaking dignity, value and a restored hope for the future to every mother’s heart. Within each edition of H&L, you have the pleasure to meet one of our PCC’s. It is a delight to introduce you to Carol. Artwork by Eveline Ruys
“Saint Mary Mackillop’s motto was “Never see a need without doing something about it” and this is what made me take the leap when I was invited to a training day by Lara Malin as she was known then. During the training, the thing that stood out for me was the need for more PCC workers as the number of clients coming to PA was increasing daily. I was born in Burma and immigrated to Australia in 1971 and I remember the help that was given to our family by the church, especially since my father died a year after our arrival in Perth. We were given financial help and housing and welcomed warmly and I will always remember that with gratitude. To be able to help someone in need is a wonderful feeling that money cannot buy, so to give a few hours a week and know that I have made a difference is a fantastic feeling and a reward in itself. My background as a Paediatric Nurse at PMH has helped me to be a more compassionate person and to have empathy for the frail and little ones in need. Today since my children are older, I work as an Education Assistant helping children with learning difficulties. Working at Pregnancy Assistance helps me to be less judgemental and my own experience of miscarriages haven given me better understanding of the suffering that women go through after they have a loss and having a willing ear is all they need sometime.”
Caroline Nolan Pregnancy Care Consultant
Hope and Life
Lindaâ€™s Story The journey started six months ago just when I realised I was five months pregnant, I felt like my world had ended. It felt so dark for me as I was just two months in Perth on a student visa with no family and no job. As I was moving around looking for work I saw the sign for Pregnancy Assistance and decided to go in and see if I could get someone to talk to and share my fear. This was the right place for me as I came in and found Lara who has been of great help to me. I had several sessions with her and she really encouraged me, she became a sister to me and gave me a shoulder to lean on, she would wipe my tears and give me a hug every time I cried to her, she was always there to pray for me and
encourage me to trust in God, she also introduced me to a few of Pregnancy Assistanceâ€™s workers who were warm and great to meet. It is through Pregnancy Assistance that I was able to attend a meeting with my church pastor and three other church members. I shared my story with them, and thank God for them because one of them paid my return ticket to go home and have my child. Pregnancy Assistance then paid my fees (a donation which came specifically from an anonymous donor) which I needed to defer my studies. I am very grateful that I went back home well and was blessed with a healthy bouncing baby boy, baby Darren. He is doing fine under the care of my loving mum. It is my dream that I am reunited with my son before the end of the year. I am now struggling to get myself a job as I also have my school fees to pay. It is my prayer that God is going to provide me with everything that I need for myself, especially reuniting me with my son which I feel I am missing the joy of my motherhood, every night I wish I was holding him in my arms, talking to him and kissing him to assure him how much I love him. I miss him and sometimes feel so empty inside, but I trust that God is going to provide for me and that I'll see him here this year. I thank God for the miracles in my life, for Pregnancy Assistance, for their support in prayer, financially and for all the gifts I have received from them. I also thank my church for the financial support. If Lindaâ€™s story touched your heart and you would like to offer any support in answer to her prayer, please email Erica - email@example.com Hope and Life
Video Production: Pearls of Hope
Pregnancy Assistance had the JOY of producing a video last year in celebration of 20 years of service. The video, “Pearls of Hope - Our Stories” captured the heart of our ministry as 5 of our beautiful brave mums openly spoke about their journey of HOPE. If you haven’t yet seen our video, please check out the Pregnancy Assistance Inc YouTube Channel, grab a cuppa and enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcAAkj9wvQlGdVQp6oNymIA Excerpt from “Pearls of Hope - Our Stories”- Janine Villanueva
“It did mean so much to me, it was just the simple things like sitting with me. These simple things were so powerful and it was exactly what I needed. It didn’t matter what the circumstances of my pregnancy were, that pregnancy was a miracle and I needed to hear that. I needed somebody to share and grow that joy that I knew was there, that was a seed. I think we all know that at the heart of it...when we are pregnant, there is real love and real joy. We need sunshine and water to let that seed develop and grow and I mean not just the child, but the woman too needs to be nurtured and I really felt I received that here at Pregnancy Assistance”
Hope and Life
Director and Producer, Fayann Dsousa from Chutzpah Creative shares her experience “As I set up my camera, and got ready to record, I was curious about what I’d be hearing, what I’d be capturing. With each interview, I felt a sense of witnessing a life-changing miracle. The privilege of being in that room was like no other, as I quickly understood the significance of this simple act of storytelling from the point of view of a mother. There were common threads running through each of these women’s narratives. In the beginning - anxiety, confusion, grief, in the midst of abandonment or hopelessness. Then, by some providence, an encounter with PA, after which they are led into a new realm of understanding; with the help of staff and counsellors - to a place of calm, to knowing that they have the courage and strength within themselves to go through with the journey. I was touched by the vulnerability of both, the women, and a critical moment of their life that they were sharing on camera. Waves of gratitude poured out from each one, each woman holding their treasures - their beautiful, cherubic children to whom they had given birth. A decision made in their own hearts that they were able to follow through with the help of PA. The love and kindness with which they shared was a revelation to me. As a filmmaker and a story teller, I was overcome by a new understanding of the tremendous importance of a place like PA. I left with a heightened sense of respect and awe for the team at PA. The work they do is almost invisible to society at large, but the value of the life they save is monumental. It is priceless. Each mother’s story says it all."
Fayann Dsouza, Chutzpah Creative, www.chutzpahcreative.com Hope and Life
Counselling after abortion
I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40, 1-3 At Pregnancy Assistance we have a heart for all women. We believe healing and restoration after an abortion is possible by thoughtfully integrating the experience into your life. Abortion is a delicate and complex issue. If you are upset or struggling with mixed or troubled feelings after an abortion, regardless of whether it took place recently or many years ago, please know you are not alone and we are here to support you. Your feelings matter. Every woman deserves to have her pregnancy loss acknowledged and permission given to grieve and heal, regardless of the circumstances. We have created a safe and supportive environment and our compassionate counsellors are specifically trained in this field. They will walk the journey with you, supporting you with love. We have many women contacting us in this regard. They have come to experience peace again With the support of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, we can now provide professional counselling in this field. The counselling is free, confidential and one-on-one. Lisette Jas Head Counsellor Restorative Branch 8
Hope and Life
Message from the Restorative Counsellor Dorothy Day devoted herself to the Works of Mercy. She once said that we repeat our love as we repeat Hail Marys on the rosary. Dorothy teaches us that it is important to love unconditionally and to see Jesus in each and every person we meet. At Pregnancy Assistance we try to work according to this principle. The Restorative Branch provides free professional counselling for people suffering emotional injury due to neglect, trauma, abuse and (pregnancy) loss. We receive client referrals from our PCCs; we also take referrals from women who have heard about our service but haven’t directly contacted us due to pregnancy. When I first meet a client, I listen and try to understand her story. I build on a trust in the client’s capacity for growth, development and creativity, as well as showing her a deep respect for her own resourcefulness. I don’t provide a set of rules that control the process, but rather work with the client more freely, sensitively exploring her inner world. As the process of establishing trust evolves, I am able to gently employ strategies to maintain the relationship. It is not always easy to see a client in emotional pain. Pain is fundamentally a mystery. It is part of being human and that is why we can never have a spirituality without suffering. But at least we can offer hope in stressful times! We often receive feedback after counselling, and I would like to close this article with an expression of gratitude from one of our clients:
“I am so grateful to Pregnancy Assistance for being able to access your wonderful free counselling service. I & my daughter have received invaluable support to deal with past trauma & look forward with new insights to a positive future. Thank you so much”
Hope and Life
Precious, cute and adorable
Hope and Life
Pregnancy Assistance loves to spoil beautiful mums-to-be and their little bubs.
We like to be generous and are always in need of the following items:
Bassinets & bedding
Baby baths & bath supllies
Car-seats (suitable from birth)
Nappies (newborn, infant, crawler)
Pampering gifts for mum
New & pre-loved baby clothes (0000-0)
Unfortunately we do not accept:
Thank you to our friends Debbie and Kaye from Starting over Support (SOS) for the donation of the beautiful blue couches, coffee table and lamp for one of our counselling rooms! Hope and Life
Partying for Pregnancy Assistance................. “Small things with great love” Mother Teresa We’re so impressed by the many varied and creative ways our friends are raising donations to keep our life giving service blooming. We hope these stories inspire you to turn your own personal season of celebration into a moment to give back to the community at large! Our mums and bubs thank you from the bottom of their hearts! “To celebrate Anastasia’s first birthday, we invited friends and family to make a donation of much-needed items to Pregnancy Assistance Inc. We’ve been long-time supporters of PA, and know of the good work that they do. We’ve been blessed with a supportive family and group of friends, and wanted to share something of that to others who need it, through PA. We were blown away by the generosity of our friends and family, and trust that all that we were able to donate has gone to people that really need it. We’d encourage anyone in a similar situation to us to do something similar - it is easy to organise, and a great opportunity to share the joy of new life with others in our community.” Tom, Elizabeth and Anastasia Gourlay
“My two older daughters, Annalise, Elouise and I enjoyed organising a devonshire tea in thanksgiving for the gift of our beautiful baby girl last November. Gemma Rose was born on 9 October 2015, our seventh child, who arrived 12 years after our then youngest Mark. Often the first comment people make is “she must be so spoilt!”. Yes, in a large family she receives heaps of love and affection, but we are also conscious of not being over indulgent or filling our home with unnecessary “stuff”. The girls were very keen to have a birthday party for Gemma, a lovely reason to gather with friends. As all Gemmas needs are met, when so many other children’s are not; we decided to host an afternoon tea, inviting people to come anytime between 1.30pm and 4.00pm. With entry being a donation to Pregnancy Assistance to support other mothers and babies. Throughout the afternoon, more than 50 life loving ladies, of all ages came to our home, enjoyed a cuppa with yummy scones and some great company. Their generosity was just amazing and we were delighted to be able to deliver a carload of baby items to PA, together with some cash donations.” God bless, Julie Bogoni 12
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........................and Pregnancy Help Australia “The fundraiser was conducted as part of a unit in the Certificate IV in Christian Ministry (52646WA) at Acts 2 College of Mission & Evangelisation. The students were to develop a fundraising activity and choose the beneficiary. They did this activity in groups of six. All group members recognise the importance of the work done by agencies supporting pregnant women and they were keen to support these. They looked at a national rather than local organisation and chose to support Pregnancy Help Australia. Pregnancy Assistance in Perth is part of this support network. We are grateful for the support of Greenwood Parish, who made it possible for the students to donate over $300 to this cause.” Jane Borg
“Pregnancy Assistance does a wonderful job and we as a community also try to do our little bit. Hopefully, the small amount that we have raised will help provide clothing, nappies etc., for the infants. On Boxing Day, we had the usual gathering at our place.. Once again the funds raised were in the name/memory of our very dear friend Francette Galibardy, the Founder of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, in Perth, and a tower of strength for Pregnancy Assistance. We trust that this contribution will help towards the good work Pregnancy Assistance carries out.” Yours in Jesus Christ, Lydia & Keith Highfield Thank you also to St Anne's Traditional Latin Mass Community Belmont who collected all these wonderful donations for us throughout the season of Lent!
Hope and Life
End of FY donation
Thank you for supporting us to continually achieve our principal objective – “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
As we are moving towards the end of the financial year, we kindly appeal to your generosity. It is essential that Pregnancy Assistance continues its service of love and support for people who come to our door looking for hope. Please think of us when planning your end of financial year donations.
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 Donations over $2.00 are tax deductible
T: (08) 9328 2926
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.