Hope & Life - June 2019

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Photo: Monica Defendi Photography

Hope & Life June 2019

The biannual newsletter of Pregnancy Assistance Inc.

Floor Leadership Persons in Charge (PiC) Lisette Jas Anita Blackwell


About Us Message from the Chair


Support Us to Support Others


A Counsellor’s Confession


Emergency Relief


Mother’s Day


Our Lady of Guadalupe Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton

Circle of Security


Self-Compassionate Motherhood



Support Us to Support Others


Deputy Persons in Charge (DPiC) Carmel Randazzo Babita DeSouza



Eric Jas

When Grace Happens


Deputy Chair

Laura Craig

Thank You



Veronica O’Brien


Thomas Seeber

Board Member

Bronia Karniewicz

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 - Fri 10am - 3pm

Phone Hours Mon - Fri 9am - 4pm 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 please contact Carmel, Anita, Babita or Lisette on 9328 2926.

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, ‘Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother’, as stated by Chinese writer Lin Yutang (1895 – 1976). God gave her this honour at the time of creation. Motherhood is much more than a series of biological processes initiated by a physical act between a man and a woman. It is a spiritual journey gifted by God, commencing with a loving act. Love is at the centre of motherhood. This true love comes with sacrifice. However, having and raising children is also a joy and a privilege. This makes the sacrifice worth it. A mother selflessly gives love and joy to life itself. We are grateful for this gift of God, which is nothing short of a miracle. Without it none of us would exist. At Pregnancy Assistance we are blessed with the responsibility given to us to support motherhood. In love and in service we give ourselves to the needs of those around us. Thank you God for your gifts. Eric Jas Chairman

Artist: Flor Larios


Hope and Life

The Social Work department at King Edward Memorial Hospital has had a strong working relationship with Pregnancy Assistance for many years. Pregnancy assistance helps to support vulnerable women who are pregnant and parenting and visit KEMH for ante-natal and post-natal care. Many women who attend KEMH have numerous psycho social stressors and can often feel overwhelmed and vulnerable. Some of these stressors include homelessness, extreme poverty, isolation from family and friends, family and domestic violence, forensic issues and involvement with the department for child protection. Pregnancy Assistance has been a huge support to these women and the Social work department have referred many women to this service. Pregnancy Assistance has particularly helped the women who come into KEMH to birth from Bandyup. They provide the ladies with beautiful baby bundles and we have a driver who will pick up the items and bring them to the hospital for distribution to the ladies. I know these women are forever grateful for this support as they are unable to shop for their baby as other women in the community would. Their faces light up when they receive their baby bundles and they feel very privileged to have such kindness shown to them. The staff at Pregnancy Assistance are friendly, approachable and kind and will offer counselling, practical support and a kind word with a cup of tea or coffee for the women. Clients report back to the social workers that they have experienced warmth, care and nurturing from this service. Our Social workers rely on Pregnancy Assistance to help support these vulnerable women and we continue to work collaboratively and proactively to help the most disadvantaged in our society. I would like to thank Pregnancy Assistance for all the help they have given to my clients since 2012 when I first commenced working at KEMH. I look forward continuing to work with such a wonderful service. Ethna Richardson Social Worker KEMH Hope and Life


A Counsellor’s Confession Whilst much of the research about abortion has focussed on the needs of women and the adverse effects of abortion on women, there is no doubt that abortion impacts men also in very significant ways. The story below is written by Owen Robinson, a qualified social worker and counsellor. It is an honest story, written from the heart. It is a story about the forgotten fathers, the men who suffer in silence. The men who are grieving the loss of their unborn children.

Sometimes my mindset simply embarrasses me even though I am a thoroughly trained clinical social worker with a clutch of tertiary qualifications. Now right at this point it needs to be noted that Clinical Social Workers like myself are trained to be experts in complexity and to respect the uniquely formed experience and views of each person, right? So to make sense of this fainthearted starting point I need to tell you about two cases of hurting young men. In my private counselling practice it is quite routine for me to bump up against my fear of the unknown and the unexplored. Before meeting a new client I simply don’t know what painful story the client is going to tell me even if I ask a few well considered triage questions before seeing them. I also need to confess I’ve been getting rather used to stumbling awkwardly into situations where it feels like I am walking off the edge of my mental map. These two lonely distressed young men took me there on both counts. When each of these two not-quite-twenty year old men presented for their first individual counselling session they identified goals about managing anger, improving their depressed mood or having less anxiety. Neither of them said a word about abortion. Both of these likeable young guys reserved that story for several sessions down the track. Before mentioning the abortion one of the two confessed he had turned to IV drug use; that did not stop him being likeable. Both of these young men started to tell their post-abortion story almost as an aside to their main story; they spoke of their exgirlfriend’s announcement to them that they had completed an abortion of their child without having a conversation that they were pregnant. The tears I witnessed as these men spoke were not the gently-formed-in-the-corner-of-the-eye tears. No, these young men lurched forward in violent retching sobs, each clutching his sides as if to hold himself from falling apart.


Hope and Life

You see the mindset I carried from my I-haven’t-got-this-all-worked-out-yet pre-story was that abortion is a benign thing for women, let alone men. My posture was formed, I thought, from a posture of supportive feminist respect. ‘How dare I not?’ I thought. Imagine my stark jolt into reality the second time I witnessed the actuality that male grief from an abortion experience can be a ‘thing.’ The first time I witnessed this echelon of grief I thought I was witnessing an ‘outlier’ in the data of my on-the-go-live-research in my counsellors-get-to-see-it-all world. Remember no textbooks nor lectures I’d ever experienced were talking about this. The second time it happened though it started to dawn on me. I was witnessing something no one was talking about in the trauma-sphere or culture from which I learn, grow and discover. My insight has grown considerably since then as I have heard many other people’s stories. So nowadays I take a kinder view towards myself as a person who does not know everything in an era where some things are still not discussed despite us being in the 21st century. The early embarrassment is being replaced by a gentler respect for myself and the people who have the particular hurt of an abortion story, one that frequently pushes them across a frontier into overwhelm or shut-down mode. Owen Robinson MAASW (Adv. Accr), MACSW Clinical Div, BSW (Curtin), BEd (Science), Grad Dip Management, MA (Counselling) www.morehope.com.au

Hope and Life


Emergency Relief Our food pantry has been operating for four months now. We have given out approxiamately 40 parcels to our very grateful clients. A parcel of food can make such a difference for those trying to get by from week to week. Offering emergency relief can act as a safety net for people experiencing financial distress. We are grateful to LotteryWest for providing this grant which results in another service we are able to give our clients.

Mother’s Day

On Thursday 9 May, we celebrated a special Mother’s Day morning tea with some of our lovely mums and their beautiful children. Mother’s Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the love, care and dedication that mothers demonstrate day in and day out. It was lovely for the mums to spend time together and for us to be able to show them how special they are! A huge thank you to Liz Green for providing the mummy hampers!


Hope and Life

Circle of Security Pregnancy Assistance now offers Circle of Security by a qualified practitioner to support clients throughout their first year of parenting. The Circle of Security is a relationship-based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment security between caregivers and their children. Decades of university-based research shows that secure children exhibit increased empathy, greater self-esteem, better relationships with parents and peers, enhanced school readiness, and an increased capacity to handle emotions more effectively when compared with children who are not secure. Circle of Security Parenting uses an eight-chapter video-based series, offering a journey into closely observing, then understanding and finally meeting our child’s different needs. The learning objectives of the program are to: • understand your child’s emotional world by learning to read the emotional needs • support your child’s ability to successfully manage emotions • enhance development of your child’s self esteem • honour your innate wisdom and desire for your child to be secure Please call us on 9328 2929 to book an appointment. For further information on Circle of Security please visit www.circleofsecurityinternational.org

Hope and Life


Self-Compassionate Motherhood Transitioning into motherhood can be a dauting experience, a time when self-doubt can affect a person’s well-being and mental health. Self-compassion during motherhood allows mothers to stop being so hard on themselves, accept and deal with different emotions, stimulate encouragement rather than criticism and the ability to attune more mindfully to their baby (Cranswick, 2018). Dr Kirsten Neff, an expert on self-compassion has defined self-compassion as consisting of three main components: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness (Neff, 2011). Self-kindness refers to the tendency to be caring and understanding with oneself rather than being harshly critical or judgmental. Instead of taking a cold ‘stiff-upper-lip’ approach in times of suffering, self-kindness offers soothing and comfort to the self. Common humanity involves recognizing that all humans are imperfect, fail and make mistakes. It connects one’s own flawed condition to the shared human condition so that greater perspective is taken towards personal shortcomings and difficulties. Mindfulness, the third component of self-compassion, involves being aware of one’s present moment experience in a clear and balanced manner so that one neither ignores nor ruminates on disliked aspects of oneself or one’s life. The combination of these elements interacts to create a self-compassionate frame of mind. If you think your inner critic is becoming louder, our counsellors at Pregnancy Assistance can assist. We offer support throughout your pregnancy journey and into motherhood to become a selfcompassionate mother to yourself and your baby. https://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/


Hope and Life

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!

When grace happens, generosity happens! Thank you to the parishioners from All Saints Greenwood and St Joseph’s in Subiaco for your response to our May appeal for donations for Pregnancy Assistance. We are so grateful for your generosity of donations of nappies (newborn and infant), formula and toiletries for baby and mum. Your donations are greatly appreciated and passed on to assist families. A huge thank you also to the ladies from St Anne’s in Belmont for their beautiful donations. They bring so much hapiness to the women who receive them!

Hope and Life


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:


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


Card Number:


Name on card: 3 digit verification number:


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



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