Every day, 140+ people reach out to Pregnancy Matters™ Online for help in a difficult pregnancy. Our trained staff and volunteers are there for them. Here's a day in the life of a volunteer.
As I’m writing this, we’re in the middle of the second lockdown. I’m getting ready for my monthly supervision session, and a hot cup of tea is gently steaming on my desk.
Counselling clients – people in unplanned pregnancies or who’ve lost a pregnancy – is challenging work. We’ve got to do it right, and we’ve got to take some space for ourselves afterwards. This is what our supervision sessions do. They’re essential to keeping our service professional. We have them every month.
32 people helped
For me, getting ready for a supervision session is a chance to reflect and recharge.
- 10 clients struggling with finding out they’re pregnant;
- Three clients asking questions about our free pregnancy tests;
- Three people asking about a place to stay;
- 12 people who thought they might be pregnant but weren’t sure;
- Two people who wanted practical support – free mum and baby supplies;
- One person under ‘Other’, and;
- One post-abortion client.
Phew – that’s 32 clients …
And that isn’t the month’s total.
That’s just over a two-day session on service.
“Deep down I would love this baby”
‘S’ is 17 years old. She’s pregnant and scared to tell her parents. In her words, “They will hate me – I need an abortion!”
We spent a 40-minute session exploring her pregnancy and how she feels about finding out she’s pregnant. “Deep down I would love this baby … but I’m only 17.”
Then she expressed how she feels her parents would take the news, and explored how she felt she could tell her parents.
She left with a plan to speak to mum first. In her words: “She’ll be more understanding than Dad.”
They were quite straightforward:
- “How do I take it?“
- “Can I come back and talk once I know the result?“
Yes, of course you can – that’s what we’re here for …
Needs mum and baby supplies
Practical support clients … I must double-check that one of our wonderful ‘Friends of Life’ is managing to get the essentials together for one of the clients.
She hid her pregnancy because she was scared her husband would make her have an abortion … it’s now a scramble to help her get the essentials together.
15 days late for her period
This was one of the “possible pregnancy” clients … she was 15 days late for her period.
We explored how she was feeling at the thought of pregnancy. “Scared, worried how my boyfriend will handle the news.” All quite natural thoughts and I reaffirmed this is about her and how she feels.
“I would love a baby but not sure … scared people would judge me for not being settled down.” We explored that statement together, explored taking a pregnancy test, and then arranged a session to talk once she gets the result.
Oh yes, the person marked under ‘Other.’ Wow – they spent the first 10 minutes of our Helpline session just crying. She was alone, no circle of support living with her, pressures of lockdown, just needing to release the anxieties that you meet throughout each trimester:
- Bad heartburn
- Aching legs and back
- Fretting and worrying about the birth
Where did the meltdown start? An aunt called to see how she was and said, “I bet you are in the radiance of your pregnancy now“!
We allowed her the space to just offload and then arranged some emotional support to help her in moving forward.
“I need help; everything is wrecked”
And then ‘J’, the post-abortion client.
‘J’ had an abortion 15 weeks into her pregnancy. For the past two years, she’d convinced herself it was the right decision. After all, she’d just started her dream job. She and her partner had just moved into a wonderful house. Everything was “perfect” – and then she found out that she was pregnant.
Her opening words: “I think I need help; everything is wrecked.”
Her partner had left her because he said, “She wasn’t the same woman he’d decided to settle down with.” The wonderful house was up for sale. The dream job was gone – she’d been having too much time off and hadn’t been able to concentrate when she was there.
We’ve set up a contract and a range of future sessions for her.
Back to the present
My phone rings. It’s one of my Pregnancy Matters™ Online colleagues with a message: ‘S’ wanted to tell me that she’s spoken to her mum.
Mum was shocked – but said they could make things work and support her! ‘S’ just wanted to say thank you and that she would call on Thursday as arranged.
A day in the life of a Pregnancy Matters™ Online volunteer: challenging, rewarding, hardly ever dull, and two days never the same.