It seemed pretty straightforward when I started at what was then known as Corvallis Pregnancy Care Center, now known at Options. My job was to oversee a little non-profit with a mission of helping women facing an unplanned pregnancy. And being the only person in a paid position, I met with a majority of the women who came in for help. At that time, our mission was to provide pregnancy testing, helping meet emotional needs and practical help in the form of material assistance.
As I met with women and heard what was happening in their lives, I often felt as though some of our services, especially material assistance, became a band-aid for a much bigger issue. Not every woman who comes to us is pregnant. Maybe that’s a relief, or maybe there’s a deeply hidden desire that the test would be positive this time. No matter what was going on, women really just wanted to be heard. AND they wanted information that would help them move through the next phase of life – whatever that was for them.
What appeared to be straightforward in the beginning began shifting into how to better meet the needs of the variety of women who came through our doors. Education seemed to be key. The services we offered had to help address those educational needs. As we added a nursing team to our staff, medical questions could be better addressed. Ultrasounds became a customary part of every patient with a positive test. We were now able to provide women with more information than ever before. It’s inspiring to actually observe healthy resolve when a woman has the tools she needs to process information.
Professionalism seemed to be integral to the process. Women are inherently wise and want to be treated in such a way that gives them a chance to express that wisdom. Treating them with kindness in a professional setting naturally brings about opportunities for that to happen. We don’t want to be told what to do – we want to be asked what’s on our mind.
One Final Thought
I’ve learned to expect change. And yet, giving women a safe place to share their stories should never change. We need each other.