For many expectant moms, pregnancy choices are not equal – The Dallas Morning News

For many expectant moms, pregnancy choices are not equal – The Dallas Morning News

As a teenager, I lost my oldest daughter to an unnecessary adoption. The choice, which was not mine, was made primarily because of a lack resources and family support.

In my 30s, I sat on the board of a pregnancy resource center and began joining online expectant and birth mom groups. I was shocked to learn that even in the internet age, parenting resources were still difficult to find and utilize.

I noticed a phenomenon that tends to happen to pregnant people under intense stress — they shut down. I did during my first pregnancy. It can become anxiety-inducing to not only ask for help, but also to search for help.

I began searching for and keeping record of parenting-specific resources, local and national organizations, and government programs. I started a parenting resource website four years ago and I have learned a lot about pregnancy “choices” since then.

In my naivete, I thought if the organizational websites existed, then the resources were certainly available. We’ve heard so many times: “There is so much help out there!” All I had to do was share my findings with a stressed-out mom and the problem would be solved, right?

What I realized is that there is an appearance of help but very little actual help available.

It doesn’t matter if it is privately or publicly funded. Whether it is a housing authority (which I have never seen with less than a two-year wait) or a privately run housing program (which are most often at full capacity or have extremely narrow qualifications), there seems to be no room at the inn.

I certainly don’t blame the organizations that are most often dependent upon consistent donations to maintain or expand their causes, but still I see on a daily basis, all over the country, our systems are barely staying afloat. This leaves vulnerable families and single mothers at a major disadvantage and greatly limits their choices regarding pregnancy.

In the last few years, I have joined an organization of other birth moms that aims to educate expectant moms who are considering adoption. We often assist expectant moms with overcoming obstacles, should they choose parenting.

Nearly all of our clients would choose to parent, but for a lack of necessary financial and social support. So, again, what is this “choice” thing we all keep hearing about?

All too often, these expectant moms are struggling with multiple crises while pregnant. They may be escaping abusive relationships and parenting additional young children. They are often cut off from family support either by distance or dysfunction, and face a major expense such as car trouble. They may have fallen into a gap that doesn’t qualify them for paid parental leave, they are struggling with pregnancy-related health issues. They may have lost their job or housing due to pregnancy-related health or social issues.

I often see these expectant moms (whom I fiercely want to defend) stereotyped as tramps, bums or societal drains, who are unworthy of help. They are brushed off with, “There is …….