Give pregnant women loving support Print
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

This is the time of year when we are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

We know that for his mother, Mary, her pregnancy could not have been an easy time. Although she knew she was carrying the Son of God in her womb, it must have been challenging to discuss her pregnancy with others, especially since she and Joseph were not yet married.

Fortunately, Joseph supported her. Yet, they travelled to Bethlehem in the last month of her pregnancy for a census and could find no place to stay in an inn. So Jesus was born in a stable, probably not the easiest place for labor and delivery!

Unexpected pregnancy

Many women today may find themselves with an unexpected pregnancy. We may know such women; they could be members of our families or friends, people who work with us, married or unmarried.

Even for someone who identifies herself as pro-life, “the shock of unexpected pregnancy, the devastation of a difficult prenatal diagnosis, shame, pressures, or fears may influence her to consider abortion,” says an article on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) website ( under the title, “What to Do When a Friend is Considering Abortion.”

How do we respond in a life-affirming way to support both the woman and her baby?

The L.O.V.E. Approach

The USCCB article suggests considering the four steps of the L.O.V.E. Approach™ which I’ve summarized here:

L. Listen and Learn. Start by listening to the woman’s story. Ask about her feelings, thoughts, values, beliefs, and wants. Do not interrupt, except to ask her to expound, when appropriate. Listen for clues to her needs, so you can later bring up helpful ways to address those needs.

O. Open Options. When her story is fully shared, you can provide factual information, always in a loving and caring way. You might share the reality of abortion and the wounds that typically result. You might share experiences about having a baby, adoption, marriage, and how they might apply in her situation. First focus on encouraging her to carry her baby to term, then talk about other options.

V. Vision and Value. Awaken a vision in her for a healthier life. Help her value herself differently. She is made in the image of God; as a woman, her maternity is a gift. Encourage her. Help her set and work towards goals that extend beyond her pregnancy. Reassure her that there is always hope, and she is not alone.

E. Extend and Empower. Provide practical help and support. Her local pregnancy help center can offer consultation, lists of community resources, and ultrasound services. Help her plan the next steps. Pray with her and for her and her baby.

Other ways to help

Besides helping pregnant women on a one-on-one basis, we can also help other pregnant women by donating to a pregnancy care center or volunteering there.

In our area, the Women’s Care Center in Madison ( provides free, confidential counseling, support, and education to women facing unplanned pregnancies. The center is part of a group of 28 centers in 10 states serving 26,000 women each year.

Another resource is Pregnancy Helpline of Madison (, which supplies free programs, information, material support (including diapers), and referrals.

As we prepare for Christmas, let us give all expectant mothers the loving support they need.