Haven offers hope to women facing unplanned pregnancy

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By Sharon Graves

Pregnancy can be a wonderfully exciting time in a woman’s life, but it also can be stressful – especially if it wasn’t planned.

A free clinic is now open to help area women who find themselves in such a predicament.

Haven of Hope Pregnancy Services opened Monday, Nov. 3, at 537 Highland Ave., Carrollton, in the Fothergill Insurance building on the corner of Sixth Street.

A Christian-run program, Haven offers free pregnancy tests and community referrals, along with information about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. They also offer counseling, education and post-abortion help, which director Summer Young said is provided in a non-judgmental atmosphere.

“The need for this in this community is there, because from middle school on up, girls are getting pregnant,” Young said. “Last year between Carroll and Gallatin counties, in middle and high schools, there were 13 girls who were pregnant. This year, there are already six girls in Carroll County who are pregnant. The need is here.”

Four of the girls are seniors, one is a junior and one is a sophomore, Young said.

“Recently, it seems that teens are wanting to get pregnant,” said Connie Cary, founder of Haven and chairwoman of its four-member board.

Young agrees. “Girls think it’s ‘cool’ to have a baby. To have someone they can love and will love them back seems to be the missing piece” in their lives, she said.

Young said she would like for Haven to get involved in abstinence education in the schools, “instead of just [teaching] safe sex.”

“Safe sex” education means educating young people about using birth control if they are sexually active, to prevent both pregnancy and disease. Teaching abstinence encourages young people to avoid having sexual intercourse altogether.

Until then, Young said the goal of Haven of Hope is to help equip its clients with the physical things they will need during and after pregnancy, and provide them with parenting tools they will use for a lifetime.

One program offered at Haven is called “Earn While You Learn.” Participants can earn “Mommy Money” by making and keeping appointments, and by participating in a national curriculum produced by Heritage House Inc., which includes a series of worksheets and videos that teach what to expect during pregnancy, nutrition information for the pregnant woman and her baby, and other topics, including self-esteem.

As a participant finishes each course she and her counselor have selected, based on her own needs, she earns the “Mommy Money,” which she can redeem in the Blessings Boutique. The boutique is stocked with donations of maternity clothes, children’s clothing up to size 2T, and cribs, diapers, formula, toys and other necessities.

Through the program, a participant can earn enough to outfit her child once its born.

Cary said the entire program is funded by donations from individuals and churches, as well as corporations and government agencies, and is staffed by volunteers. Many area churches also have liaisons to the program.

Response has been good so far. Haven is hosting a fund-raiser dinner Thursday night at the Conference Center at General Butler State Resort Park. The event is completely sold out.

But, anyone is welcome to donate items or money to Haven, which is open from Mondays 4-7 p.m., Fridays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and  evening hours by appointment.

For more information, to schedule an appointment, or to volunteer at Haven of Hope, call (502) 732-8575 or send an e-mail to havenofhopepregnancyservices@yahoo.com.