How can we support expectant mothers, new mothers, babies, and children? However your heart and mind are processing, lamenting, rejoicing in, or pondering the overturn of Roe v. Wade, I sincerely hope you are asking yourself how you can support the lives of others. This should be the discussion. I am thankful for the positive dialogue surrounding this question.
I’ve spoken to two directors of Pregnancy Resource Centers, an OBGYN, and a caseworker for foster care to compile a list of practical ways that we can love others well.
While this is not a completely exhaustive list, I am sharing what I have found thus far with the hope and expectation that followers of Christ will live as the hands and feet of Jesus, truly pro-every-life from conception to the grave. God has commanded us to love God and to love others. May we do exactly that.
It is important to state that am not writing about the ways we can support elderly adults in this particular post. Elderly adults are an important part of this discussion and also need our support. This is an important issue related to the topic, but it’s a different post for a different day. Today, I’m focusing primarily on expectant women, mothers, and children.
10 Ways to Support Expectant Women, Mothers, Babies, and Children
1. Host a baby shower for a woman who may not have support from her family.
2. Offer financial assistance to cover a portion of childcare to a working mom or a mother who is a student. Women need good, reliable, affordable childcare. If we want to see them be successful, this is an essential and impactful opportunity to see that success to fruition. Childcare workers and facilities, I know the expenses you face with daily care. Your work is costly to say the least. What can be done? Can your facility offer a sliding scale if you aren’t doing so already. Are there budget cuts that can be made to lower rates? Does your program have a family rate? These are all good discussions to be having within our facilities.
3. Help with transportation to and from: prenatal appointments, well child check-ups, the grocery store, the hospital, a pregnancy resource center for parenting classes, for errands around town, etc.
4. Donate formula and diapers to an expectant mother or a mother of babies. If you do not know a young mother, please take donations to a local pregnancy resource center. They are always willing to accept and distribute these items.
5. Ask a woman for her grocery list or buy staples that would benefit a woman or her family. Buy and deliver these groceries for a new mother, an expectant woman, or a family with children of any age. If you are doing well financially, it is not difficult to find a family who is financially struggling.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. ~Luke 12:48
6. Whether you are a woman with an empty nest, a single woman, or a woman with children, you can offer to babysit on an occasional or regular basis. Important note: I have a degree in elementary and early childhood education and much training on this topic. I do not recommend men as babysitters. I won’t elaborate. Men, generally speaking, I would recommend that you offer assistance with groceries or errands. There are exceptions. Fellow mothers, be discerning. Men, please offer help in other ways.
7. Coordinate with an expecting woman or mom to take a meal to her house from time to time, or on a monthly/weekly basis. Do not wait to be asked for help. Coordinate with friends. Use an app like Take Them a Meal. Get it done! Many times, people will not ask for help even when they are desperate. Just volunteer, coordinate, and show up.
8. Connect expecting women with a local Pregnancy Resource Center. PRCs not only help with material needs, many also offer free parenting classes to help mothers learn more about balancing family, work, and life.
9. One of the PRC directors shared that we must speak about adoption in a positive light because this is a healthy alternative to elective abortion. She stated, “We refer to a few great adoption agencies. These agencies have many people on their waiting lists who are loving, Christian people.”
10. Finally, the other PRC director urged, “Believe, speak of, and treat children as a blessing. We have been taught that children are a burden. Sometimes the global church falls for that lie, too.” I will add to what she stated. Our responses to women, both those who are expecting and women raising children, matter. Our responses to children matter. Always encourage. Please see examples below.
When a woman tells you she is expecting, your response should be, “Congratulations,” or, “How can I help you?” and never anything with a hint of disapproval or shame.
When a toddler is having a tantrum or a newborn is wailing in the diaper aisle, offer a compassionate smile, a helping hand reaching the diapers off the top shelf, and simply say, “You’re doing a good job,” or, “I have been there.” No child rearing advice or distasteful glances needed in the diaper aisle. Go with generosity and compassion instead.
When a child is tardy to school or returns from being absent, we must say, “I’m glad you are here.” Do not ever shame children when they walk into a room. Say it louder for the people in the back. Your eyes should light up when a child sees your face. If your face is pinched with disdain, you’re doing the face thing all wrong.
If a child needs a bottle of water and you have an unopened extra, share it. If a school needs donations of water bottles or snacks, send them. Let’s be generous with our lives so that others can simply live.
Educators, when a child asks for a pencil for the hundredth time, give them a new pencil. Buy extras. Keep a stash. Quietly hand children school supplies when they come to school without anything. No comments needed. No questions needed. I firmly believe in this principle. This is exactly what I do. This is what I will always do. Dollar Tree supplies is welcome in our classrooms. Shame is not. I almost had a little soapbox there for a minute. Ope. I digress.
A bonus suggestion for the creative thinkers among us: Think of things that would have been a blessing to you when you were a parent or a pregnant woman, and extend those things to a mother or woman you know. Often times, the most beneficial way to love others is to put yourself in their shoes, to empathize with their situation, and to treat others the way you would want or did want to be treated in their situation.
This list is only the continuation of an ongoing discussion. It isn’t the complete discussion. May it be our daily discussion and our daily lifestyle. We love because He first loved us.
From my heart to yours,
Note: Consider donating school supplies to an elementary school teacher or office for children who do come to school without supplies. Consider donating new or very gently used clothing and shoes to a school nurse’s office for children who need items for various reasons. (Flip flops break frequently. Soles come off of shoes. Children fall in the mud at recess or have accidents. Clothing is always needed.) Consider donating non-perishable pantry and snack items to a school counselor or principal for the backpack program in which schools fill backpacks with food for children on long weekends and holidays from school.
P.S. Please add your best ideas to the discussion. I welcome all respectful, grace-giving, and helpful dialogue. I reserve the right to delete anything other than those comments which offer help. My schedule is quite full in this season of teaching summer school, completing graduate studies, and raising children, so please do not be a person who requires comment policing. Folks don’t have time for that nonsense, friends. To the thoughtful and generous hearts among you, I welcome your input. Please join the discussion.