As I continue to settle in at Good Counsel Homes, I am finally able to articulate to myself at this stage in life the things that intuitively resonated with me when I did this work in my twenties. Seen now from the perspective of fund development work, which affords me the perspective that comes with viewing the work from two steps back, I see how our universal human nature manifests the deepest yearnings of the soul in the hour of greatest vulnerability and need.
I am impressed and moved beyond words at how Chris Bell and the team at Good Counsel have revolutionized the work of maternity homes beyond the traditional model of safe haven and passive waiting for birth. Our homes are active and dynamic places of growth and preparation for all of the adult responsibilities that come with single motherhood. The two years that women spend in residence with us, and the two years of follow-up programming afterward are characterized by the singular virtue that allows the human soul to breathe free:
The intensive Life Skills training, formal education, parenting classes, employment preparation are only made possible because so very many pro-lifers have made them possible through their generosity and shared vision. It is the least celebrated dimension of our movement, but a powerful one, as it sustains the inner yearnings of frightened young mothers’ souls through the pregnancy, and for the next three years.
They do not walk the road alone. And so I am left with a few thoughts about hope for young single mothers, not necessarily well connected to one another. Just some insights inspired by my observations of the interactions between our moms and a dedicated staff and all that they communicate to these moms in their most desperate hour.
I think that people embrace babies when they see babies.
They embrace motherhood when it becomes a thing to be celebrated.
I think people dare to hope when they see others willing to love.
They dare to dream when others are willing to mentor.
I think people abandon dread when they are surrounded by joy.
They thrive when others share life with them.
I think they build community when they respond to dire need.
And they grow when the possibilities are made accessible.
Most of all, I think that life becomes more precious and dear for those who teetered on the brink.
Having stared into the abyss, they revel in the simplicity of just being.
Homes are springing up all over the nation, using the model that has evolved at Good Counsel. It’s much bigger than just Chris Bell or the staff. It’s the size, the power, the generosity of the faith-filled pro-lifers who promote and sustain all of these homes. That level of involvement, that power, that drive and tenacity in turn fill me with hope;
Hope that we are not alone in this fight, and hope that the tide is indeed turning. Though it may not seem so, our adversaries are scared, truly scared for the first time since Roe v. Wade. The ascendancy of the burgeoning pro-life movement, especially among the young has them frightened. It’s a long, hard battle, but we’re winning it.
One baby, one mother at a time.