- The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” ~ Winston Churchill
Dear Friends of Next Step,
Back in 1940 a speech was given to gathered MPs and staff in the House of Commons, England. The speech though not made live to the public or broadcast has been hailed as one of the most inspiring speeches ever given. In it Sir Winston Churchill expounds upon the duty of all those in the British Empire to fight, to never flag, to stand firm, to defend their island and all its people, principles, hopes, and visions until the end, the very end, “whatever the cost may be”.
Churchill’s words struck me as particularly fitting as we inch closer and closer to the Election for Commander in Chief (among other positions and amendments) for our great nation. As well as the appointment of a new Justice in our highest court.
The last year (give or take) has taken on an almost surreal quality in its barrage of hate, anger, lies, violence, oppression, injustice, media blackouts, and suppression.
All in all the country stands poised to either retain her freedoms of religion, of speech, of the press, and of the right to peaceably gather as well as the right to all those living (born and unborn) to the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – or to surrender those things which were “endowed by their Creator”.
As a Pro-Life clinic Next Step Pregnancy stands to have our mission protected, celebrated, and most importantly moved forward to a time when the slaughter of the unborn is not just rare but indefensible. Or – to face overwhelming opposition against our purpose. That is how much the next few weeks will affect our cause.
This is not a “get out the vote” connection. But a plea for courage, discernment, and action. Much like the Prime Minister during the Second World War declared from the House on June 4th, 1940 following the evacuation of Dunkirk – “whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,”.
We can not be the silent majority any more than we can let others decide our outcomes. We need to live bravely. We cannot surrender. The future of our unborn children is dependent on you.
“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
- August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month!
“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy. I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams
Since the beginning of time mothers have breastfed their young. It is as natural and organic as breathing. In every aspect of the world and every species on the planet it is there. The connection between mother and young during this simple act is one of the most profound in the human experience and there is no comparison.
The grace that flows naturally from a woman is a unique strength. Not only has she the power to sustain a life within her own body but even after birth her body still brings life and nourishment to her child.
One of the many beautiful superpowers a woman possesses.
Breastfeeding is not always easy and is not always a beautiful experience. I can recall my own obstacles with my oldest child even years later. The late nights, the fatigue, the frustration of both mom and baby at not being able to latch on properly. But once again I was not alone. There were other women who had been there and knew. They understood. The resources I was given, the patience, the encouragement was yet another testament to the capabilities and communion between women.
Despite working hard to maintain breastfeeding and pumping milk daily my daughter decided that she had had enough at about 6 months old. I remember feeling tender about it and even a bit rejected. This was natural I realized. As soon as you become a mother they begin separating from you. Your child is her own unique person, unlike any other.
I would not change those times for anything, the quiet of the night, the curve of my baby’s head in my arms as she nestled. There is nothing that compares.
My second child was a bit different in every sense of the word. Due to health concerns sadly, I was unable to breastfeed for very long and had to turn towards formula for my child. Formula is not horrible. It contains the nutrients your baby needs without a doubt. I will not proclaim to say it is worse or better. Like many mothers who are unable to breastfeed I found bottle feeding still a treasured moment with my child. A fleeting time for sure, but a gift just the same.
There are a multitude of benefits to breastfeeding not the least of which is the possibility of losing pregnancy weight! There is also a myriad of breastfeeding resources in the community –
La Leche League – llli.org
PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) – peps.org
WIC – wicbreastfeeding.fns.usada.gov
And for more help or questions – there’s Next Step! (425)329-4569
- “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” John 15(v18-19),
Dear Friends of Next Step,
I would like to touch on something that I think we can all agree has become quite a tool for evil, especially in recent months with so many people relegated to living life behind their phones and laptops. Social Media – it is like a bucket of beautiful shiny red apples – but as you sift through you realize that was only the top layer and the rest is rotten.
Earlier this week I received an email recommending I create a Next Step Pregnancy Services business page for the Next Door application, which is an application for neighbors and neighborhoods to connect on local events, issues, buying and selling things and the like; the app gets a lot of traffic I’ll say. It sounded like a sound idea to get the word out about Next Step and our services, so I created a page with our services, our mission, and our location and contact info.
Not ten minutes later I got a notification of a comment, and then another one, and another. It went on all day. The comments were centered primarily on pregnancy care centers as a whole and why these few people believe pregnancy centers are anti woman, deceiving women into coming in, working without medical regulations or medical personnel, withholding contraception, pushing religious agendas, and the list goes on and on…. There were even comments about what Next Step’s stance was on Referendum 90 and sex education courses and ended with an invite from one neighbor to another to join “Catholics for Choice.”
As you can imagine I was fairly blown away by the viciousness and negativity. You would think I would not have been given Facebook and Twitter and the like spewed out there, but I guess I just thought – it is a business listing for our services, end of. To make a long story short, I did answer the legitimate questions about Next Step Pregnancy’s services, confirmed we are a pro-life organization, confirmed we do indeed have licensed medical professionals to boot. And I thanked the few people who chimed in in our defense. Thankfully there were a few.
I contemplated removing the business site from Next Door but in the end decided against it. Next Step Pregnancy Services is a beautiful, compassionate, and life-saving place that puts the health and well-being of families, including the precious unborn – first. And we will not back down, we will not be silent about the sanctity of all life, and we will not be cowed into compromising our faith. We are pro-woman. A woman is more than capable enough to be a mother, planned or unplanned. Make no mistake, this is a battle. We can do it.
“He has chosen us out of the world.”
- “What Does it mean to Empower Women?”
“The woman’s soul is fashioned as a shelter in which other souls may unfold.”
~ St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
Pope John Paul II once described women’s unique capabilities as “feminine genius”. In his beautiful “Letter to Women” written from the Vatican in 1995 before he addressed the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, he went on to describe women as “having a particular and special sensitivity to the human person”.
From the Vatican, 29 June 1995, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.
What a beautifully true sentiment. Women are strong. Women are resilient. Women are capable and always have been. The modern women do not seem to comprehend her own worth. Her own value and capacity for fulfillment and achievement. It is there. And has been.
“I do not wish to give (women) a first place, still less a second one- but the complete freedom to take their true place, whatever it may be.” ~ Elizabeth Blackwell
Pioneers of women’s rights knew it and fought for it. They shine a light to the world about what women could accomplish and should be recognized as. Fully functioning equals. Integral, valuable, resilient and full of promise.
It seems today a lot of what is churned out in the name of feminism is contrived, stony, and intolerant. Independence is pushed at the cost of connection. Self-sufficiency at the cost of nurturing. Toughness is encouraged as a replacement for tenderness. To terminate a child held in the womb is decreed a right.
No! This is a serious distortion on womanhood, and we all suffer as a result.
Again in the words of Blessed John Paul II, “the face of women the reflection of a beauty which mirrors the loftiest sentiments of which the human heart is capable: the self-offering totality of love; the strength that is capable of bearing the greatest sorrows; limitless fidelity and tireless devotion to work; the ability to combine penetrating intuition with words of support and encouragement. — Blessed John Paul II Redemptoris Mater (46)
- A Day in the Life
There is a right time for everything:
2 A time to be born; A time to die; A time to plant; A time to harvest;
3 A time to kill; A time to heal; A time to destroy; A time to rebuild;
4 A time to cry; A time to laugh; A time to grieve; A time to dance;
5 A time for scattering stones; A time for gathering stones; A time to hug;
A time not to hug;
6 A time to find; A time to lose; A time for keeping; A time for throwing away;
7 A time to tear; A time to repair; A time to be quiet; A time to speak up;
8 A time for loving; A time for hating; A time for war; A time for peace.
9 What does one really get from hard work? 10 I have thought about this in connection with all the various kinds of work God has given to mankind. 11 Everything is appropriate in its own time. But though God has planted eternity in the hearts of men, even so, many cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (TLB)
What does a day in the life of a pregnancy services center look like right now? We all know that every day things are changing. For good or bad the sun continues to rise each morning and continues to set each evening. What is constant if not the sun? And deeper than that is the desire to live, to breathe and be vital. And how can these needs be met in times like these? Lovingly, creatively and without pause.
Each morning the lights come on and the first order of business is cleaning. Music on, gloves on, and armed with Clorox we walk from room to room, door to door wiping down desks, counters, sinks, light switches, doorknobs, chairs, keyboards, phones and finally the coffee pot! Floors are swept while joe brews. Computers are turned on and the door is unlocked ready to welcome those in need.
The first family comes in. Mom cradling a sleeping little girl while her other two children cling to her pant legs. She stands within the blue square on the floor as asked while I look up her profile. Diapers size 2, 3, and 5. Blessed with wipies I can hand out two packs to her grateful smile. Cereal and fruit? Yes! Now for some clothes. Explaining that our boutique is temporarily closed I pick out 3 or 4 summer outfits for each of her children and fold carefully into waiting bags. Big brown eyes smile at me from behind mom’s leg as I offer little blue teddy bears that were just donated.
Another knock on the door and a masked head pokes in. Upon seeing the woman and her family the new client waits without to help us maintain the social distancing. I finish up with this young mom and she leaves inviting the other family inside and the process starts again.
Another woman comes into the center uncertainty etched on her young face. She’s hoping for a pregnancy test. She has missed her period and is just feeling off. Can we help? Her boyfriend is waiting in the car. The nurse takes her temperature and gives her a mask to wear in the consultation room. She sits down with the nurse. She’s not sure when her last cycle was but feels sure she’s pregnant. The nurse helps her with a urinary test and gives her the news. They sit together for a long while talking.
Families come and go. Several women come in alone asking for formula and one is hoping for a stroller. We all stand apart from one another smiling in hopes the welcome is felt. I help a happy father carry out a high chair and a nice exersaucer, his smile of thanks warm and genuine.
The doors and counters are wiped down again and again. Several calls asking if we are open or closed because of the virus.
The nurse finally comes out with the young girl and I am asked to set up an ultrasound 2 weeks from now. The smile is hesitant and wavering. And after she leaves the small Next Step team sit down in a larger circle to separate and pray. The young girl is happy to be with child but young and unsure. She thinks her boyfriend will be happy but what if he isn’t? So we pray. For peace and comfort for the girl and for the health of her and her unborn baby and we pray we’ll see her in two weeks for her ultrasound.
In the back we are gloved up and donation bags are unpacked and soft little onsies are sorted into piles by size. Warm sleepers are stored in winter boxes and colorful summer dresses are hung up. More coffee is made as envelopes are stickered ready for mailing. Thank you cards are written and plans are made.
The day starts to wane and we do final wipe downs of the office. We close the doors and say our goodbyes. A lot of families were helped today. A lot of smiles were seen. I feel good about our day. It was a good one despite the ever changing landscape outside. We’ll do it all again tomorrow and feel blessed at what our ministry brings to the community and to our own lives.