When you think of a crisis, it causes your heart to flutter. Soon after, panic sets in. Then, before you know it, you are making hurried and irrational decisions. Those decisions can lead to tragedy or lifelong regret. So when Megan Yturriaga, the Executive Director of Alternatives Pregnancy Center explains to me why they don’t call the type of operation she leads a “Crisis Pregnancy Center” anymore, it’s because that is not what they are about.
“When we say ‘crisis’,” Megan says passionately and with a purpose, ” it makes people feel like this is a problem that must be solved right now. We do not think that pregnancy is ever a crisis. It’s not an emergency. You’ve got time to make an important decision…and so, we are a pregnancy resource center.”
Alternatives sees conflict, as opposed to crisis, that must be resolved. The conflict that a woman may be confronted with when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The conflict that comes from feeling overwhelmed with caring for a baby when she has little or no resources, or possibly no emotional support. And then the pressure from others to possibly consider abortion. This is where Alternatives has a team of trained individuals ready to provide the compassion and care it takes to work out the conflict. Megan explains their approach:
“What we try to do first and foremost is provide a very safe place to have a very hard conversation.” Megan continues, “People need an environment where they can say the thing that you don’t want to hear, and it’s still OK to say it.”
Alternatives offers hope through caring for the women and men seeking help and support for an unplanned pregnancy. And all of the services are free of charge, while all discussions with the Alternatives staff are strictly confidential. The caring is expressed in how Megan talks about the value of every person involved in making the best possible decision. “We see the woman or the man involved in the pregnancy as valuable in the eyes of God, as the baby. And we want to make sure they feel that value.”
Megan pulls no punches in talking about Alternatives as a faith-based center that believes in the sanctity of life. But, she makes it quite clear that, in the midst of their foundational beliefs, is the importance that the individual is treated with respect and dignity. Furthermore, Megan discusses how it is important that the woman feels empowered in making these decisions for themselves. “We believe in the sanctity of life. But we do not exist to coerce or pressure anyone into a decision that they do not feel 100% comfortable with.” Megan goes on to further support that position on empowering the individual to decide, “Really, our goal is to hear the heart of the man or the woman, and speak directly to whatever concerns they have in a way that makes them feel honored, makes them feel empowered, makes them feel capable…and then, let them have the space to make that hard decision.”
Megan knows firsthand how important that decision is as a child whom was adopted shortly after birth. Her parents instilled in her (and her adopted brother) the importance of upholding the sanctity of life, and how adoption is a gift that is tied to those values.
This is why Megan finds it ironic that the (pro-choice) movement talks about empowering women. But she is witnessing quite the opposite when it comes to women making that difficult decision. “Hands down, the most difficult thing for me is when someone wants to make a decision for life, and then they face outside pressure…and they don’t chose life. Then they come back so broken and so sad because they felt like the choice should have been their (was forced by someone else).”
But this is NOT how they go about it at Alternatives. They not only give women and men the space to make the decision they need, without added pressure, but they provide them many services and care beyond the birth of the child. Megan speaks about those that want to have their baby, “…so many people say ‘this is something I want to do, I just don’t know how’. And this is why we offer services for up to six months after the baby is born- and that we will walk with them on the journey whatever they chose.”
This is what touches me the most about Alternatives Pregnancy Center: that they not only talk about the sanctity of life, but they make a personal commitment to help you through this amazing journey, providing you all of the resources you need, free of charge, to make the decision for life. And, in doing so, turning an unplanned pregnancy into a journey of hope.
If you are facing an unplanned, untimely, or unexpected pregnancy and are not sure where to turn, begin by calling Megan and her team at Alternatives Pregnancy Center. They will schedule you a free appointment to talk to somebody discreetly and privately about the next step. They will provide free pregnancy tests and give you the result before you leave. If you are pregnant, they offer a free ultrasound to determine what stage you are in your pregnancy. And remember, all of their services are free and confidential regardless of age, income, race, or religion. Since there is no cost, they do not benefit financially from your decision. You can’t go wrong by visiting Alternatives, the pregnancy center that is not about crisis and pressuring, but about care and support with the space that you need to make the right decision.
(Chris Gaines is an author and Editor-in-Chief for Patriot Gaines. He resides in the Cedar Valley of Northern Iowa with his wife, Jen, and two kids, Patrick & Megan.)
For more information on the many services offered at Alternatives, or to schedule an appointment click here to connect with their website.