SANTA FE, N.M. — With child. Expecting. In a family way. Knocked up. However you put it, “No one gets pregnant to have an abortion,” says Roberta Cheek, executive director of CareNet in Santa Fe. Unplanned pregnancy… one of our culture’s great conundra.
This is the venue of CareNet. “Providing information and choices to clients in a non-judgmental way so they may make informed choices.”
Never heard of CareNet? It may be Santa Fe’s best-kept secret. CareNet serves pregnant women in crisis, the youngest having been 13 years old and the eldest 48, many of whom arrive pregnant in a state of shock. What to do? They don’t want to be pressured into having a baby, nor do they want to be pressured into having an abortion. They come here scared, wondering what their options are, looking for non-judgmental help at a highly stressful and emotional time. What they get is medically and legally sourced information to help them make an informed decision on how they want to proceed with the pregnancy. “A choice without information is not a choice,” said one CareNet board member.
They learn about the realities of having a baby and the realities of having an abortion. There is a price to pay for either. CareNet’s role is to provide the information, the support and the caring for each client, and help for her through this very difficult time, whatever her choice.
One recent client was surprised to find herself pregnant again. Michelle already had one baby. The father of her 7-month-old-baby son was gone. She has a good job, but how could she raise another child, alone? She was torn. She had had an abortion years earlier when she was a teenager, and had suffered tremendous guilt and sadness, which she had finally worked through with a lot of therapy. She was not dying to go through that again, but she was fearful about bringing another baby into her single-mother household. She found an understanding ear in Roberta, who helped present her choices clearly.
“CareNet cares enough about each client to provide us with counseling, emotional and spiritual guidance, financial advice and everything necessary to make a quality of life choice,” Michelle told me, enthusiastically recommending CareNet. Weighing her options, considering her circumstances, anticipating the consequences and choosing what she felt was right for herself, now they also have a baby sister in the family. Michelle’s choice.
Surprise pregnancy is not limited to any one demographic. It affects people from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, which is truly amazing in this day and age! Of all the preventable conditions today, rarely should anyone “accidentally” become pregnant. But alas, humans! It keeps happening.
The client advocates at CareNet counsel both in pre- and post-pregnancy, and also offer comforting help and post-abortion services to women suffering after an abortion. Many feel a sense of loss, depression or PTSD afterwards, and CareNet gives them help and love. They also offer new family counseling and fathering classes for new dads to teach them how to treat a baby and its mother, with a “bucks to spend in the shop” program. Clients can purchase diapers, baby clothes and other necessities with the “bucks” they earn for taking the counseling courses. Win/win!
A crowd of 500 people came out to support CareNet at a benefit banquet held at the Santa Fe Convention Center. Allen West was the guest speaker with a scintillating talk on the topic, which had guests glued to their seats as they raised $60,000 for the folks at CareNet to continue their work.
Did you wonder?
The 13-year-old carried her baby to term; the 48-year-old woman terminated hers.
Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artist Glen Strock
Carol Tucker and Diane Case.
Mike Tapia with Michael and Samantha Monnet.
Robert Cheek, CareNet executive director.
Newlyn Allison, CareNet board member.
Shelley Stisser McCraigh, CareNet client services director.