Are you pregnant?
Catholic Charities’ Pregnancy Counseling Program focuses on providing Crisis Pregnancy Counseling to women who are struggling with the emotional aspects of their pregnancy. The counseling addresses a wide spectrum of issues, including the initial concerns and anxiety about being pregnant, family discord, mood disturbance, and parenting skills. Licensed counselors provide the counseling.
The counseling is performed at any Catholic Charities office, in the community, and in collaboration with other social service agencies.
For confidential pregnancy counseling services, call (513) 489-8898 to set up an appointment to talk to one of our counselors.
Below is an interview with our pregnancy crisis manager that provides additional perspective on this service.
Most greet the news of a baby with anticipation and joy. But for some expectant mothers, a pregnancy is a time of despair: a confusing and downright frightening experience complicating an already chaotic life.
Our Pregnancy Counseling program protects these vulnerable families through our seven counseling centers across 11 counties in Southwestern Ohio. Often the women we see don’t fit common stereotypes.
“For the most part these are adult women who already are dealing with a number of stressors in their lives,” said mental health specialist Cherie Groman, MS, MFT. “Many have struggles that predate their pregnancies. They’re dealing with depression or anxiety issues and they’re very worried about being successful as a parent.”
Desire to be Good
That desire to be good parents is exactly what leads many clients to seek counseling. “They’ll come right out and say, ‘I just don’t want to screw this up,’” Groman added.
And then there are those expectant mothers who have medical complications. Many women come to Catholic Charities with high-risk pregnancies. Sometimes the medications they take to protect themselves and unborn child have mood-altering side effects that need to be managed through professional counseling.
Groman, who leads the Pregnancy Counseling program, is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She treats about 120 clients per year, but the need is far greater.
“We’re barely scratching the surface,” she says. “There still are a lot of barriers to women asking for help and even more to them actually sticking with the program.”
In addition to high-risk pregnancies, mothers who previously experienced difficulty while pregnant or suffered from postpartum depression in the past can be among the most challenging cases.
“The barriers are even higher for those moms,” Groman explains. “She’s already feeling lousy, she’s busy with two other children, she’s stressed out, depressed, and we’re asking her to keep one more appointment. We really have to make it as easy as possible.”
One way Groman addresses barriers is with small incentives to encourage women to stick to their wellness plan, to schedule and keep counseling sessions. Through the generosity of a small number of donors, Catholic Charities supplements counseling services with tangible assistance for some of its clients.
“Little gestures can mean a great deal to someone who’s hurting,” Groman said. “A pack of diapers for the baby or pull-ups for an older sibling helps her out in small way but also makes the connection between helping herself and helping her family.”
Other challenges for the program include secure cell phones for counselors to connect with clients while protecting their confidentiality and privacy as well as that of the counselor. The agency also needs other mobile technologies to allow secure access to client records from its seven counseling centers across 11 counties. Catholic Charities has counseling centers in Cincinnati, Delhi, Montgomery, Hamilton and Springfield.