I need help
A pregnancy is not always accompanied by joy and feelings of happiness. We understand that. If the pregnancy is unplanned, unwanted and has to remain a secret, it can trigger feelings of anxiety and worry.
Call us; we'll listen to you and provide you with competent help right away. We share your worries. Your call will be dealt with in confidence and full anonymity. We are a professional advice centre staffed with experts from the social, medical and legal professions who are at your service free of charge.
In an emergency or if you require urgent pregnancy counselling, you can reach us outside office hours and at the weekend or on public holidays.
The counselling service is available by telephone 0800 811 100 (calls are free), e-mail helpline(at)shmk.ch, or on the spot in a personal talk at the hospital (contact address).
Offers of help
- Counselling and support both during pregnancy and also after childbirth
- Material and financial assistance after clarification of the circumstances
- Provision of local addresses and offers of help
- Checking on possibilities of income support, help with the preparation of a budget
- Cooperation with other help organisations
- Free legal advice on maternity issues (employment, children's rights, paternity, alimony, etc.)
True stories from the emergency unit of the Swiss Aid for Mother and Child (SAMC) foundation
Cry For Help From the Practice
While sitting in the waiting room of her gynaecologist, Iris (27) nervously searches the internet on her cell phone for the topic of abortion, thus discovering the website of the SAMC. She immediately writes an e-mail to the helpline: «I am sitting in the waiting room at my gynaecologist’s office. I am pregnant … Actually, I am here to get an abortion. I am so confused. What should I do?»
After her commercial apprenticeship, Iris had a job with which she could live quite well. Her difficulties began, however, after losing the position due to the company’s reorganisation. She couldn’t escape unemployment and became dependent on Social Services. She was therefore overjoyed when she was finally hired for a new job. But now, midst in her trial period, she gets pregnant. Just not back to Social Services, she thinks, and resolves to arrange an abortion at her gynaecologist’s.
A Counsellor Responds Immediately
As Iris leaves the doctor’s office, she already has the answer from the SAMC’s counsellor on her cell phone: She can well understand her desire to have a child with the «right man». Unfortunately, one can never be sure to have found that «right man». The only sure thing is that the child is already here. It makes sense to get professional advice and help in any situation that looks hopeless. She has already made the first step towards this.
Shortly thereafter, Iris emotionally and tearfully describes her situation to the counsellor on the phone: She is terrified that a child would jeopardize her new career. Her boyfriend is traumatized from spending his youth in an orphanage and is still receiving treatment for it. He is drawing half of a disability pension. She cannot rely on him to raise and support the child – apart from the fact that he is totally against having the baby. Admittedly, her heart softened as she saw the baby in the ultrasound. Her heart is in favour of the child but her fears are against him. That is why she set an appointment for the abortion. Fear is a bad advisor, the counsellor points out to Iris. Getting an abortion out of panic, despite having feelings for the child, could weigh heavily on her later. It would definitely be fitting to explore the possibilities for a life together with the baby. So they both agree to a meeting at the SAMC.
The Abortion Pill in Her Hand
She doesn’t keep the appointment yet because she is still torn about what to do. Now she even goes to the hospital and asks to be given the abortion pill. But she does not take it. First she plans to attend that meeting at the SAMC.
When Iris arrives with a friend to talk to the counsellor, they end up talking for hours. The despairing woman is afraid that the baby will be an additional cost and would prevent her financial situation from improving. The counsellor dampens Iris’s pessimism by explaining that the SAMC could support her both materially and financially. It finally dawns on Iris: there is no reason to panic in the face of such concrete help. She feels immensely relieved and decides to keep her baby.
Unfortunately, what Iris feared actually did happen: her employer fires her during the trial period when he realises that she is expecting. As a pregnant woman she doesn’t find another job either and is forced to reapply for Social Services. She doesn’t allow anything, however, to shake her resolution to keep the baby. Rather, she grows in confidence as the SAMC helps prepare her for the birth and provides her with the necessary equipment for the baby. One positive development is that her boyfriend stops pressuring her to have the abortion.
Inner Peace as a Mother
After the birth of her son, Iris really blooms in her new role as a mother. «My child is the most beautiful thing that has ever happened in my life», she tells her counsellor. She thanks the SAMC warmly that they encouraged her to keep her baby and that they took away the fear of the future through their offering of tangible help. Their support is necessary, too, because Social Services suddenly claims that they had paid her too much in the past and now require that she reimburses them. The SAMC therefore provides Iris with monthly food vouchers until her financial situation improves so that she can make ends meet. Despite her difficult position, Iris is at peace: «I and my sunshine are doing wonderfully. It was a 100% correct decision to keep my baby», she writes to her counsellor.
The Wrong Time for a Baby? Not at all!
Lydia (28) completed her career training. Until now, she has had to make do with small part-time jobs. She doesn’t want to live in humble conditions any longer, however. In order to improve her chances for a better job, she plans on doing further education – and just now becomes pregnant. And the father of the child, her boyfriend? Unemployed! Lydia sees her plans drift away. She is overcome with the fear of remaining poor and at the edge of society for the rest of her life. In her search for someone trustworthy to talk to, she finds the SAMC. She calls the helpline.
The Wrong Time
She has just found out that she is 8 weeks pregnant, she tells the counsellor. Having to take responsibility for the baby is putting too much pressure on her and is endangering her career goals. How is further education possible with a child? The counsellor also learns of the couple’s difficult financial situation. Lydia’s partner, unemployed and lacking in self-confidence, reacts listlessly to the pregnancy: it is all the same to him whether they have a baby or not, Lydia should decide! All in all, the young woman thinks that it is the wrong time for a child. Therefore, she considers having an abortion.
The counsellor explains to Lydia that it is possible to continue her education with also a baby. The SAMC has already helped a lot of women in this way. As for it being the right or wrong time for having a baby, it could be precisely this child that gives direction to her life, thereby making her happy!
A Bumpy Ride
Over the following weeks, Lydia continues talking to her counsellor and exchanges e-mails with her. She seems to be getting quite confident about having a life with her baby, but then she loses heart again. The discussions seem to help her gain confidence, only to have her fears of failure and poverty bring her down again and again. The counsellor therefore decides to visit Lydia at home and talk again about all of her concerns.
A few days after this visit, Lydia, who is now in her 12th week, calls her counsellor in a panic: she can’t get over all of her fears and doesn’t trust herself to raise a child yet. It really does seem to be the wrong time. The counsellor also learns that she has already made an appointment for an abortion.
She then gets to the bottom of these new fears in an intensive discussion. During the conversation, Lydia manages to realise that this tiny being she is carrying in her womb needs her protection, her love and her affection, and that yes, it really is a baby. And she understands that her child is more important than her fears!
Lydia Writes to her Counsellor from the Bottom of her Heart
Lydia experiences true happiness once she cancels her appointment for an abortion and decides to keep her baby. The child lends her the courage to overcome her fears. This courage also affects her boyfriend, who gets past his passivity and starts to get excited about the upcoming birth.
Lydia then learns just how the SAMC can concretely help her to stay on track: The SAMC acknowledges Lydia’s need for further education and will help her to organise her life so this will be possible.
When Lydia gives birth to her daughter, she feels how a new life has begun for her. She is overjoyed, and knows that this really is the right time. She thanks the SAMC by saying «I would like to thank your foundation from the bottom of my heart for the moral and financial support you gave me. That our baby is alive and has a good future ahead of her is all due to your help!»
And then, to top it all off, her boyfriend finds a new part-time job in the nick of time. A few weeks after the birth, Lydia writes to her counsellor: «Thank you again so very much for all of your efforts on my behalf. I am for ever thankful to you and your foundation for standing by me in this challenging time.»
«The greatest gift that I have ever received!»
Shortly after a serious operation, Lea (33) realises that she is pregnant. She has never prepared herself for it, all the more so as her doctors doubted that she would ever be able to have children. She was somehow content to remain childless, while even without a child, life was often overwhelming. Over the years, she has got mired into debt, as has her partner. The financial situation of the couple is constantly precarious. Lea therefore doesn't see any other possibility than an abortion and looks for advice. She takes contact with the SAMC.
Fears Bar the Way
A lively exchange of e-mails and phone calls reveals to the counsellor a woman that, after having experienced for years her inability to master the challenges of everyday life, now suffers from every sort of fear. Lea is afraid of her debts, afraid of bill collectors, afraid of being hemmed in by officials, and now afraid of the pregnancy and of a child.
The counsellor explains to Lea that the problems in her life won’t be solved by getting rid of her child. Actually, the opposite may be true: everything could get even worse. Accepting the child could help in finding solutions. The SAMC would stand by her. It is necessary to make some basic changes to the situation. The child could be incorporated well into them and even be a motivating factor. The counsellor illustrates how the SAMC is able to help. Lea almost cannot believe it when she hears how the SAMC can materially support her. Unfortunately, even here she finds cause to be afraid: such unexpected help is very unsettling. She asks herself whether there is a catch.
Unfortunately her partner is discouraging her as well: he thinks they will not be able to cope with a child. Lea makes an appointment for an abortion. She tells the counsellor this, and thanks her for the offer to help.
A few days later, the counsellor gets an e-mail from Lea: she didn’t keep her appointment at the hospital, but she also has not definitely decided to keep her baby. Now the counsellor considers it her main duty to reduce Leas fear and to restore her confidence in life. Instead of fear and pressure, she should focus on experiencing joy and hope in life. They continue to discuss how the SAMC can support her. It is hard work to convince Lea that there is really no catch.
With help from the SAMC, Lea is able to find a cheaper apartment and to put her financial affairs in better order. She can finally breathe again and is able to shake her fears. With visible relief, she tells the counsellor that she wants to keep her baby.
A Joyful Mother
She is stunned at all of the help she receives: «The SAMC is the only institution I know of that offers hope», she tells her counsellor. She is now looking forward to her child so much, she says.
After the birth of her son, the counsellor gets a message from Lea, that shows that joy, rather than fear, has become a part of her life: «My son is the greatest gift that I have ever received. I am speechless, nobody has ever helped me in my life. It is Christmas for me! I thank you from the bottom of my heart and send you a huge hug.»
A Mother Regrets Ever Having Considered An Abortion
Ria (28), mother of two boys, is paralysed with fear as she learns that she is again pregnant. How it will continue, or rather, not continue, is something that she realises instantly: she immediately makes an appointment with her doctor to procure abortion pills. The outcome, however, is going to be much different from what she expects.
A woman that Ria knows discovers her intention to have an abortion and tries to awaken some maternal feelings for her baby. Ria doesn’t pay any attention. The acquaintance then mentions that she will ask an aid organisation to contact Ria directly. Ria doesn’t expressly turn the idea down, but she does reveal that she will pick up the tablets that day. Shortly thereafter, a request for help reaches the SAMC hotline, for someone to have a last-minute talk with Ria.
The Last-minute, Decisive Conversation
A counsellor was actually able to speak to Ria just before leaving for her doctor’s appointment. Throughout the difficult conversation, the counsellor could feel that the pregnant woman was under a lot of pressure and was only able to focus on one thing: she absolutely had to end the pregnancy, and immediately. She had numerous motives: she had recently started living on welfare, and didn’t want to become even more dependent on it; she was already raising other children all alone; she desperately needed to bring her life into an upswing, and that wouldn’t happen when starting over with a new baby. The counsellor tries to loosen Ria’s fixation on all of the problems, telling her that often an abortion looks like the only way out, but that later, in hindsight, a change of opinion could weigh heavily on someone. She should think about how she feels when she encounters other pregnant women.
In the course of the conversation, Ria turns aggressive. The counsellor, however, remains calm and friendly, and explains how the SAMC has already helped a lot of women in similar circumstances. The talk ends with Ria declaring she is sure that she will go through with the abortion, and that anyway, her pregnancy isn’t that far along yet. The counsellor responds that her child is nevertheless a small person and already has her own heartbeat. Ria appears certain, however: the appointment is today at 2 pm!
In the late afternoon, the counsellor’s phone rings. It is Ria, and she describes her visit with the doctor. On her way to the office, she really did encounter several pregnant women, seemingly as if they knew what she was about to do. That got her thinking. Then the doctor was unfriendly, and not very understanding. On her way home, she remembered the conversation with the counsellor, and how kind and helpful she had been. A discussion ensues, opening the door to other conversations. Through the exchange Ria begins to see that it is better to take on the challenges of a new child than to live a life overshadowed by an abortion. She announces she has decided to keep her baby and is glad. Even her two boys are looking forward to their new sibling.
The Joy of Motherhood Thanks to SAMC
Unfortunately Ria encounters various problems with the birth father. Then she has complications with the welfare office: because of incorrect calculations, she has been receiving too much financial help, and she will have the difference deducted from her benefits. This causes her to have trouble paying for the essentials. Despite all of this, she tells the counsellor that she doesn’t regret deciding to keep her baby. After having had an abortion, she thinks, she would have lost her sanity at some point. With the help of the SAMC, Ria is able to bring her situation back under control.
After giving birth to a healthy baby girl, she is thrilled, and thanks her counsellor for everything. «I am so happy that the SAMC is here, and really helps.» And referring to that first phone call at the beginning of her pregnancy, she remarks: «If that conversation hadn’t happened, I would have taken those abortion pills. Today I am so glad that I have my child. Whenever I look at her, I feel so guilty that I almost aborted her.»
Surviving the Unbearable Thanks to a SAMC-Counsellor
Zoe (25), a sensitive woman, has gone through difficult times since she became pregnant with her first child. Her boyfriend, the child’s father, is violent and tries forcing her to have an abortion. If she refuses, there will be serious consequences. He threatens her and possesses drugs and weapons. He slanders her to the Children and Adult Protection Authority. The police and Victim Aid agency get involved. A real live guardian angel accompanies Zoe through all the storms: the counsellor at SAMC.
Zoe is appalled. Not only the fact that she is personally threatened causes her to despair, but also that she may be abandoned with her child. Against her will, she makes an appointment for an abortion. Torn apart in her conscience, however, she cancels it again. Not much time passes before she is overwhelmed again by fear. Her sister realizes her confusion and contacts the SAMC hotline. Shortly thereafter, Zoe speaks on the phone with a counsellor. She explains that she is 8 weeks pregnant and had unfortunately just cancelled the appointment at the clinic, which was a mistake. The counsellor is convinced that without support, Zoe will not keep her baby.
Zoe and her sister meet with the counsellor immediately. They both explain that the father is violent and threatens her constantly with leaving, harming her, and slandering her to the authorities (the guardianship authority) to take the baby away from her if she nevertheless decides to keep it. Zoe says that she would like a separation from him, but can’t bring herself to do it. He would stalk her. She also has problems at work. Her boss would demand full participation at work despite the pregnancy. She doesn’t see how she could handle all of that, and so is unsure whether she should keep the baby or not.
The counsellor encourages both women and explains how SAMC can support Zoe.
The Father Reports Her to the Child and Adult Protection Authority
After this meeting, Zoe contacts the SAMC often and asks repeatedly whether she can come by. She seems to be testing whether the SAMC really means it when they say they are always there for her. One day she admits to the counsellor that she truly believes that SAMC will stand by her.
Her boyfriend shaves his hair off to appear more threatening. After that, however, he is detained by the police because he possesses drugs and weapons. The police and Victim Aid agency work together to gain more insight into how dangerous Zoe’s situation is. She leaves her boyfriend and notifies the SAMC shortly thereafter that she will keep her baby.
Unfortunately her boyfriend actually reports her to the authorities as a danger to her child: she is incapable of raising a child because she, among other things, takes drugs. At the request of Zoe and the authorities, the SAMC-Counsellor also gets involved in clearing up the situation. Thanks to her participation, Zoe is required to take fewer drug tests than would otherwise be requested.
All of the test results come out clean. Even all of the other clarifications come out in favour of Zoe. Taking the child away from her ceases to be an issue.
The young woman also suffers from the strain of working too hard on the production line in a food factory. After the counsellor has a word with Zoe’s boss, however, her working conditions improve and she is allowed to give notice ending her employment when her maternity leave ends. For Zoe, however, who has to be very careful with money, this causes financial insecurity. The SAMC assures her that it will help her financially. She is also relieved when she is given everything she needs for her baby by the SAMC. Now she can confidently face the future as a mother.
«Where would we be without you?»
The baby is born by Caesarean. Zoe delivers a healthy daughter weighing four Kilograms. The young mother, who 9 months ago was despairing, heartily thanks the SAMC: «You supported me so well that I have been able to say yes to my child.» Her sister tells the counsellor, «Where would we be without you?» Despite the challenges that she still faces, Zoe is thrilled with her baby. She knows that she can continue to count on the help of the SAMC.
Hope Despite Chaos – Thanks to Saying Yes to a Child
Lea (28) and her boyfriend have been together a long time and have a daughter together (4). Unfortunately they have never achieved financial stability. They are constantly worried about money and are squeezed into a small 3 ½ room flat. One of the rooms is being used for Lea’s profession. Even though Lea would have liked to have another child, she is convinced that it is simply not possible.
She is totally shocked, then, when she realizes that she is pregnant again. She wants to abort.
Lea is torn
It isn’t as easy as she thought, however, to put her maternal feelings aside. She would like to know whether there is any help available for her situation. Since she has already heard of the SAMC, she sends an e-mail to its hotline.
Soon she meets with a counsellor. Lea describes her difficult situation and that she doesn’t see another way out except through an abortion. The fact that Lea contacted them, however, is a sign for the counsellor that she would really prefer to keep her baby. Lea’s financial situation is precarious. The combined income of both parents is below the poverty line. The family is being supported by social services. Besides that, there is the problem with the flat which is too small.
The counsellor tries to convince Lea that the life of a child shouldn’t depend on external conditions and that there is always help available. Lea’s trust in the support and help of the SAMC grows due to the many conversations she has with her counsellor. Suddenly she falls seriously ill and her boyfriend is very worried about her. When she is out of danger, she writes a long letter to her counsellor to thank her for the promise of help and that she has decided to keep her child.
Shortly thereafter, the partners begin arguing: both accuse each other of being unfaithful. The boyfriend even claims that the new baby isn’t his! Lea is terribly hurt. She can’t stand the thought that her boyfriend might leave her.
The counsellor explains to her that she can have a paternity test done after the birth in order to prove her innocence, and that then her boyfriend would have to take responsibility for the child. Lea is again hopeful.
The pregnancy proves to be a difficult one which weakens the health of the mother. Lea is forced to stop working, and this causes the support from social services to be reduced. She falls into terrible difficulties. The SAMC helps her out with packages of groceries, maternity clothes and with the things she will need once the baby arrives. Lea is moved to tears, and writes: «Thank you for everything! It is wonderful that you are here to help!»
Despite Difficulties, Things Work Out
Recently, a healthy baby girl was born. The SAMC continues to support the couple with food vouchers and nappies, which help the financial worries to fade into the background for now. The counsellor pushes for the paternity test, because she knows that their relationship can become solid again through it. The young woman hopes that her boyfriend will take responsibility for the baby after he learns that he is the father, and will begin to build up a relationship with his new daughter. At the time of writing this article, the result of the test is unknown.
In any case, Lea is very happy with her second daughter and continues to thank her counsellor for everything that the SAMC has done for her and continues to help with. She is confident that a better future awaits her, together with her partner and their two children.
A Climb That Began From The Bottom
Dora (36), mother of one girl (2), is going through difficult times. Her husband, who is much older than her, is ill and has been unemployed for a while. Their small daughter is draining for Dora, but harder for her to bear is the depression she has been suffering since an earlier abortion. Because of it, she is unable to work. She feels too weak to be able to do it. The family leads a life full of deprivation, dependent on social services. Therefore, when Dora discovers that she is expecting another child, it is like being struck by lightning.
The pregnant mother is afraid that with a second child, their desolate situation will cement itself. She therefore considers aborting, and tells her friend what she is thinking. This friend has heard of the SAMC, and immediately calls the helpline.
Every Thought of the Future Causes Fear
A male and a female counsellor visit the pregnant woman at her home as soon as possible and get to know her dilemma. The husband is 100% sure that he does not want another child. He has already had several operations and still has health problems. Besides that, he is addicted to gambling: all the available money in their household disappears into slot machines as soon as it appears. She suffers from having to cope in the times when they don’t even have enough money to cover the basics. There is often nothing edible anywhere in the household. The refrigerator is usually empty. She is afraid that a second child will only make the situation worse, and thinks this fiasco can only be avoided through an abortion.
But also the abortion makes her afraid. She has been receiving psychiatric care for years and needs medication to control her depression. Dora attributes it directly to her previous abortion. Every future scenario, therefore, fills her with dread and fear.
The goal now is to help Dora to overcome her fear of what she sees as inevitable. The counsellors promise her that the SAMC can help enough to make her situation possible to deal with. For Dora, this is a ray of hope. She hands over all of the documents to the SAMC that are necessary to clarify her need.
The Sympathetic Hearts of the Counsellors
The paperwork shows that the family is living well beneath the poverty line. For the counsellors the situation is clear – Dora needs to feel secure as quickly as possible to prevent her from panicking and nevertheless aborting. They therefore offer the family immediate help through food vouchers from a major supermarket and material help for their two-year-old girl.
When Dora later comes to the SAMC for a meeting, she reveals another problem to the counsellors: there are serious marital difficulties. Her husband is intimidating and aggressive. The suffering woman is grateful for the chance to be able to discuss finally possible courses of action. Her husband is also still pushing for the abortion – despite the help currently being received from the SAMC. Before she leaves, she is thrilled to receive pretty maternity clothes from the counsellor.
She realizes now that in the SAMC she has found people who understand her and who support her. «Thanks to the SAMC, I don’t feel alone any more», she says. «I am so glad that I found you!
Happily, Dora is able to get over her fear of another birth and to accept her unborn baby. There is no more talk of an abortion, and a beautiful baby girl is allowed to be born.
Content to be a Mother, and Braver as a Woman
Dora appreciates being able to keep on talking to the counsellors about the problems with her husband. They support her idea of a separation from him until he can kick his gambling addiction. This allows her to concentrate better on the needs of her family and to gain strength while continuing to hope that her relationship to her husband will soon improve.
In the meantime, the Foundation provides the mother and her two children with the necessary supplies, while continuing the regular contributions for their daily needs. Dora never tires of thanking her counsellors for all the help she is receiving. She is deeply grateful that she kept her second daughter, and gladly devotes herself to caring for her and showering her with attention.
Three Christmases – Different Each Time!
It is Epiphany 2014. Pia (31) picks up the receiver, calls the helpline of the SAMC and begins talking about her plight. This mother of two children didn't have a happy Christmas. Her biggest worry at the start of this new year: She has inadvertently become pregnant.
Pia's husband suffers from depression. He was unemployed for a long time. A short while ago, he was at least able to begin a part-time job. Just before Christmas, they were shocked to discover that a third child is on its way! The fear of falling back into deprivation is strong. Pia starts looking for abortion possibilities on the internet and accidently lands on the website of the SAMC. Could they help her to have an abortion?
Only Real Help From the SAMC
The counsellor on the night shift hears about the husband's fear of a larger family. He is absolutely sure that he wants his wife to abort the baby. Pia explains to the woman on the phone that having an abortion would calm him down. The counsellor, however, explains the purpose of the SAMC: The foundation provides real help, not something that would cause more problems and increase suffering. Pia is told that mothers who are in need can receive financial and material help, get personal attention and contact their counsellor at any time. Hearing this helps her to lose some of her fear and to show interest in the benefit plans that the SAMC offers her.
Following a period of intensive discussions, Pia is hopeful that things will work out. She says yes to her child, providing her husband agrees, because she is afraid he will leave her. Therefore, she asks whether a counsellor could to talk to him.
«It is too late!»
Thus it happens that a counsellor drives to the other end of Switzerland to meet with the father. He doesn't make it easy for her. He recites every possible argument in favour of an abortion: He is fighting with depression, they have too little money, he is unable to cope with the two children that are there already. The counsellor's thoughts as such are right, he says, but in this situation they are too late. To which the counsellor spontaneously counters with, «It is only too late to think about life with only two children now that a third one is already here!»
This way of looking at the situation hits the father hard: He actually stops pressuring his wife to have the abortion and finally accepts their third child.
Christmas Joy Approaches
Now preparations begin for the birth. Because Pia hadn't planned on having more children, she had given all of her baby supplies away. Buying everything again isn't possible on their tight budget. The SAMC helps them. Now the approaching birth brings real joy. When a cute baby boy arrives, Pia's husband enjoys spending time with him and takes his role as father also with this child seriously.
The family receives food vouchers and clothes for the children from the SAMC. Pia writes her counsellor, «I don't know how I would cope without your support, and I would like to thank you again very much for all your help!»
At Christmas 2014, Pia is able to enjoy a short moment of happiness, at least as she watches her three children's eyes shine, for something is wrong with her husband. However, he is keeping it from her.
While the year is still new, Pia discovers that her husband has buried himself in debt with various small loans. Their money is gone. The woman and her children are faced with ruin. Now the SAMC is really needed: It helps Pia get financial advice, and at the same time increases its monthly support of their financial needs, without, however, paying off their debts. By the middle of the year, the mother's financial situation has stabilised.
In the autumn of 2015, Pia tells her counsellor, «If it weren't for my youngest child, I probably wouldn't have survived this; it was the darkest time of my life. He gives me so much strength!» Just in time, before Christmas, the SAMC renew the financial support for Pia's family. Now they can look forward to Christmas, full of hope.
Often Just Polenta to Eat
Viola (29) is a devoted mother of 3 boys. But her joy is troubled by their constant lack of money and the difficult relationship with her partner. Convinced that the proximity to him is good for the children, and trying to remain hopeful that the situation will change, she remains with him.
Then she comes up with a plan: She wants to work herself out of her troubles. She decides, therefore, to take her children and move out of the flat she is sharing with him, and find a part-time job. Shortly after the move, however, she learns that she is expecting her fourth child. The young woman is sure of one thing: She can’t handle this. As some people suggest an abortion, it sounds like a relief.
Viola needs nappies for her youngest son, so she contacts the SAMC, because somebody had told her once that the Foundation distributes, among other things, free ones to women in need. Soon she is talking with a counsellor about abortion and about her situation: She is living in a delapidated house and is serving Polenta for weeks at a time in order to spare her tight budget. Shortly thereafter, Viola receives a package from the SAMC: In it are the nappies she had requested, plus desperately needed, nice clothes for the children, in their sizes.
Viola’s Motherliness Triumphs
More discussions follow. The counsellor draws Viola’s attention to her unborn baby: Why should a baby have to pay with its life just because it comes at a difficult time for its mother? The woman replies that she never used to understand other women when they considered abortion, but now, being in difficulties herself, she sees it as a way out. Fortunately, the professionalism of the SAMC and its promise of support allow Viola’s motherly instincts to win her over.
Once the healthy baby boy is born, the mother of four starts receiving food vouchers, which she can use to buy food at the major stores. She almost can’t believe it. «It is like having a birthday, Christmas and Easter all at the same time», she says thankfully. She had never received any help from anyone before.
Again At the Precipice
After the birth, the father has more contact to the family. Viola becomes hopeful: Perhaps the turnaround in their relationship is finally happening. She begins to trust him again. Then, another blow hits her: She is pregnant again! Her partner is infuriated with her. «You are ruining me!» he accuses her, and distances himself again from the family.
Viola is fighting her fiercest battle: To become even more dependent on others, and struggle with an even tighter budget? She can already hear the reproaches hailing down on her from all sides. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to solve this problem quietly with an abortion?
SAMC Always Defends Life
The dramatic situation doesn’t remain hidden from the counsellor. Viola is surprised: She doesn’t get any criticism from the SAMC, she only finds a sympathetic ear. The counsellor gives her courage: This crisis will end, too. Viola has already experienced the helpfulness of the SAMC, and so starts to feel more secure when more help is offered. There is no mention any more of an abortion!
And so her fifth son is also born. Viola is so glad: Thanks to the SAMC, she was able to avoid an abortion twice and so she is now able to devote herself to being a good mother to her new baby boy. Her partner was also able to start up a small business in this time. Viola finds herself finally able to hope that her family life will return to normal and she can become free from having to accept help from others. And who knows, maybe a wedding is on the horizon to supply the happy ending?
One Pregnancy – Two Conflicts about Abortion
Emma (35) has the feeling that she lives only for her job. She longs for change and hopes to find it in a relationship. When she gets pregnant, however, she sees another side of her partner: He does not want a child. He has no time and no money for one, period.
Emma is shocked. She would like to become a mother, but isn’t willing to take a risk and raise a child alone. After weeks of circling around the same problems and not finding solutions, she sends an e-mail to the SAMC, requesting help.
Fighting for Clarity
A lively exchange soon develops between the SAMC counsellor and the desperate woman. She finds out about Emma’s employment, that she works as a temp, on call. Her income is very tight and irregular. It appears as if it will stay that way. Also her partner has to work long hours but is nevertheless at his limits, financially. He is convinced that he has neither the time nor the money for a child. The counsellor explains that financial problems shouldn’t be a reason to have an abortion, and that the SAMC is here for such situations.
The counsellor counters Emma’s argument that her partner will leave her by saying that she knows from experience that before an abortion, men often threaten to leave, but after an abortion, usually women break off a relationship, because mourning often turns into anger towards the father of the baby. These intense discussions between Emma and her counsellor end up giving her courage and security. Even though her partner doesn’t change his mind, Emma decides that she can imagine a future together with her child.
Crash into Uncertainty
Following almost on the heels of this turning point, the counsellor receives terrible news from Emma: there are signs that her baby has serious defects. The pregnant woman is devastated, asking herself how she can cope alone with a handicapped child. She again doubts her decision to keep her baby. The counsellor does everything she can to support Emma enough for her to keep her resolve. She recommends another gynaecologist for a second opinion. Also this doctor finds signs of an atypical development, but is not sure the baby will be handicapped.
While Emma is in hospital due to complications, she is told that the baby will be severely disabled. This makes her conflict even more difficult, and drags it out for weeks. With her counsellor she discusses the reliability of prenatal tests, the right to life that also handicapped people have, and the possibility of giving the baby up for adoption should she be unable to care for it.
The Clouds Lift
By the sixth month of her pregnancy, Emma has finally decided in favour of her baby. After it is born, the deformity doesn’t appear as bad as it had been predicted. The baby girl has a blister on her head which is filled with cranial fluid. Her motor skills will be somewhat delayed, but only for about the first two years, thanks to physical therapy. There shouldn’t be any concerns with her brain development.
Thanks to the SAMC, Emma is able to cope financially. She is, however, struggling with her new role as a mother. The foundation, therefore, arranges for an experienced professional in her area to lend help.
Emma is both happy and thankful to begin her new life as a mother with this energetic and competent assistance. She tells her counsellor, «without your support, I wouldn’t have got through both of those conflicts». Despite the challenges, she hasn’t regretted not going through with the abortion for one second. And there is even one more unexpected bright spot: Since the birth, the father has been keeping in contact with mother and child!
First 2 Times No, Then 2 Times Yes
Sometimes people aren’t looking for help from the SAMC, but to confirm their opinion that abortion is the right solution for them. With the good advice of the SAMC, however, the view of a seemingly hopeless situation can completely change.
The incredible story began one and a half years ago: A woman takes contact with the emergency call centre of the SAMC: Her sister, Jeannette, 30, is pregnant and wants to abort. And this is a good decision! She has nothing to offer the baby because she is all alone. A counsellor explains to her how the foundation devotes itself to protecting life and therefore can’t support abortions. But Jeannette has to abort, insists her sister. She was just about to get married when she got pregnant. The baby’s father, however, now refuses to get married and is pushing for the abortion. The counsellor responds to the concerned sister with offers of help, which results in a meeting with the pregnant woman and her sister at the office of the SAMC.
Jeannette conquers her inner conflict
At the meeting with the SAMC, both a male and a female counsellor are present. Jeannette seems very worn out. She keeps repeating: «I don’t want this baby!» and begs that they help her to get rid of the child. With no professional training, she lives from hand to mouth. As a single parent, she thinks, her situation will always stay bad. She would actually like to keep the baby, but her fiancé broke up with her and so she finds herself in the position that she has no choice but to say no to the child. Both counsellors tell Jeannette again concretely just how the institute can help her effectively in her situation, and hand over informative literature to read at home. Before they say goodbye, however, there is a private conversation from woman to woman.
The contact to the SAMC and the information have obviously triggered something in Jeannette. She is ready to meet with the counsellors again. Fully aware that this could be the last meeting with Jeannette, they again show the harried mother how she can survive this most difficult phase of her life with the support of the SAMC. Because of this, Jeannette is able to come to the conclusion that accepting the offers of help is better than aborting. She says yes to her baby.
Now it is time to convince her ex-fiancé. In order to do this, the counsellor travels clear across Switzerland with the car of the emergency call centre. The talk goes well, and builds trust, but the man doesn’t let his opinion be changed.
In order for Jeannette to have more career opportunities, the SAMC offers to pay for her training at the Red Cross. Even though her situation brightens up in that time, Jeannette goes through a terrible crisis once more. The perspective of remaining alone hits her hard. One day, she tells the counsellor she only wants to die. Then she begins to feel the baby’s movements. This contact with her child changes her mind completely. She now says that she is so glad that she didn’t get an abortion.
The SAMC will help the young mother to prepare herself for the birth and with collecting articles for the baby. And that was necessary. The little boy arrived earlier than expected. The SAMC now takes care of Jeannette financially until her situation becomes more secure.
The improvement happened in an unexpected way: A few months after the birth of her son, shortly before Christmas 2014, Jeannette visits the SAMC office – with his father! He changed his mind and can now say yes to his child and to his fiancéé. They are sure they want to get married!
The efforts to save a life were so successful: Instead of an abortion and a broken relationship, there is now a happy family with a father, a mother and their child!
Mother of Five Confronted with the Question of Life
After the birth of her fifth child, Mrs. M. (39) promised her husband to return to work. He longed for a life without crying and nappies, as he said. They had never been away on holiday together. Their youngest turned four. A quieter life had seemed guaranteed, until the unexpected happened.
Mrs. M. would definitely have been open to having more children. Out of love for her husband, however, she was prepared to give up having more. She started seeing a psychologist, hoping, through therapy, to learn to cope with her desire for more children. However, despite using birth control, she was pregnant again. Unlike all the other times, she couldn’t be happy because her husband was completely against it. Not knowing which way to turn, she asks for help from the SAMC.
Counselling on a Knife’s Edge
To the counsellor she gives a detailed account of her difficulties. Her husband is putting her under extreme pressure. He finally wants his peace and quiet. He is angry and threatening, and pushing her to have an abortion, especially when he has been drinking. He also puts forward material reasons not to have an even larger family. Finances are just too tight, while the house and car are too small. Not knowing what else to do, she has made an appointment for an abortion.
The counsellor discusses all aspects of the situation, asks to see paperwork, then explains how the SAMC can stand behind them so the family will manage to live with a sixth child. But the mother feels torn.
Over the next few days, Mrs. M. can’t be reached. Shortly after the date of the abortion, however, she informs the counsellor that she is still carrying the baby. She postponed her abortion for a week. She is not doing well, and her health is suffering. She is likely too old to be pregnant. Her husband is under strain, isolating himself and distrustful. The counsellor reminds her about her offer of financial assistance. «Can I have that in writing?», asks Mrs. M., as well as «Would I have to pay SAMC back later?»
The Deciding Moment
A few days later, Mrs. M. informs her counsellor that she has placed the confirmation from the SAMC, which assures them that they wouldn’t need to pay anything back, in a place where her husband would always see it. «That is a ray of sunshine» he said once and after that he opened up somewhat, just enough that a decision in favour of their child could gradually prevail. Days and weeks passed. Suddenly the idea of an abortion is out of the question. As the pregnancy progresses, Mrs. M.’s health improves. A week before her due date, she gives birth to a cute and healthy daughter.
The SAMC begins covering the baby’s costs. The mother of now six keeps the counsellor up to date: she was so thankful she had been able to talk with someone in her darkest hours. «That someone could bear me – if you hadn’t been there, I would have had the abortion», she admits. «Our daughter is our sunshine.» Even her husband, who had so insisted on an abortion, is thrilled with the baby. When he comes home from work and spends time with her, he seems recharged. She has never seen him like this with any of the children. She still can’t forget that she had thought of an abortion. She can only hope that her child never hears about that. She is just so happy to be the mother of this baby.
Summoning New Strength
Marlene (19) is right in the middle of her apprenticeship. The training, however, is proving to be very challenging. She has quite a lot of difficulties performing as expected. Her boss works together with her to set some goals that she must achieve. Then the bomb falls: Marlene finds out that she is pregnant. Not that too – and of all times, now! She talks with her boss about it, and her advice is clear: abort!
Abort? Just thinking about it makes Marlene uncomfortable. But when there is no other option...? Right now she should be achieving even more in her career, successfully end her training and at the same time become a mother – how is that possible? She doesn’t know which way to turn.
Marlene Finds HelpCaught up in her problems, she starts surfing in the internet. She discovers the SAMC-Foundation and sends off an email to our emergency call centre. A counsellor immediately takes contact with her and explains just how the foundation helps women in difficult situations. They make an appointment to meet.
Marlene arrives at the SAMC together with her boyfriend. Her professional problems are at the top of her list. She absolutely has to finish her apprenticeship. Her boyfriend is also still in training. Neither of them sees how it would be possible to continue on through life as parents. «The whole situation is so stressful», the boyfriend feels, but adds: «Abortion isn’t an ideal solution.» The fear, however, of financial strain and professional failure is so large, that for both of them, abortion remains an option.
The counsellor knows, of course, just how important it is for them to complete their education. She points out to them, though, that it shouldn’t happen at the cost of the baby. The discussion develops well, and she succeeds in showing them the way that they can have a good professional future and having a child at the same time. At the end of this first talk, the topic of abortion seems to be off the table.
The baby, however, isn’t safe yet. Acceptance of the child is being made more difficult by the attitudes of their parents. All of them clearly say that they don’t believe the young couple will be able to pull it through. Besides, they just don’t have enough financial resources to support a young family.
Suddenly everything looks easier
After more discussions, the counsellor is able to convince Marlene that, together with the SAMC, she will be able to deal with the situation. The young couple decide wholeheartedly to keep the baby and to commit to each other and start their own family. They are elated. They begin to prepare for the birth. Suddenly everything seems much easier.
The news of the birth of a boy reaches the SAMC from the joyous mother. Her baby is «so quiet and easy to care for», she announces. Marlene has even more good news: in one month, she will be able to continue her courses. Her boyfriend’s mother can arrange to watch their baby while she is at school.
Now the financial help kicks in. The SAMC supports the young parents and the baby with valuable shopping vouchers. Finally they have their finances under control. Relieved, they can focus on their studies. Marlene’s boyfriend is almost finished with his apprenticeship and is already looking for a good job. The young couple is trying very hard to be independent as quickly as possible.
Mrs. V is a farmer from the western part of Switzerland and the mother of two children. For some years she has suffered from a muscular illness that has hindered her in her daily work. Nevertheless she dreams of having a large family, especially now she has taken over a farm with her husband. Lady Luck appears to be on her side as she receives news that she is expecting a third child. But a routine medical check reveals that not all is well: pregnancy and birth could well cause her medical condition to deteriorate! Mrs. V ignores the prophecy of doom.
She is over the moon at the prospect of having another child. The months pass by and she finally gives birth to a healthy child. But scarcely is the post-partum period over than Mrs. V begins to show signs of the predicted significant worsening in her condition, and she is soon completely incapable of working on the farm. Her family is confronted by other hard knocks, too: the health insurance fund promptly informs her that they are unwilling to cover the cost of her treatment. On the farm, several veal calves suddenly die for no apparent reason.
And if that were not enough, the man with whom Mr. V. was planning to establish a supplementary business venture dies in a tragic road accident! Without a supplementary income, the burden of the farm's agricultural debts begins to weigh heavy.
Now, Mrs. V really does not know any way out. So she turns to the SAMC's emergency unit. In talks with the counsellor, Mrs. V asks for financial assistance. The counsellor listens attentively to the story and decides that Mrs. V's dire situation is a consequence of her commitment to her child. She has earned the support of the SAMC!
The family now receives a monthly allowance. But the counsellor knows how she can provide Mrs. V with even more help: she gives her expert advice in all social matters, and agrees to contact other relief organisations in Switzerland on her behalf. She literally succeeds in spreading the burden on the mother across several shoulders:
two well-known Swiss relief organisations agree to participate in a similar manner to the SAMC. And immediately, the family is receiving three times the support it had before! Deeply moved by the help she has received, Mrs. V is not only overjoyed with her child, but is happy that there are evidently so many good people in Switzerland willing to help.
Survived: a pregnancy under fear of death
A young woman contacts the Swiss Aid for Mother and Child foundation via the free telephone service. "My 17-year-old sister is 5 months pregnant. Our father mustn't get to hear of this because he lives according to the traditional morals of a society whose code of honour says that he must kill his pregnant daughter in order to "restore the family's honour." Because of her father's attitude, M sees an adoption as the only way out and is desperately seeking help from the SAMC.
The counsellor gives the caller encouragement and ensures her that "We will accompany M through the trouble and strife of the coming months!" In order for M to carry and give birth to her child without living in perpetual fear for her life, it is arranged that she should attend a language course in a different canton.
In addition, the SAMC arranges legal aid for M, as the underage mother and her baby require protection in this complicated situation.
Finally the date arrives: baby E is born. The new-born child so touches the mother's emotions that she hasn't the heart to give it up for adoption! A cousin who has been let into the secret is to take care of the baby until M has completed her apprenticehip and is financially independent. The SAMC presents M with a pram and other baby paraphernalia. In addition, it pays M a monthly allowance towards the cost of raising the child.
"It's a miracle," says the heart
Christine (30) is the mother of a one-year-old daughter. Now she’s expecting again. The father won't entertain the idea of keeping the child. In ten days' time, she has an appointment with the gynaecologist. "When I was out there yesterday," she wrote in a letter to the SAMC, "two ladies from the church gave me a brochure with pictures of a child developing in the womb. I think that was a sign that I should keep the child. But my boyfriend wants me to have an abortion; he's even threatened me."
The counsellor from the emergency unit knows that the only course of action now is to help the child survive. A flurry of e-mails are exchanged. The morning before the medical appointment, the counsellor sends Christine the following poem:
It's a miracle, says the heart.
It's a great responsibility, says the mind.
It's a lot of worry, says fear.
It's a gift of God, says faith.
It's an enormous challenge, says experience.
It's the greatest joy, says love.
The day after the medical appointment, the counsellor receives an e-mail: "When my boyfriend came home from work, the first thing he said was: 'Did you get rid of it?' I said No; he was angry and said: 'What are you waiting for? Make an appointment on Monday!'" Although Christine is frightened, she stays firm with the help of her counsellor. Five months later comes the news: "I've had a daughter, Caroline; we're both fit … and happy." The counsellor sends Christine a present on the birth of her child. She also receives financial support from the SAMC and can rest assured that she will receive help for as long as she needs it.