One woman supporting the other at "The I Can Centre"

Crisis Pregnancies

Health and Empowerment of Women

At The I Can Centre™ we are strongly committed to the health, well-being and empowerment of women, incl those who have become single parents. Accordingly, we have a number of projects in place, and planned, to support and empower women incl those in crisis pregnancies and lone parents. Such projects incl:

  • "Counselling & emotional health supports"  through our low-cost/free community "Stress Busters" courses, alongside 1-1 CBT support even with one of our trainees,
  • "Recycle Club" - where quality children's items that are no-longer-needed can be collected and recycled back to lone parents. (It is our hope however, that babyboxes for new parents will be rolled out nationally as is the case in Scotland.) 
  • Parent Supporters* - a pilot project planned with peer mentors or supporters who can offer encouragement and/or a listening ear to single or lone parents, 
  • WHOW  (women helping other women , or "wow" with a "h") which brings prolife and pro-choice women together to do what women do best - collaborate to share perspectives and find the very best package of solutions for women facing crisis pregnancies, 
  • "Great Badges" - a social enterprise we hope might help provide jobs for lone mums making badges for all occaisions, incl birthdays, school reunions and/or campaigns (more shortly at GreatBadges.com), 
  • Repair or DIY support* - a planned collaboration with local groups, incl Men's Sheds; this initiative we hope will also be useful for older adults as part of our AgeSPIRE project, and
  • Housing supports* - young women particularly may need safe housing, even while considering their options. Given housing shortages, we wonder about having a national database of families, with spare rooms, that may be accessed to provide this support. 

All our community courses are parent- and child-friendly, and often a parent may sit strategically, so that he/she can see her child at play while a class is ongoing. So, if children or childcare is an issue, please feel free to contact us in advance. 


*  Planned /future project

Prevention & Support

 At  The I Can Centre™, we do not offer crisis pregnancy counselling as we are not able to support abortion as a procedure (given our review of the evidence, and our committment towards equality, diversity and respect for all). However,  we do have almost twenty years experience in prevention work, AND in supporting women incl those in crisis / in crisis pregnancies, and those suffering post abortion distress and regret.  

Projects Supporting Lone Parents

Interventions for Low Mood/Anxiety

We offer a range of community CBT supports to help pregnant or lone parents address challenges of low mood, stress and/or all types of anxiety e.g. worry, panic, and low confidence.  This support can include free 1-1 CBT with one of our trainees (only at certain times/locations), AND DAKtivistplaces on our community courses, i.e. for lone mums, we may be able to take an act-of-kindness pledge as part/full payment for a class. Furthermore, the more paying attendees we have, the more DAKtivist™  places we can offer. 

CBT for Young People

We offer a growing range of supports to help young people with low mood and all types of anxiety incl worry, panic, phobias and OCD.  For instance "Teen Stress Busters" is particularly suitable for school-going young people aged 14-18 years, and  DAKtivist™ places may be available to lone parents for their children.  1-1 CBT support however may be more suitable for young people with more complex needs. 



Recycle Club for Lone Parents

At all our classes we collect quality, children's items that attendees may no longer need, e.g. toys and clothing. These are then redistributed via community organisations to help lone parents.  Attendees at our classes should place donations in "The Kindness Chest" - visible at all classes, knowing that this help will make a huge difference to the lives and well-being of lone parents and their children, especially at holiday times.

Please note: it is our policy NOT to donate individual items to individual parents. Instead all items are logged, and then given directly to organisations who are better positioned to use these as part of a wider package of resources and supports. 



GreatBadges.com

GreatBadges.com is a new, social development initiative that we hope will provide jobs and flexible work opportunities for lone mums. By coming together to make the badges, mums might also find peer support and camaraderie, while making really great badges that are inspiring, fun and informative, i.e. great badges that are great in terms of content and also quality. We are very proud to support this prolife initiative, and to help sell these badges until the group is in a position to have their own website.  More about this initiative will follow shortly.

External Supports

Crisis Pregnancy 

  • LIFE NI is the leading pregnancy care charity in Northern Ireland set up in 1980 to provide care and support for those facing unexpected pregnancy, or needing help during pregnancy or after having a baby 
  • Gianna Care offers a range of free resources and supports throughout Ireland incl ultrasound, baby equipment and financial help. 
  • Stanton Healthcare Belfast offers a range of free and practical supports incl free pregnancy tests, counselling, ultrasound referrals, and practical supports incl baby supplies and financial support. 
  • Both Lives Matter provides advocacy support and information towards the well-being of mothers and their infants. 

Parenting Supports and Information

  •  NSPCC for advice on issues to do with children / young people 
  • Childline for telephone support and information accessed directly by children. Call free on 0800 1111
  • CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) for advice about online sexual abuse  / grooming 
  • Home Start for parenting advice, support and friendship, especially with younger children
  • Sure Start  provides support services to parents with children  aged under four years old, living in disadvantaged areas in NI (click here)
  • Parening NI offers free, confidential parenting support and advice on 0808 8010 722 
  • Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of factual and easy to understand information on online safety. 
  • Samaritans offers 24X7 listening support by phoning 116 123 in NI / RoI

Therapy after Abortion

Many women report an understandable feeling of relief after abortion, but others can become distressed immediately, or decades later - we call this distress "Post Abortion Regret (PAR)" and it can be very disabling.  For those who do not report post-abortion regret or distress we are keen to understand why given the potential for transferability of insights and coping skills to others who are struggling  (see research project below).  


For those that do have significant regret and distress post abortion, we are keen to hear your story in confidence, and to learn from your experiences. Potentially, we can also offer therapy based on the very best insights from psychology and CBT. In terms of therapy, we often take a two-phased approach:

  • Phase 1  offers general insights and basic coping strategies either via 1-1 CBT, or our low-cost/free community Stress Busters course [click here]. Once feeling a little better, and stronger, then consider Phase 2!  
  • Phase 2 offers more in-depth and specific post-abortion therapy via 1-1 support. By Sept 2019 however we hope to offer this specialist CBT support also via small groups and at low/no cost (to those who have completed Phase 1). 

We find those who have completed our Stress Busters course, will need fewer 1-1 sessions.  By the same token, many of our clients prefer confidential 1-1 CBT support from the beginning.   

Research Study: Sharing Your Story

  ​​​​We are carrying out in-depth interviews, in confidence, with women who have been through crisis pregnancies - those who have had an abortion, and those who continued with their pregnancies to term. We hope to use the findings anonymously: 

  1. to refine cognitive models  for psychological and CBT interventions, particularly for those women experiencing regret after abortion, and
  2. to inform and guide WHOW interventions, i.e. interventions that might help and support other women finding themselves in crisis pregnancy situations. 

​To find out more, or to share your story in confidence (incl by phone, skype or other) please contact our Centre Director, psychologist Dr Ann O'Hanlon.

Women Helping Other Women (WHOW)

Women Helping Other Women (WHOW, or "wow" with a "h") brings prolife and prochoice women together, in a respectful and supportive environment, to do what women do best - collaborate  i.e. to discuss and share ideas about the best ways to support women in crisis pregnancies and give them real and non-violent choices that truly enable. So, if you genuinely wish to see women continue their pregnancies to term, AND/OR to have real choices (beyond abortion), then help us find ways to make this happen, e.g. to lobby for resources such as:

  • safe accommodation for young women especially, 
  • a wide package of emotional and practical supports, incl childcare, and counselling (in cases of anxiety, trauma etc),
  • baby boxes with equipment and as brought in in Scotland to ensure each child begins life on an equal basis AND new mums do not have this additional stress
  • child- and family-friendly policies, incl paternity benefits  so that parenting responsibilities can be shared more evenly, and so women are not disadvantaged in the workplace. 

Prolife WHOW members will work separately to influence, if not repeal, the Thirty-sixth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2018 (a pending amendment to permit the Oireachtas to allow abortion) - click here. Those based in N Ireland will also seek to minimise abortion there except where there are clear dangers to the woman's health (see download at base of page for common prolife concerns / conversations about abortion). 

Joining WHOW

To join WHOW, and/or attend a meeting, please just get in touch in confidence and let's work collaboratively towards 'better'.  #TogetherIsBetter

Video: What is abortion?

There can be a lot of misinformation about abortion. For educational purposes, we recommend watching an educational video by Dr Anthony Levitino - an abortionist who carried out over 1,200 abortions.   

Downloads

 A one-page summary of common conversations, or concerns, about abortion can be downloaded here.   This summary of questions and responses is not suitable for anyone feeling vulnerable or distressed about abortion. Such readers should instead access any of our range of CBT supports (see 2nd download), a GP referral for 1-1  therapy, or other (see our "follow-up supports" page). 

Prolife Conversations1806 (pdf)

Download

CBT at The I CAN Centre (pdf)

Download