A Wealth of Resources for New and To-Be Mommies of Moore
A baby is a precious gift. Dirty diapers — and loads of them — just happen to come with the package. As does much else.
Life Care Pregnancy Center (LCPC), a nonprofit agency that recently relocated from downtown Carthage to the old brick building of a long-abandoned fabric mill on Niagara-Carthage Road, offers counsel, support and other free services to women in Moore County, predominantly those dealing with emotional and psychological distress that can accompany unplanned pregnancies.
“Women have choices,” says Suzanne Clendenin, mother of five and executive director of LCPC. “We’re offering some life-affirming ones.”
Founded in 1995, Life Care Pregnancy Center is one of more than 1,000 like-charities that make up Care Net, a Christian-based network that spans the United States and Canada.
Initially located in Southern Pines, LCPC moved to Carthage in 2004 in the hopes that, geographically speaking, a more centrally located center would provide greater accessibility to a larger range of clients in Moore County.
Indeed it does, numbers show. And growth continues.
In 2008, the center served 28 new clients. In 2011, since its second relocation in January, more than 20 new clients have received services to date.
Consequently, the move has also increased LCPC’s square footage threefold.
“We’re very happy,” says Clendenin, who became director in November 2008.
“We’ve expanded our space and can offer more for our clients.”
Among the services provided by LCPC, including counseling, education and postpartum support, the center works closely with the other government and nonprofit agencies in Moore County.
In other words, as Clendenin puts it, “We can hook people up.”
Just last year, Life Care gave away more than 12,000 diapers.
“That’s a big draw,” Clendenin says.
Of course, she admits, “the diapers aren’t the deal for us. The deal for us is having the women come back — to educate [and counsel] them, and help them to become better parents.”
How does it work?
Each new client receives a tailor-made “Earn While You Learn” curriculum based on her individual needs. Points are granted for each completed lesson; the points become money, more or less.
“It’s like a Sam’s Club back there,” says Clendenin, referring to LCPC’s “Mommy and Me” shopping area stocked with donated goods — maternity wear to baby wipes — priced in a point system.
“If a client brings the father along, she receives more points,” says the LCPC director.
Everything in Transit
Although pregnancy tests are also free, Life Care clients must self-administer them. Not for long, Clendenin hopes.
“We are just on the cusp of beginning to offer limited medical services,” she says.
A donated ultrasound machine confirms.
“We have a nurse in ultrasound training as we speak,” says Clendenin.
“When a woman is able to see the baby inside of her, she can begin to bond with the unborn child,” says Clendenin. “It helps her begin to start taking care of herself and the baby.”
Childbirth education classes and a “Mentoring Moms” program are also in the works. A fatherhood initiative is a future goal. So, too, are doula services, Clendenin says.
“We birth a lot of things here,” she says.
See the Change
As a pro-life agency, LCPC does not suggest abortion to pregnant women or teens.
“We provide information, and we give women a choice,” says Clendenin. “For those who are abortion-minded, or vulnerable for abortion, whether due to a coercive boyfriend or their life situation, we encourage them to consider the option of giving life to their unborn child.”
It’s amazing, she adds, “to see the change, the shift of mindset as you work with clients.”
Sarah, a former client, can attest.
As a single, pregnant teen, Sarah began receiving services at a Care Net’s pregnancy center located in her previous town of residency. At the time, she was unsure whether or not she wanted to go through with the pregnancy.
She changed her mind.
In 2004, when Sarah moved to Moore County as the mother of 8-month-old David, she continued seeking guidance through Life Care.
“The support I received was phenomenal,” she says. “I am truly thankful for the workers at this facility who care not only about the lives of babies, but the lives of the mother and reach out to help.”
She’s also thankful for David.
“He’s one of the best things to have ever happened to me,” she says. “I am truly blessed.”
To future mothers, Clendenin offers this: “Motherhood has been my most fulfilling role. My wish is for every woman who chooses to be a mother to be able to have that kind of experience. I think there’s no greater thing.”
An extended curriculum, including bilingual lessons to better suit a growing Hispanic clientele, is among the many things on LCPC’s wish list. Diapers and wipes are always needed.
In addition to the center’s annual baby bottle campaign, diaper drives and baby showers, Abby Johnson, author of “Unplanned,” will be at the Robert E. Lee Auditorium at Pinecrest High School on Saturday, Sept. 10, to tell her story. The event will be Life Care’s biggest fundraiser this year.
LCPC is open Tuesday through Thursday For more information about LCPC’s services, donor or volunteer opportunities of general information, call (910) 585-0110 or visit www.lifecarepregnancycenter.org.
Ashley Wahl is a local freelance writer.
More like this story