Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fox Valley Mother and Unborn Baby Care

In 1983, five people sat around a table discussing the feasibility of offering women a completely free Christian alternative to the abortion clinic that had opened in Grand Chute, Wisconsin. One month's donated rent for a tiny space on Oneida Street, faith, prayer, and a vision resulted in the founding of Fox Valley Mother and Unborn Baby Care—a crisis pregnancy center which helps mostly low-income women and their families make a choice for life.

When it opened, not everyone welcomed the crisis center, which widely advertised free pregnancy testing and attracted 135 clients in its first year. When founding president Gerald Saindon refused to network with the abortion clinic, well-documented difficulties followed, including intimidating letters and a bomb threat.

Yet 28 years later, the ministry, now located on West Wisconsin Avenue in Appleton, remains busier than ever. Seven thousand clients walked through its doors last year in need of material assistance, education, and emotional support.

Located next door to MUBC is WomanKind Medical Clinic. With a volunteer medical staff, WomanKind offers free pregnancy testing; limited ultrasounds; education on adoption, abortion, and parenting; medical referrals; and more.

Initially, MUBC began serving pregnant moms, and its services would carry through until the child was one. Now the center serves pregnant moms and children up to age three.

Fox Valley Mother and Unborn Baby Care, which is financially supported through donations, uses the "Earn While You Learn" program for mothers who decide to keep their child. The educational program answers many of the questions pregnant mothers have. Lessons, which are interwoven with biblical principles and are generally held on a one-to-one basis, include information on having a safe pregnancy, what to expect in childbirth, and how to care for a newborn baby.

Other topics discussed include mother and baby bonding, child care, self-esteem, preventing child molestation, shaken baby syndrome, sudden infant death syndrome, sexual abstinence and the emotional consequence of sexual activity, discipline, life skills management, and raising kids with character. New curriculum was recently added to include raising a special-needs child, fetal alcohol syndrome, and post-partum depression. The center also offers English as a second language classes for Hmong and Spanish-speaking clients, which brings its clientele up to about 45 a day.

With each hour-long lesson completed, moms earn points they can use to purchase items such as maternity and baby clothes, blankets, diapers, formula and, when available, cribs, car seats, strollers, and baby furniture—all of which are donated.

New clients come to Mother and Unborn Baby Care on the referral of public, city, and county health nurses; parent resource agencies; school guidance offices; the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program; St. Vincent de Paul; Leaven; and simply by word of mouth.

To learn more about Fox Valley Mother and Unborn Baby Care, visit the website at http://www.fvmubc.org/, and for more information about WomanKind Medical Clinic, visit http://www.womankindclinic.org/index.htm.

Many thanks to Cheryl Anderson, Post-Crescent staff writer, who originally wrote large portions of this article in “A Wing and a Prayer” in 2008 for MUBC’s 25th anniversary.

For more information about ALL’s Associate Program, visit www.all.org/associates