Construction of a building meant for student accommodation was going on in front of the new Pregnancy Help office in Parnell, Auckland.
It is not a stretch to imagine that some of the organisation’s future clients would be coming from the building.
Pregnancy Help, an organisation that provides practical help to pregnant women who find themselves without family support, recently moved from an Auckland CBD office to the fringe of the city.
The new office located at 46 D Stanley St, Parnell was blessed by Auxiliary Bishop Michael Gielen on November 13.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Pregnancy Help coordinator Julia McFadden said of the new office. “It’s bright. It’s airy. It’s very handy to the university and the students. And it’s very handy to the bus and railway stations.”
In the past year, the organisation has seen over 1250 clients and provided 190 maternity garments to mums.
They have also given out 8760 baby garments, 85 bassinets, 229 reusable nappies and 2579 disposable nappies and 1500 items of bassinet bedding.
A growing number of clients are overseas university students who are facing unplanned pregnancies.
Student pregnancy support worker Hilda Tan-Morais said the Covid-19 lockdowns proved very challenging for them.
“A lot of the pregnant women, of course, were locked down in their homes. They were frantically sending us emails. We had volunteers going to their homes delivering things when we were able to. During the time that we were not able to, we had to place online orders that were sent directly to their homes,” she said.
But more than the physical needs, the women were also coping with mental and emotional stress.
“We were doing mainly phone calls and e-mails. We were also counselling over the phone. It was helpful but not as much as a face-to-face consultation would have been,” Mrs Tan-Morais said.
As the lockdown restriction eased, some of the stress lightened. But Mrs McFadden said the need for help escalated as people lost their jobs.
Pregnancy Help is an organisation supported by the Auckland Diocese’s Catholic Caring Foundation. Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn’s mother, June, was among the founding members of the group.
The practical support offered by Pregnancy Help includes clothes, furniture and transport to appointments as well as accompaniment.
“We take them on that journey going through their pregnancy, finding them midwives, etc., and anything pertaining to being pregnant,” Mrs McFadden said.