When considering your unplanned pregnancy options, you may feel that your home environment is just not the right place to focus on a healthy pregnancy. So what can you do?
Maternity homes provide housing and other services to women facing crisis situations. This form of alternate housing might be a good fit for you if you:
- are a minor who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to live with your parents
- are fearful of the child’s father
- do not have a safe place to live during your pregnancy
- do not mind a supervised environment
While the number of maternity homes across the country has declined over the years, you can still find the right living arrangements if you need to leave your current home.
History of Maternity Group Homes
Formerly known as homes for unwed mothers, maternity homes were more widely available in the past to protect expecting mothers from the stigma of unplanned pregnancy or adoption. They were primarily a safe place to carry their pregnancy and place their baby for adoption in secret.
As time has passed and perceptions of unplanned pregnancies have changed, maternity homes have adapted to help women leave an unstable or unsafe home environment. Today, most of the women who seek out maternity homes have plans to parent their children.
As the role of maternity homes has changed, they have also grown to offer more services for expecting mothers. You can often find helpful resources such as parenting classes, pregnancy and childbirth education, and financial assistance.
What You Will Find
You can usually expect a dorm-like environment with 5-15 other women. Some of them house women for the duration of their pregnancies, while others continue to provide assistance after the baby is born.
These places will most often offer:
- Counseling and education
- Assistance applying for financial aid
Most often, it does not cost money to stay in a maternity home. Some places will offer women the opportunity to work a low-stress job in exchange for paying any fees.
Considerations and Precautions
Some maternity homes have particular rules or requirements that they follow. Some of the things you should keep in mind as you research maternity homes include:
- Eligibility – Sometimes, women must accept a particular religious affiliation or set of values. Other homes require mothers to sign a contract that they will carry their pregnancy to term.
- Rules in the home – It is not uncommon to find curfews, supervision, and other rules in some maternity homes. However, you can also find homes that offer you a more independent lifestyle.
- Emphasis of particular values –Depending on its affiliation, a maternity home might put pressure on you to make a particular decision about your pregnancy if you live there.
Many maternity homes work closely with adoption agencies, but there are also options for women who want to parent. It is usually recommended to find a home that is publicly funded or allied with an adoption agency, as these tend to be more reputable. Be sure to carefully research the maternity homes you find and pick one that fits you best.
Where to Find Maternity Homes
The list below will help you find a maternity home in your state:
- TenderLife Maternity Home
- Moses House Ministries
- Mary’s Shelter
- Villa Majella
- His Nesting Place
- Promise House
- Seton Home
- Christian Homes & Family Services
- Mercy House
- Annunciation Maternity Home
- Hannah House
- Gladney Center for Adoption
If you do not find your state listed above, contact a pregnancy center for help in your area.