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?
You may consider your options for housing for pregnant women — like maternity homes.
Maternity homes provide housing and other services to women facing crisis situations. In addition to serving as a home for unwed mothers and housing for pregnant single women, these programs also provide safe places where new mothers can live until they can find a better situation in which to raise their child.
This form of alternate housing assistance for pregnant mothers might be a good fit for you if you:
- are a minor who, for a variety of reasons, is 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 through a safe housing program for pregnant women.
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 for women to carry their pregnancies and place their babies 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, whether they are pregnant, have children or simply need a safe place to live. Today, many of the pregnant women who seek out a maternity house have plans to parent their children.
As the role of maternity shelters 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 through these organizations.
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.
- Counseling and education
- Assistance applying for financial aid
Most often, it does not cost money to stay in housing programs for pregnant mothers. Some places will offer women the opportunity to work a low-stress job in exchange for paying any fees.
Considerations and Precautions
Some homes for pregnant women have particular rules or requirements that all residents must 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 in order to receive housing assistance. 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 shelter 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 maternity 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.
If you are considering placing your child for adoption, certain adoption agencies can provide free housing for pregnant women, whether through a maternity home or through the payment of your living expenses. Contact one of these adoption agencies to learn more about securing a safe, free and private place to live if you are pregnant and need help with housing.
If you do choose to work with an adoption agency to find housing options while pregnant, any assistance they provide you will never obligate you to choose adoption unless you are confident it is right for you.
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 local guidance on free or low-income housing for pregnant women like you.