In early June, I had the privilege of traveling to Austin, TX to facilitate a Pregnancy Options Workshop with some incredible activists and providers from Texas abortion funds, clinics, and allied organizations. More than 20 people spent their Saturday learning about abortion, adoption, and parenting, exploring the personal values and biases they bring to this work, and practicing new skills for supporting their clients and communities with truly judgment-free, all-options support.
So what does a Pregnancy Options Workshop look like, anyway? The full-day version goes from about 10am-4pm with plenty of breaks and lunch and snacks. We start the day exploring the messages society tells us about what pregnancy and parenting “should” look like, discussing our own experiences and beliefs, and digging into the biases we hold about who makes a good parent and how many abortions are too many. Then we move into an overview of abortion, adoption, and parenting – facts and myths, what services are available, the barriers and stigma that surround each option, and ideas for helping clients find what they need. Finally, we spend some time looking at nonjudgmental language and some of All-Options’ favorite counseling tools, and do some role plays around commonly challenging scenarios.
At the end of the day in Austin, several people told me that they had never had a full day training feel like it went by so quickly. What a compliment! And it’s true – people were so engaged and honest that it made the training fun and rewarding. I’m still getting messages from participants telling me how they’re using the tools they learned that day.
If you would like to attend or organize a Pregnancy Options Workshop with us, check out our Trainings page and watch for public event announcements. We are planning a community training in Atlanta in October and in the MD/DC/VA area sometime before the end of 2017. Our hope is to offer Pregnancy Options Workshops on a quarterly basis in different parts of the country in 2018, so let us know where we should come next!
– J. Parker Dockray, Executive Director