Recently, myself and my daughter have started to help put mother and baby packs together for the women who contact Gianna Care when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Everything you could possibly think of and more is included in the maternity bag that volunteers provide to women as part of the Gianna Care service.

I’m a single mum, and I know how tough it can be, but I also know that with the right help anything is possible. I saw in Gianna Care an organisation that walks with women and couples every single step of the way throughout their pregnancy. They support women who feel they have no other choice other than abortion – who are offered no other choice than abortion. That’s hugely important, and it seems strange to me that the people and organisations who say they are ‘pro-choice’ don’t seem to offer any supports to women who wish to have their babies.

Just by sitting and listening to women, befriending them, having a coffee and offering words of support and encouragement is sometimes all that is needed to help them realise that they can do this. Gianna Care’s national network shows there is so much that can be done to help in these situations.

Gianna Care is a non-profit organisation that is committed to providing compassion, accurate information and support to anyone facing a pregnancy or in need after an abortion. In short, Gianna Care is there for women and couples during and after pregnancy, from providing counselling and ultrasound scanning to financial assistance and practical and emotional support – it’s all included free of charge for anyone that approaches Gianna Care.

With centres located in Dublin, Galway, and Kerry, this organisation is quickly finding footholds throughout the country, and now Offaly has become the latest county to open its doors to Gianna Care in the form of a practical link centre. While it’s easy to let all things Covid19 and lockdown related get to you, one such woman who made the most of her time during the lockdown period was Corrinne Claffey Concannon, a Banagher woman and Gianna Care volunteer. Corrinne saw a need that needed to be filled for both women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies and how best she and the good people of Offaly could do their bit to help, and she rolled up her sleeves and got to work, and is reaping an incredible reward due to the new venture.

Corrinne says the Gianna Care Offaly Practical Link Centre has been set up to offer practical support in the midlands region – by delivering everything from cots, car seats, and buggies to clothing and nappies directly to the homes of women in need. She says “I’m so incredibly grateful for the goodness of people in the Offaly and surrounding area. The public have really got behind us and it’s because of their generosity that we can help so many mothers and families.”

“On my very first call I remember the lady’s face just lit up, and she said to me I can get excited now about having my baby, you’ll never know what this kindness has meant to me. That’s something that will always stick with me,” she said.

With regard to her team, the Banagher woman explained “We are so honoured here in Offaly to be part of Gianna Care: it’s a group full of heart and full of love and that’s felt so widely out there by all the mothers that have been helped. I am working with an amazing team of people who give endlessly to ensure we have a constant stock-pile and bend over backwards to do anything that’s asked of them. For us, we just want women and their families to know we are here for them, our doors are always open and we want to help.”

“I’m a mother myself, I know what it’s like to be pregnant it can be a worrying place and I never want any woman to feel alone, scared or in need, so if I can help make someone’s life a little better then I will continue to do that now and always. ”

The commitment of volunteers to Gianna Care’s services is remarkable. We hear a lot of noise from the media and pro-choice activists making false claims that pro-life advocates are ‘anti-choice’ because they believe in the humanity and dignity of every human life, born and unborn. However, one has only to look at the testimonies  <http://www.giannacare.ie> of the Gianna Care clients available at www.giannacare.ie <http://www.giannacare.ie>  to see that Gianna Care offer so much choice for women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy and what’s more is they are committed to doing everything they possibly can both during and after the birth of the baby. Women deserve to know that this organisation is there for them and is committed to helping them at anytime.

That’s why my daughter and I pack the mother and baby boxes, and why we’re so glad Gianna Care exists. We’ve walked this road and we know women deserve to have that support.