Community Responds to Help Expectant Mother Diagnosed with Cancer

by Katie Scalf

Like many pregnant women who come to PMI, Anna* was distraught. Her circumstances were overwhelming and it seemed hopeless to handle them alone.

She was three months pregnant with her first child when she came to PMI. After a couple sessions, she shared that she was facing not only an unplanned pregnancy, but also a recent diagnosis of cervical cancer. The father of the baby, who most likely infected her with the HPV that caused her cancer, was nowhere to be found.

Without the baby’s father in her life, Anna was facing this pregnancy, and now a cancer diagnosis, alone. She was distressed. On top of everyday concerns like how she would provide for her child and where they would live, she also worried about the effect of the cancer on her baby and about her own prognosis. The doctors said the treatments she needed were too dangerous for the baby, so they put off treating her cancer until after delivery.

The most devastating news came next. They told her she may not be able to conceive again because of the cancer. She longed to have a husband and partner someday, but she felt like used goods, and now she wondered who would want her if she couldn’t have any more children. She was forlorn, and she resigned herself to thinking she would be alone for the rest of her life.

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But God had set plans in motion to provide for her needs, and over the remaining months of her pregnancy, Anna began to see that she wasn’t alone. Her client advocate at PMI prayed with her every time they met, asking for God’s intervention and help through her trials. The advocate personally provided Anna with food at Thanksgiving and Christmas. She used the Word of God to show Anna that God loved her and that she was precious in His sight. The more they talked and prayed during their appointments, the more Anna gained hope and strength.

PMI also provided for her and her baby’s physical needs. Through an early version of our Earn While You Learn program, Anna received education abut pregnancy, delivery, and infant care. She absorbed all the information she could. Then she used the Baby Bucks she earned to buy a car seat, bassinet, pack and play, and stroller. At her sixth month of pregnancy, she got a Mommy Bag of personal care items just for her. And after the birth, she got a Layette, a large gift bag of baby clothes and items for the first few months.

In addition to PMI, God used Anna’s church family to answer her prayers for help. A couple within her church heard about her situation and offered to let her stay with them. They had an extra bedroom and wanted to share their blessings, so they invited her into their home, providing her with food, necessities, and transportation to her appointments. They were the ones who brought her to PMI, having heard of the help we offered to pregnant women.