Five young women.

Five pregnancies.

Five people who impacted my life.

Over fifty years ago five young women discovered they were pregnant, alone and looking for answers.  Each had a unique story behind their pregnancy and each one had very few options. In the 1960’s a pregnancy outside of marriage was a discovery that often resulted in intense fear, shame and banishment from their families and communities.  So much has changed since then – but those elements often still remain.

In spite of all the obstacles before them those five women reached out to community services and organizations that helped them through the challenges of being pregnant and alone and facilitated the adoption of my closest cousins, my husband and my sister-in-law.  Each of has left an indelible impact on my life so I’m thankful for those five women and for organizations like Family and Children’s Services and JFJ Hope Centre that supported them and their children when they were in their time of need.  My life would look so different if those five women had never reached out.  And so would theirs.

For the past four years I’ve been honoured to work with fellow board members to support the work of The Pregnancy Centre in Kitchener and to expand its impact to Centre Wellington by opening a satellite centre in Fergus.  More importantly, I’ve been given the gift of helping to provide a safety net for women who are unexpectedly pregnant, alone and looking for hope-filled answers.  It’s been a blessing to pass on the gift I was given by those five women over 50 years ago by extending support, respect and hope through The Pregnancy Centre to today’s woman in need.

My hope is that 50 years from now someone else will be saying “I’m thankful that The Pregnancy Centre was there for ________ when she needed information, support, and a safe place to talk about her pregnancy options.  My life would be very, very different if The Pregnancy Centre hadn’t been there in their time of need.”


Paula McLeod-Smith // Outgoing Board Chair

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