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BRIANNA (above with son Aaron Jr.) “I was a junior in college with plans to go to graduate school, start my career and marry my boyfriend Aaron, my high school sweetheart. With plans interrupted and lack of financial stability, I considered abortion and made an appointment at an abortion clinic. Through God’s grace, I found the strength to cancel the abortion appointment… I applied and received a scholarship from the Sister Thea Bowman Black Catholic Educational Foundation and was also accepted  into Heather’s House, Aid for Women’s residential program in Des Plaines, Ilinois. I am now following my dreams and creating a better future for myself and my baby. On November 18th, I gave birth to a healthy 6 lbs. 3 oz. baby boy whom I named Aaron Jr.  I will continue to live at Heather’s House while attending school at De Paul University.”

KRISTIN (above with daughter Rosemary) “The  pressure from my mother, stress at work and knowing that I would soon be without a place to live were taking a toll on me, and I knew this was not good for my pregnancy. I considered going through with an abortion at that time but knew in my heart that I wanted to have the baby…Living at Heather’s House gave me a sense of relief, and I could now focus on my pregnancy, pending motherhood and other goals. Living with a group of women definitely has its challenges, but I was always grateful to be surrounded by the staff, volunteers and other residents who understood my situation and supported me.”

BRITTNEY (above with daughters Olivia and Amelia)  “When I told my boyfriend I was pregnant, he told me to have an abortion. He told me that there was no way I could be a parent and that I didn’t have a choice. He told me he would leave if I continued the pregnancy, and frankly I didn’t care. I felt pressured to make a choice that I knew in my heart was not what I wanted. It was a very scary time for me, and I felt I was way over my head. I was entirely on my own and felt helpless and that my only option was to have an abortion. Thankfully, I came across Aid for Women. As soon as I walked in the doors of their downtown center, I was welcomed with a smile. I felt a sense of warmth and knew I was in the right place.”

KARINA (above with son Maks)  “I had recently done a few pregnancy tests that all turned out positive. I became very nervous thinking about the worst and eventually decided on having an abortion. I looked up Aid for Women and abortion clinics around my area and scheduled an ultrasound at Aid for Women and an abortion at Planned Parenthood the following day. When I came to Aid for Women to see if in fact there was a baby, I watched the ultrasound in amazement. It broke my heart seeing the baby move, knowing that at 9:45 the next morning, this child wouldn’t have a heartbeat anymore. I came home that day feeling terrible and wasn’t able to sleep that night. The next morning, I decided that I couldn’t go on with the abortion and accepted that I was starting my journey to motherhood. Now, I couldn’t be happier and am doing the best I can to prepare myself to give this life a great future with lots of health and love.”

JANESSA (above with son Christian)  “During my stay as a resident of Heather’s House, I have been able to begin providing the best life for me and my son by continuing school and work. I’ve gained an exceptional amount of gratitude for my support system here, and I’ve learned to support myself. Even though I’m only nineteen years old, I will not fall subject to collecting public assistance for the rest of my life and raising my son in bad neighborhoods. I know he deserves much more and so do I. So, we will experience this world together hand-in-hand. I know it won’t be easy, but I’ve learned that I have the ability to overcome hardships.”

YUFANG (above with daughter) “When I found out I was pregnant, my husband and I were shocked and could not sleep. We were thinking that we would not be able to continue with the pregnancy and raise this baby because of our limited financial resources. On the other hand, I really did not want to have an abortion. I had a previous abortion three years ago, and it was a miserable memory. We felt so helpless and exhausted. We searched the internet to find help and found Aid for Women. The first time I came to their downtown center, my counselor gave me helpful information about prenatal care and insurance options. What was the most important was the encouragement she gave me. She told me, ‘We are always here for you. If you need help, just let me know.’ These words were so powerful, and I did not feel helpless anymore. I now know that I can have this baby, and there are a lot of kind people who want to support me.”

PAMELA (above with son Kai) “Heather’s House provides a warm, safe and supportive environment for new and expectant mothers. Each resident can focus on their individual goals without worrying about where they’re going to get their next meal or where they’re going to sleep each night.  Truly great women work to provide a home and safe support system to those determined to better themselves and the lives of their children.”