Jana Zuniga, Staff Writer
“Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed. Each of us is loved. Each of us is necessary.” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
On the bus ride back from last year’s March for Life, I received a packet of papers that listed different ways to continue living the pro-life mission back on campus. I realized then that maybe not all 600 students who attended the March were fully committed to changing the reality of abortion in America. I also realized that maybe I was. I felt an immediate desire and call to find more ways to live the pro-life mission, but little did I know that Project Mom would end up being my answer.
Project Mom is a unique mission that brings hope to mothers in desperate situations and allows people from the community to witness the positive influence of the pro-life response to pregnancy. Twice a semester, students collaborate with the Women’s Care Center to host a baby shower on campus for women in crisis pregnancies. While mothers can seek out basic prenatal assistance at the Women’s Care Center, Project Mom reaches beyond these parameters. Each mother receives a large supply of baby care products, a joyful and warm celebration for their babies and total support from student volunteers.
While welcoming a new life into the world should be a joyful thing, many women who are in less than favorable circumstances are often expected to say “no” to motherhood. When a woman decides instead to welcome it, Project Mom assumes the duty and responsibility to tend to her needs as much as possible.
This year, Lewis Hall hosted the baby shower on December 7. Volunteers from the dorm and members of the Right to Life Club collaborated throughout the semester to raise money and plan the event. The shower itself was complete with homemade food, baby shower games, crafts and a steady supply of baby items for each mother. Three out of the five mothers attended the event along with several of their family members, who were equally grateful for the baby shower.
After a semester of detailed planning and fundraising, finally meeting the mothers was shocking, especially with how much this baby shower meant to them. One of the mothers of the women at the shower tearfully explained how much she desired to give the best for her daughter, but simply could not. She expressed her sincere gratitude for the event, revealing that her daughter was really struggling with her decision to have the baby. It was an incredible gift to be able to remind these women that, regardless of their circumstances, they have blessed the world with a miracle.
That is the essence of Project Mom: to uphold the beauty and courage of motherhood. We hope to restore the image of motherhood as a heroic decision to choose life, and to encourage women by celebrating their pregnancies with joy and acceptance.
One of the counselors met with us several weeks before the baby shower and shared some heart-breaking news about the lives of some of these single moms. They are each taking a huge leap of faith in their decision to choose life, yet not many people have affirmed this decision. Despite the changes a baby will bring to their lives, each of these new mothers is choosing to love and embrace their children. One of the mothers shared her perspective at the shower, stating, “Now I have something to live for, not that I didn’t before, but now it’s just different. I have a different purpose now.”
The pro-life mission calls for more than change in legislation—it calls for change in the mentality of our culture. This involves working with the people within our reach, those in our own community and at school. Thankfully, there are events like Project Mom and other service commissions here at Notre Dame that allows us to do so. Requests for donations to Project Mom receive overwhelming encouragement and gratitude. Many family members, friends and Notre Dame Alumni are thankful that they were able to help a cause like this, and also thankful that there are students who actively promote a pro-life response. Next semester, and for years to come, we hope that Project Mom continues to touch the lives of both mothers and the people who are able to help us give hope to more women.
Jana Zuniga is a sophomore at Saint Mary’s studying elementary education. She is from St. Louis, Missouri, and is a devout Cardinals baseball fan and an aunt to nine nieces and nephews. She enjoys running, playing the banjo, painting and planning baby showers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.