Unplanned and Loved: Website strengthens moms with hopeful stories

To support women through trying times.

Jill Thaxton is a wife, mother of five, writer, and educator, and the creator of an uplifting new website, “Pregnant and Unplanned; Stories of Encouragement.”

You may be curious as to why this Presbyterian, American Lit.-teaching Sugar Land, TX resident would take time out of her already busy schedule to start a site for pregnant women. Jill says it all began when she looked outside the comforts of her stable life and began to think about others who may be less fortunate. As she told me in her own words:

Thirteen years ago after having two babies in the security of a happy marriage, I signed up to volunteer in a crisis pregnancy center. I knew that for many women, circumstances were quite different. Some were struggling with poverty, difficult homes, difficult boyfriends, and difficult parents. Others were struggling with lost reputations and lost dreams.

Jill, her husband & five children

Jill, her husband, and their five children.

Jill’s job at the CPC was to assist a woman in charge of developing a parenting program. She sat through training with new moms, which later led her into a career as a childbirth educator and doula. As time passed, Jill’s family moved and grew to include three more children. One day Jill was following Texas Senate Bill 5, praying for it pass, which it did. That night, Jill uttered a prayer to God. She prayed that she could find time in her full life to do something meaningful to assist the women who, as she says, “wake up one day to two pink lines and think, ‘This can’t be happening- what am I going to do now?'”

When Jill awoke, the answer to her prayer came with a simple thought – start a website of personal stories. Jill believes that stories are a powerful tool to inspire people, helping them to overcome challenging circumstances. She says:

In the childbirth world, birth stories abound on the internet – there is a story for every situation: twins, home birth, cesarean, etc. They’re  popular because women need to know that others have done this before, that they can do it, too. Stories help us to fight our fears and let us know that we’re not alone.

Jill wanted a site that would provide moms with needed strength to see their pregnancies through from women who’ve been in their shoes. The website has stories that deal with rape, teen pregnancy, single parenting, and dealing with a non-supportive father. I read through the stories and was touched by each one. I was especially moved by Birgit, who at the age of 14 was raped by a neighbor. Her strong Catholic family made brave choices that helped Birgit become who she is today: a wife of 36 years and mom of three, with seven grandchildren. As Birgit shares at the end of her story, “[l]ife prevailed and has come full circle. Contrary to being ‘ruined’, I can honestly say that my 54 years on this earth have truly been blessed!”

Jill wants the website to be packed full of more hopeful stories. If you have one to tell, please send her your contact info on the “Share your Story” page on her site. Jill will edit your story and keep your identity anonymous if you so desire. If you want to share your name, that option is available as well.

The site, with its bright pink background and white floating balloons, does appeal to women, but it’s not exclusive to them. Jill knows that fathers have stories to tell as well. They’re invited to send in their tales of how having a baby changed their lives for the better. If you don’t have a story to tell, share the stories that are already on the site. Post them to your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Let the world know that an unplanned baby can be loved all the days of his life.

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