Supporting women through difficult time

SUPPORT Petrea Foster says everyone needs help coping with difficult situations
SUPPORT Petrea Foster says everyone needs help coping with difficult situations

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CedarOak counsellor, Petrea Foster, says it is not just teenagers who deal with the stresses of unplanned pregnancies

Having returned from two years voluntary service as a nurse on the Mercy Ship Anastasis, I was ready for a new challenge.

I had never heard of CedarOak, a small charity in Gosport, but when the opportunity arose to get involved I felt it fitted well with my desire to use my caring skills.

For the past 23 years CedarOak has offered compassionate care and support to anyone who is finding it difficult to cope following an abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth, or neo-natal death.

For women faced with an unexpected pregnancy CedarOak’s counsellors provide a safe, confidential place to explore their options.

The counsellors here are all volunteers and trained in general counselling; I have additional training in the ‘Called to Care- Crisis Pregnancy Counselling Course’ and ‘The Journey - Baby Loss Support Programme’.

Since Easter, CedarOak has had to ask new clients for a voluntary contribution for the counselling support, to help with the running costs of the centre, in Bemister’s Lane.

For the last 10 years CedarOak has also provided a team of volunteers to deliver Sex and Relationship lessons in local secondary schools.

One of the key messages has been that it is OK to wait before having sex, as many young people feel pressurised into having sex, which is something many come to regret, even if it does not necessarily result in an unplanned pregnancy.

It’s often assumed that unplanned pregnancies are the domain of teenagers, but at CedarOak we see clients from all age groups and different backgrounds, all equally struggling to work out what’s the best decision for them, in the midst of family and friends steering them in a certain direction.

Those who come for baby loss support are equally diverse.

Over the years I have come to see that women who have had an abortion do so for many different reasons; abusive relationships, financial pressures, educational or professional aspirations.

Most people have strong views when it comes to abortion, but I have learnt that you really can’t judge anyone’s decision, as none of us have walked their path.

People often come to CedarOak with additional needs, so it has been exciting to be involved with the Gosport Advice and Information Network (GAIN) as a Steering Group Member from the very beginning.

Organisations all working together offering Gosport residents the best possible support we can offer will always help the community.