A local group that works with women in crisis situations said the pandemic has taken a toll on both its clients and cause. Representatives from Crisis Pregnancy Outreach said the nonprofit needs all the help it can get.
“We have not been able to have our big annual gala fundraiser that we have every year,” Crisis Pregnancy Outreach Executive Director Cheryl Bauman said. “That brings in a big chunk of our income. We are a nonprofit, and we are very dependent upon people to make donations to keep going.”
COVID-19 concerns forced CPO to adapt many of their operations, but they remain committed to providing for Green Country mothers. CPO representatives said some of these women are already having to make the most difficult decision of their lives, and they shouldn’t have to take on any more stress.
“They really count on that support,” Bauman said. “Both groups do. It’s really, they kind of live from Tuesday to Tuesday. It’s really important to them.”
CPO ministers to both birth mothers considering adoption plans and single mothers.
“The support that they offer is amazing because these are other women who have experienced this,” CPO contract counselor and clinical social worker Soo-Jung Choi said. “I’m just the person with a professional title there to support, really. They provide all the support and share their experiences. They are open. The women come from different situations and experiences.”
Crisis Pregnancy Outreach offers lifelong, confidential counseling and weekly support groups for mothers of all ages.
Dakota Dunn is a single mom who is part of the community with CPO.
“I think it’s not only helped just to have a place that serves as a sounding board to voice your thoughts and just say, ‘This is what’s going on with me.’ You know, there’s someone who cares,” Dunn said. “Especially if you’re single in this time, it’s really hard because you don’t have someone to share that experience with. So, to be able to put your thoughts out there in the world and have someone hear it, is really valuable. I think that helps a lot with mental illness.”
Dunn said this season of life hasn’t been easy, but she feels blessed to be a part of a group that loves her well and supports her.
"It kind of messes with your head when all of these things that you thought were just, that you took for granted are taken away and you just wonder, what else am I going to lose," Dunn said. “I’m just worried for the future. I just feel like, honestly, something really bad might happen.”
Dunn said she worries about what the rest of 2020 has in store between everything that has already gone on, the state of our environment, and what November might have in store.
She believes the election could be the “powder keg that blows everything up.” Dunn’s top priority is protecting her daughter.
“Sometimes, I just wonder what kind of a world is she going to grow up in?” Dunn said. “Is she going to be able to grow up?”
Choi said several major insurance companies are covering telehealth, so you can access support from the comfort of your own home.
“They have a myriad of other challenges in their lives,” Choi said. “For people who already feel isolated and don’t have a lot of support, that’s hard too, and if you already struggle with depression or anxiety, now look at what we’re living in. […] You know, you're going to go through hard times in your life, but don't do it alone, and that there's support out there.”
CPO said several clients lost their jobs and rely solely on unemployment benefits. The group said some of these women don't have a stable home life and they are forced to stay with friends, living out of their suitcase.
Dunn said she's one of the lucky ones who kept her job, but she said life isn't easy working from home.
“You're just reliving every day and you don't get a moment to yourself," Dunn said.
Others are working for mobile delivery services to make ends meet, but those birth moms are concerned for the wellbeing of their unborn child.
“There has been one case now in the United States of a baby that did get COVID-19 via the placenta and was born with COVID-19,” Bauman said. “For a while, they thought that couldn’t happen, but it is happening. So, these girls do have to be extra careful, that’s for sure.”
Bauman said she does make it a priority to educate these women about staying safe, washing their hands and wearing masks.
CPO said to make matters worse, several adoptions haven’t been able to be finalized. One couple couldn't even meet their baby until 48 hours after it was born.
"This poor family had adopted this baby and, you know, couldn't even hold the baby,” Bauman said. “They wouldn't even allow them to see the baby."
Bauman said times are tough, but Tulsans can help by making donations or volunteering their time.
“We continuously take care of these girls and have for 37 years now,” Bauman said. “It’s a good place to plug in and feel like you really are doing something for someone in need… hands on.”
Crisis Pregnancy Outreach’s hotline number is 918-296-3377. Anyone can text or call that number 24/7.
For more information on Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, click here.