Perspectives is an Ipswich based charity providing support and counselling services for those experiencing unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy loss and post abortion loss. Graeme Duncan recently met up with their centre co-ordinator, Nancy Sloan-Capasso, to find out more about the work they do.
Perspectives Ipswich is a Christian initiative established in 1998. It was the vision of midwife, Christine Matthews, who had been inspired by Care Confidential, the umbrella organization at that time providing a counselling service independent of the NHS along with information and support in pregnancy choices and post abortion support. Christine was all too aware of the plight some women go through when they are contemplating a termination, the choices of which are never clear cut or easy. She believed that God was calling her to do something for women, and not just those who were contemplating termination, but also for those who had miscarried and perhaps had experienced a still birth.
So with the help of her husband, Peter, and others, the registered charity, Perspectives was established providing a free and confidential listening and support service for anyone experiencing difficulties related to unplanned pregnancy, pregnancy loss or termination.
Over the years Perspectives has evolved since it came into being, and they now deal with quite a varied number of situations, from women experiencing infertility, still births, miscarriages and premature births, which have perhaps resulted in baby loss as well. Their clients are far from being the younger generation too. They are even in their 60’s and 70’s. Some of these women had bad experiences when they were much younger but they never got any closure because their babies were quite often just whisked away, and mums didn’t get the opportunity to hold them or to say goodbye, or even to be told where their child was eventually buried.
Thankfully, things are very different today. It’s recognized nowadays how important it is for a mother to hold her baby, even if it is stillborn, or with a premature birth where the baby is not developed enough to live. It is also important too for the father to experience their baby.
Today, Perspectives is headed by their co-ordinator, Nancy Sloan-Capasso, along with other part-time volunteers. I asked Nancy how working with Perspectives in the secular world ties in with her Christian faith. ‘I really believe that the mother is the centre of the family’, said Nancy, ‘in terms of her ability to nurture and be engaged with the family. If a mother is psychologically, or emotionally not present because of what she is going through, or been through, she can’t engage with the rest of her close, or wider family, and that can be a very difficult place to be. I believe that if we can show God’s love in the work that we do, then it will help women to get to the place where they need to be emotionally, which then leads to better physical and spiritual health, and engagement with their family.’
Perspectives has recently started a new initiative in conjunction with Ipswich Hospital, something it has always aimed to do. It came about when Nancy contacted Ali who was a midwife heading the work of the Petals charity (Pregnancy, expectations, trauma & loss society) in the hospital.
Petals supports women who have had some kind of bereavement with regard to their pregnancy. Nancy asked if Perspectives could do something to help. The hospital had not been offering counselling to women either before or after terminations which is something required by law. So, after consultation with senior members of the maternity department and consultant doctors, it was agreed that Perspectives should provide this service.
They are at the hospital from 1pm to 4pm every Monday to see anybody contemplating, or not sure about a termination, or anyone who is struggling following a termination.
Perspectives staff are all unpaid volunteers and with the increase in workload they are looking for more qualified counsellors to join their team. All counsellors undergo professional development and supervision. As well as offering one to one listening, support and counselling, they also offer free pregnancy testing and an education programme for schools.
Perspectives can be contacted at:
The Fletcher Centre, 2, Crescent Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2EX.
Office hours: Tuesdays 6pm to 8pm
Fridays 10am to 2pm
Tel: 07540 635 236