You did it to Me: serving pregnant women as a Christian woman

By Ellen Witter, GIVEN ’22

When I reflect on my experiences as a nurse, Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s words come to mind:

The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but love is the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness.

During my first year as a nurse, I worked in an inner-city Emergency Department in a low-income neighborhood. I cared for many women with uncertain pregnancies, women struggling with addictions, and women with many children at home without the help they needed from a father. After my shifts, I would often sit before the Blessed Sacrament in a quiet, dim-lit chapel, asking Our Lord what I could do to make a difference in these women’s lives. By the end of that year, I realized how many women were not treated with the dignity they deserved and that each woman was aching to be known and loved.

Attending the GIVEN Forum helped cultivate the seed planted in my heart during my time in the Emergency Department to serve pregnant women in some capacity. During the Forum, I had conversations with other young women using their professional skills and faith to inspire other women that they are loved and that their lives truly matter. Their experiences inspired me to return home to Nashville, Tennessee, and begin to serve pregnant women. The following September, the door opened for me to work part-time as a nurse in a pregnancy help center operated by Mulier Care.

Serving as a nurse at Mulier Care has been one of the most humbling and impactful experiences thus far in my life. I feel honored to have the opportunity to listen to and counsel the women we see in our clinic. Many of our patients are overwhelmed and frightened upon arrival for their appointment. My role involves helping manage the medical care of our patients and working through options counseling with the women after they see their unborn child on an ultrasound. Each time I have an opportunity to walk with a woman during an incredibly stressful and uncertain time for her, I have the opportunity to be Christ’s hands and feet in a tangible way. My goal for my patients is for them to know that they are loved by the God of all creation, who made their bodies, ordered their days, gave them seasons, and honors all their hopes and dreams.

The Lord has placed this call within my vocation as a nurse, and I am honored to continue to have the opportunity to walk with women as they face uncertainty in their lives. I hope to eventually open a maternity home and clinic for pregnant women with material and financial needs. I am excited to see how the Lord continues to ask me to walk with Him and pregnant women in need. My prayer as I minister to pregnant women in deep need are the words of Jesus in Mark 25:40 echoed in Mother Teresa’s life: “You did it to me.”

In conclusion, I would like to offer some practical ways to support pregnant women in a society where life is not protected and is not always seen as a gift from God. If you feel moved by the Holy Spirit to help other women tangibly, I suggest praying and asking Our Lord how He might call you to do this. While I serve women consistently in a Pregnancy Help Center, there are other ways you can serve women, such as homeless shelters and addiction centers. If serving women outside your home is impossible, care packages and home-cooked meals for pregnant and new mothers are an excellent way to minister to our sisters in Christ. As your heart remains open to the Lord and His call to serve, He will lead you to minister to women in unique and stunningly beautiful ways.

Ellen Witter, GIVEN ’22

Ellen Witter is a Doctor of Nursing Practice- Family Nurse Practitioner student at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and a perioperative nurse. You can find her running when she’s not studying or caring for patients, as she is an avid runner and training for the Chicago marathon. When she is off the trails, she loves to spend time with friends and family or try different taco shops around town. She has a deep passion for serving pregnant women and hopes to spend the rest of her career serving women in some capacity.