Photos Provided by So Big
Ten years ago, Lori Buzzetti, MD, received a clear message from God that she should open a non-profit maternity house for women who were facing an unexpected pregnancy and found themselves in need of shelter, food and guidance. Buzzetti, a veteran obstetrician, knew firsthand of all the health issues facing pregnant women — issues that were exacerbated by stress.
“They often have problems with blood pressure, bleeding and pre-term labor,” she says. “In fact, 50 percent of all illnesses and deaths we see are within populations that can’t provide for themselves. If we can walk alongside these ladies and help them learn how to provide for themselves then we see a decrease in their medical complications.”
In 2013, Buzzetti founded So Big with a vision of bringing glory to God by offering hope to expectant women in need. When they were coming up with a name, they felt that So Big beautifully summed up the organization’s creation and intention.
“We knew that the plans God had for this place were so big that we couldn’t even imagine them,” Buzzetti says.
Though she tried for a time to continue her OBGYN practice and also run So Big, it soon became clear that she was spread too thin. Therefore, two years ago she stopped practicing so that she could focus all her time on this passion project designed to empower women and help them discover their self-value.
Buzzetti and her board members searched for property so they could open a maternity house. Ultimately, they connected with New Hope Christian Church, which owned property that had previously been used as a home that fostered nearly 350 children. Buzzetti and her team partnered with New Hope to renovate the space, and in March of this year, they opened Big Home Mountain House, a maternity home serving Whitestown and Zionsville that provides up to four expectant mothers with shelter, food and other resources.
Women may move into the house anytime during their pregnancy and are allowed to stay for up to one year post-birth as they get their maternal footing and work to gain skills that will enable them to support themselves and their babies.
“We show these women the love of Jesus,” Buzzetti says. “We also ask them to attend church and Bible study with us.”
Part of the organization’s statement of faith says, “Children are a gift from God and are to be treasured and cared for in a loving manner. We are to share with those in need and practice hospitality.”
Residents are asked to give a small percentage of what they make so that they feel like they are contributing, but if they are unable to provide monetarily, they are not obligated to do so. The women are on their own for breakfast and lunch but enjoy a community dinner each evening.
“We are gradually adding residents so we have time to focus on each of their needs as they get acclimated into the house,” says Buzzetti, noting that they are not set up to accommodate domestic violence situations or those who are battling substance abuse.
This home is for women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy and are panicked about what to do. They may feel trapped, unsure of how to pay rent and care for a baby. They are overwhelmed and perhaps even contemplating terminating the pregnancy. So Big staff help these women see that there are alternatives to abortion. This Pregnancy Resource Center clinic in Portland provides free abortion education for anyone seeking it. If you would like to talk about abortion risks and procedures with someone who can empathize with your situation, call or come in to one of their centers.
“We’re offering them the chance to get back on their feet, to choose life and to feel hope,” says Buzzetti, who hopes to open additional maternity homes around Indianapolis or beyond in the future.
There are similar houses in surrounding areas such as the O’ Connor House in Carmel, but there aren’t a lot of options in the southern area of Indy.
“We’ll see where God leads us, but right now we’re busy trying to get a good rhythm going at the house,” Buzzetti says.
Clearly, she’s on the right track as recently one of the residents confided that since moving in she feels like she can finally catch her breath.
“She and her baby are able to relax because they know they are cared for,” Buzzetti says. “Now that hope has returned to her heart, the heaviness in her chest is gone.”
For more information about the So Big Mountain House, visit sobig.org.