This very busy maternity sheltering home that we know today as Friends of the Unborn, began in 1984 in Marilyn Birnie’s home. At that time, Marilyn was a divorced mother of two girls living in their two-family home in Hull, Massachusetts. While watching a Christian program on TV, Marilyn learned about the serious problems so many young women face today when they find themselves pregnant. Oftentimes, parents or a boyfriend will tell a girl that she has two options...abortion or leave. Boyfriends will often abandon their girlfriend or offer her money for the cost of abortion. Some are escaping from unsafe environments violence or violent relationships and even human trafficking. The pregnant woman is often desperate and chooses the abortion because she does not know of any other option. This fell heavy on Marilyn’s heart.
After a great deal of prayer, Marilyn spoke with her daughters about the possibility of using their extra bedroom for a homeless pregnant woman. Her daughters said that they had no problem with this idea and would accept a girl and offer her support and friendship. Marilyn finally contacted Leslie Collins who was Director of the Pregnancy Help office of the Archdiocese of Boston at that time and asked if she needed a place for a pregnant a girl to stay. Leslie was delighted with the offer and was truly in need of Shepherding Homes for homeless young pregnant women in need of shelter and help. Within a short time she sent an 18 year old girl to Marilyn’s home, and instead of keeping the appointment for the abortion her mother made for her that same day, this young woman moved into Marilyn's home on a Monday, September 11th, 1984.
Marilyn didn’t know on that day that this young woman would be the first of many to be placed in her care. She realized that the Lord had prepared and gifted her to work with these wonderful young women and within 6 months the apartment downstairs became available which gave even more space, allowing for 5 more girls in her home. Marilyn would continue to speak at churches and local organizations to help support the work she knew God had put in front of her and through her great faith, just enough money would come in and so it went. Friends of the Unborn had become a ministry! Over the next several years, three more residences would be open for these women, and a thriving Pregnancy Help Center would be established. In 1999 our ministry was given a very large home by a very generous local business person. This enabled us to consolidate all of our residents into one home and have room for a classroom, conference room and staff offices all under one roof.
There are many wonderful success stories to be told about our “graduates” over these many years. Keep your eyes on this web site, Facebook, Instagram pages and our quarterly newsletter, click here to be added to our mailing list.
It is important to note that after our residents and their babies move on, many come back for moral support or other needs or they just stop in to say “Hello” and show us how well they are doing and how their child has grown. It is always such a delightful and rewarding experience for our staff when they stop in for a visit.
Most importantly, the lives of many innocent, unborn children have been saved along with the lives of the mothers who came in broken and become whole again because of the unwavering commitment of Marilyn, the Staff and Board of Directors of Friends of the Unborn. The sanctity, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all human life has been paramount throughout our history and is the centerpiece of our mission.
Marilyn Birnie, our foundress, always said "We win every time a child takes that long, often perilous journey down the birth canal into the arms of a loving mother."
Marilyn went home to the Lord on July 13, 2019. God rest her soul.