"So, what do you do for work?"

It’s a question I’ve learned to slightly dread.

I’m Lisa, the Both Lives research and communications assistant. It’s a privilege to speak up for women and their unborn babies, but that doesn’t mean it’s always straightforward. Beyond the supportive environment in the office, navigating an increasingly polarised landscape comes with its challenges.

My usual enthusiasm for championing both lives is often dampened by negative reactions. My response of, I work for a pro-both organisation,” is frequently met with confusion or an uncomfortable silence. More often than not, explicit disdain follows. Attempts to quickly convey that being pro-life doesn’t mean being anti-women” struggle to overcome the preconceived notions that immediately place me in the crazy pro-lifer” box. However, there are moments when the idea that both a mother and her unborn baby should thrive is met with a smile of mutual understanding and a compassionate acknowledgment of I agree — both lives do matter.”


Challenged by the courage of women living out both lives matter’ in incredibly challenging circumstances, I made a determined resolution to express such an opinion publicly. When a blustery afternoon pushed me into a coffee shop, the last thing I expected was kindness from a stranger based on shared values. 

To my surprise and delight, the conversation with the wonderful lady making my hot chocolate fell into the category of mutual understanding and reciprocated sentiment. Smiling, she handed me frothy relief from December rain in a to-go cup and said, What you do blesses others; please allow me to bless you. This is on the house.”

Our brief and pleasant encounter not only resulted in a free (and delicious!) hot chocolate but also served as a sweet reminder that, despite the sometimes deafening noise on social media, there are people across Northern Ireland who stand for both lives. Policies and legislation can change overnight, but the inherent truth that both lives matter remains. And if that truth endures, so must our fervour and determination to see Northern Ireland once again be a place where both women and their unborn children are valued and empowered to thrive.

Conversations change culture, and while I can’t promise that speaking up for both lives will always (or ever) lead to a free beverage, it is vital that we continue to engage in conversations in our spaces that champion and value both lives.

What would it look like for you to be bolder in championing both lives in your space?