The following story comes from the Gulf Coast Storks in Southwest Florida.
As a mom of two, I know my body well. When I took a home pregnancy test, it told me what I already knew—I was pregnant. I made three different appointments to get an abortion and cancelled them all. I couldn’t make up my mind.
I had an abortion when I was younger and will never forget how horrible it was—the starch white walls, the probing, the emotional aftermath. I felt like I could never forgive myself for that mistake, so how could I go through with another?
But at the same time, I felt like it was my only option. I already had two kids from different fathers, but a third… I couldn’t handle that shame. I scheduled an appointment for the fourth time.
When I arrived at the clinic, I was surprised that there weren’t many people there. The clinic staff warned me that there could be a lot of “protestors” outside. They just told me to ignore anyone who spoke to me. There were only a few people there—several were praying and a few were standing by a blue bus that had storks all over it.
A woman approached me, saying that they were offering free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Despite being warned by the clinic, I walked over and started talking to her. I was early for my appointment and curious about the bus, being in the medical field myself.
We chatted a bit about the bus and she asked me if I would like to see it. Why not? I took a peek inside and she told me what the bus was for. She then asked why I was at the clinic and I told her I was there for an abortion. She asked if I wanted to get a free ultrasound. I wanted to say yes, but didn’t want to miss another appointment. She read my mind and said, “Don’t worry about missing your appointment. They can always squeeze you in.”
I followed her in, finding myself excited for a chance to see my baby. It was early enough in the pregnancy that we weren’t able to get a very clear picture of the baby, but she asked about my other children, my previous abortion, and why I was looking to have another. I explained my reasoning for my choice and also shared about the strong feeling of shame I had been experiencing about my lifestyle.
She told me that I didn’t need to continue to live in shame and that if I wanted to, I could choose to change my life right there. I listened as she shared the many benefits of sexual purity, including protecting myself from STDs and HIV.
She asked how I would feel about a “new beginning.” I didn’t understand what she was talking about, so she said, “If you could have a new beginning, a chance to do things differently, would you want one?” “Of course! Who wouldn’t?” I thought. She explained to me that today, this minute, could be my new beginning—No more unplanned pregnancies, no more abortions, and no more men who didn’t love and support me.
We also talked about some practical aspects that would allow me to parent this child well—family support, work, proper healthcare, etc.
We finished by praying and scheduling an appointment with the local pregnancy center for the following week. I know that I have all the support I need during this pregnancy, especially now that I know that there are people who will love and support me no matter what is in my past.
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