The following story comes from Several Sources Shelter in Englewood, NJ.
On Christmas day in 2013 I got a big surprise. While my three kids were screaming about new presents in the next room, I sank into a ball on the bathroom floor. The pregnancy test I had just taken came back positive.
I couldn’t believe my luck. I already had three kids under the age of five, who I was struggling to take care of. I immediately thought of how my boyfriend would react. I knew he would hate the idea of a fourth child running around our tiny apartment.
We had been together for years and he had progressively become more abusive and manipulative. I knew what this would turn into—yelling, pushing, bruises.
At the time, I was working in Englewood, just a few minutes from the abortion clinic. I decided I would stop in and make an appointment during my lunch break.
As I was walking toward the clinic, I noticed a blue and white van in the parking lot that had the words “Free Ultrasound” written on the sides. There were people standing by the bus, asking women if they wanted a free ultrasound, as well as other free services. Someone walked up to me and asked if I wanted one.
I said no and went into the abortion clinic. I reminded myself that I was just there to set up my appointment and get back to work.
I returned to work and spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about the blue and white ultrasound bus. For some reason I was drawn to the bus and I decided to get an ultrasound. After all, I had no idea how far along I was.
I returned a week later to find that the same people were outside of the bus asking if women wanted ultrasounds. This time, I said yes. The door to the bus opened. I just stood there in the cold for a minute in disbelief—the inside of the bus looked like a high end doctor’s office. I stepped on and could immediately smell the scent of the new leather seats.
The nurse asked me to fill out some paperwork and then lay down on the soft exam bed. She put the ultrasound probe to my belly and my baby appeared on the flatscreen TV in front of me. I was already eighteen weeks pregnant. I couldn’t believe how large and active my baby was!
While I know mothering four children will be a challenge, I have decided to keep my baby! I will be welcoming a little girl into this world in August of 2014.
Going onto that bus changed my life. Not only did I decide to keep my child, but I also left feeling empowered to leave the abusive relationship I was in and find a better life for my children.
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