The following story comes from the Gulf Coast Storks in Southwest Florida.
Last week, I woke up feeling queasy—it was the same feeling I had when I was pregnant with my daughter. I didn’t even have to take a test… I just knew I was pregnant.
I went into panic mode. Raising my daughter in my parents’ house had never been easy. Though they love their granddaughter, I knew they wouldn’t be happy with two kids running around. I thought they might want me to move out.
I was afraid. I started to think the worst. Where would I live? How would I support myself and my daughter on the little money I make?
I already had an abortion when I was younger and did not want to have another, but I really believed that it was the only way to deal with my situation. I made an appointment at the abortion clinic. Because of my work schedule, I had to wait several days. I felt sick inside, knowing that I was going to abort another baby. I still thought constantly about my last abortion—my biggest secret, my greatest regret.
The day before my appointment, I sat on the couch in my parents’ living room, staring out the window at the small church across the street. Families came and went, with smiles on their faces. Suddenly, a large bus pulled up. It was purple and blue with a picture of a happy woman on the side. The word “pregnancy” caught my eye. In big, blue letters, it said, “Free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests.” I had never seen anything like it before.
I copied the phone number down and headed out to work. I called the number a few hours later while I was on break. A woman answered and I asked her about the mysterious bus. She explained that they provide free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds to women who are dealing with unplanned pregnancies.
I blurted out my story and explained that I hated the idea of another abortion, but I didn’t know what else to do. She told me she had counseled many women in the same situation and suggested we meet the next day.
We arranged a meeting for the morning, just hours before my scheduled abortion. We met at another parking lot, further away from my parents’ house. The bus was so nice inside and the two women that were there were incredibly kind and comforting.
When I saw my baby on the ultrasound screen, I became so excited, but then I remembered the appointment I had that afternoon, and the reality of my situation sank in once again.
I looked at the nurse and, through cloudy eyes, I explained that I felt helpless. I told her the many reasons behind scheduling the appointment for that afternoon, namely the fact that I wouldn’t be able to support myself or my children without my parents’ help. I told her that I dreamed of making a home for myself and my daughter, but wouldn’t be able to afford that with another baby on the way.
She handed me a notepad and asked me to write out my income and my expenses (gas, car insurance, childcare, etc.). She then told me about the pregnancy centers in my area and what they could provide. I had no idea how much they did! I also shared that my parents lived across the street from the church and she mentioned that they have a great childcare program that I could sign my kids up for. Everything began to seem so much more manageable.
My time on the bus opened my eyes to so many resources I never knew were available to me. I left feeling empowered to be a better mom to my daughter and to choose life for my baby!
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