It was a Monday morning and the center had been open for just a few minutes. I was sitting at the front desk filing papers and sipping my morning coffee when Sydney, a former client, walked in. She had a look of worry on her face and, without greeting me, explained she needed a pregnancy test.
She followed me to the back and, as I prepped her test, she blurted out, “If it comes back positive, I’m getting an abortion!”
I looked up to see her staring at me with resolve–I could tell she meant what she said. I could also see that this resolve was not based on empowerment and confidence, but fears and insecurities. In that moment, I knew Sydney didn’t want to have an abortion, but felt like she had to.
She followed the counselor into the counseling room where she waited for me to process her pregnancy test. It was positive. She was pregnant and she was set on abortion. I paused at the door of the counseling room and prayed. I prayed that God would soften her heart and that the love we showed her would remind her she is not alone.
I delivered the news to Sydney and the counselor explained her options to her. Since Sydney was abortion-minded, the counselor explained the different procedures and risks. She listened, emotionless.
The counselor asked if she would consider adoption. Sydney revealed she had been adopted and has never had a great relationship with her adoptive parents. Still, she seemed to become more open to the idea. Lacking resources and help, Sydney ruled parenting out. It wasn’t even an option.
After going over a few health questions, I asked Sydney if she would want an ultrasound. She said that would be fine, so we boarded the Stork Bus and prepped her for the ultrasound.
I put the probe on her stomach and could see the baby perfectly. I showed Sydney the heart flickering and I explained what her uterus, gestational sac, and baby looked like. I took measurements of the baby and measured the heart rate.
I also showed Sydney the yolk sac and explained to her that the yolk sac provides nutrients for her baby until the placenta fully forms. During all of this, Sydney did not show any emotion.
After the ultrasound, I asked her if she had any more questions for the counselor regarding her options and she shook her head. I told her the doctor would read her ultrasound and that I would call the next day. She walked away from the unit with the same resolve she entered the center with.
Still, I called her the next day to relay the information from the doctor. A family member answered and I gave them a number Sydney could reach me at if she chose to call back.
A week passed and I did not think I would hear back from Sydney. As each day passed I thought of her and prayed for her. I figured she had had an abortion and hoped she knew she could come to our center if she was in need of support.
However, a little over a week after she came in, Sydney called me back. I nervously asked her how everything was going and if she had decided what she was going to do about her pregnancy.
I was shocked–She had decided to keep her baby and parent!
I asked if she felt like she had support during her pregnancy and she said she did. I reminded her of all of the resources she could get from the center, including our Earn While You Learn program, where parents can get material resources just by coming to our parenting classes.
She seemed excited and encouraged on our phone call. It was as though I was talking to a completely different person!
Sydney’s story reminded me that the work we do at pregnancy centers is only a small part of the picture. Our role is to love, support, and resource women to the best of our ability. The rest is up to God. And we can only pray that He will both soften the hearts of our clients.
*name changed due to confidentiality
This true story came from our affiliate First Option Care in Thomasville, GA.