*Rita was pregnant with her fifth child at the age of 26. She had already mothered four children, all of whom had different fathers. Although her youngest child was living with the father, Rita pondered how she was going to raise her 3 other children with one on the way. The overwhelming feeling of helplessness filled her heart.
Rita’s future was uncertain: besides employment concerns, she and the father of the expected child were not on the most amicable terms. The father, *Mark, was her junior by many years and admitted he was not ready for a relationship like this. He couldn’t be a father yet. As a reaction to his fear, he pressured Rita to have an abortion. Rita was distraught and looked for help, so her mother encouraged her to seek the support from the staff at Centro Tepeyac Women’s Center.
It was a beautiful morning when Rita rang the buzzer of The Catholic Charities Center, which houses Centro Tepeyac Women’s Center as well as other charitable community programs and services.
Rita was greeted and counseled by one of Centro Tepeyac’s highly trained and experienced counselors. In following Jesus’ example of embracing and accepting the woman at the well (John 4:1-40), Rita was embraced, loved and accepted, regardless of circumstance. Centro Tepeyac offered Rita life affirming alternatives for her prenatal options.
Along with a free pregnancy test, Rita was offered a free limited ultrasound exam aboard on the Stork Bus to confirm the viability of the pregnancy. There, Rita was able to see the image of her 9-week-old baby: head, body, limbs, and heart pulsing at 155 beats a minute.
Rita brought the baby’s father to the next counseling session at Centro Tepeyac. In the counseling room, they learned about joy and responsibilities of parenting, how to access to prenatal care as well as the myriad of charitable community services. Additionally, they learned about the life growing inside Rita and about the baby’s beating heart displayed on the ultrasound screen. Mark, listening, but still abortion minded, felt a bit overwhelmed at the realization that an abortion would terminate an existing and living human heart. He replied, “Oh man, you’re killing me.” How ironic this would be if his pre-born child could speak, perhaps echo the same words back to his father.
Rita happily decided that prenatal care and co-parenting was the right plan. However, just as in Jesus’s parable, sometimes a well can run dry; thus, did Rita and Mark’s relationship. After a bitter fight Mark moved out, leaving Rita alone and vulnerable to abortion. She felt so alone, overwhelmed, and terrified.
Rita decided to go through with the abortion but was $300.00 short to pay for a second trimester procedure.
With a generous and kind heart, Rita’s mother took her daughter into her own home. And as familial love is infectious, Rita’s own heart was transformed. Today she feels beyond blessed to soon bear another child into this world – this time a son, to her 4 daughters. Rita continues counseling at Centro Tepeyac and has received a bassinet, clothing, and diapers to welcome her baby boy, who is due the first week in July. The counselors at Centro Tepeyac will continue to assist Rita for the next two years and support them through this new transition of life.
*Names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.