Just the other day I answered the phone and was again taken by surprise by the question, “I want to have an abortion, can you tell me where to go?”
The question takes me off guard for a moment, as it usually does, but I asked her if she knew for sure she was pregnant. She then went on to tell me that she had been to see us when she was only 4 to 5 weeks pregnant (too early to really see anything on an ultrasound). She already had a daughter and when she came to see us she was sure she wanted to have the baby. Since then she told me she had been thinking a lot and she had decided she just couldn’t have another child. She agreed to come in the next morning to have an ultrasound to confirm her pregnancy before she made any final decisions.
The office staff and volunteers said a prayer that she would actually come in for her appointment. The next morning I was nervous when she was over an hour late but finally Heather walked through our doors for her appointment.
When I sat down with her in our consultation room she began to tell me all the reasons that she wanted to have an abortion - she was in school, and working (she had just gotten off her third shift job when she called) and taking care of her daughter – she just didn’t see anyway. In addition, she told me that her boyfriend who said he would be with her no matter what was now saying things like, “It’s your decision, I can’t tell you what to do but I’m not sure that this is a good time for me.” She said she felt like he was no longer supporting her and she was worried that he might leave her to raise this child alone.
We reviewed the abortion materials, fetal development, community resources as well as the material support we have to offer to help our mothers. But my main goal that day was to have her see her child on the ultrasound screen.
What was surprising to me was that this was a young woman who already had one child - she was not unfamiliar with being pregnant but when the nurse started the ultrasound and she saw her 10-week baby moving and waving its arms and legs she very quietly said, “I just can’t do it – I can’t have an abortion.” And I said, “I know you just needed to see your baby.”
Seeing her baby on the Ultrasound screen made this child a reality for this young mother – it became her child and she became its mother.