I walked into the client room to find “Susan” slouched on the loveseat as if she had been in a battle; an emotional, spiritual, and physical one. Her face was tearstained, and her eyes had a longing for a place of peace and comfort. Susan was feeling overwhelmed and hurt. She explained how she was physically feeling and how her boyfriend had responded to the news of the pregnancy. His response was the reason why she first sought an abortion. Susan shared that just that morning she was in bed crying and Googled “Abortion in KY”, like many of our clients do, and called the first number that came up. That phone number connected her to an Assurance Nurse, Denise, who offered an immediate telecare consultation. Denise provided information about the abortion Susan was considering, as well as adoption and parenting. To facilitate Susan’s consideration of each option, she asked her to name a pro and con for each. Susan cried as she discussed her concerns with the pregnancy and why she was considering an abortion. As she took time to really think about the pregnancy options, she realized none of her potential options was going to be easy. After hearing about the abortion procedures from Denise, Susan began to reconsider if abortion was her best option. With Denise’s encouragement, Susan scheduled an in-clinic appointment at Assurance that same day for important next steps, including an ultrasound.
Sitting with me at her appointment in our clinic that afternoon, Susan shared that after talking to the Telecare Nurse, she couldn’t choose abortion because she could never forgive herself. I watched some of the tension in Susan’s body leave her as she realized she had just ruled out abortion. I’ve had the tremendous privilege to sit across from women who, days or hours before they walk into the clinic, were actively looking for an abortion. Often, our abortion seeking clients don’t want an abortion; it’s just that abortion seems like the easiest or only option to them. After speaking with a telecare nurse who offers compassion and shares information with clients, I’ve seen a shift in our in-clinic clients. Clients who were seeking an abortion pre-telecare are now, more than not, considering other options. They are finding out that the “quick fix” they believed an abortion would bring isn’t as simple as they thought. When women have the chance to process with someone who cares, they are allowed a space to realize the far-reaching impact of abortion. It gives them a pause to truly consider their next steps in the pregnancy- and that’s before they’ve crossed the threshold of the clinic!
As I sat across from Susan that day, I could feel her intense shock from the pregnancy and her loneliness as she considered continuing this pregnancy alone. Susan cried as she discussed how the relationship with her boyfriend would determine if she would choose adoption or parenting. Susan was surprised to hear there were so many options and support systems with parenting and adoption. She began to see that perhaps doing what she truly wanted and continuing the pregnancy may be more possible than she believed just hours before. When Susan saw the ultrasound one of our sonography nurses, Candie, performed, she said she already loved her child and asked for resources that would help her in parenting.
We invited Susan to come back and bring her boyfriend with her next time. He was able to meet with one of the men on our staff, Jud. He was given a space to process the news of the pregnancy, receive support, get information on the options, and talk about his questions, fears, and hopes. We also provided another ultrasound so that he too could see the child Susan carries and hear the heartbeat. At the end of the appointment, her boyfriend shared with Jud that he “wants to be a dad” and make it work with Susan. Together, they decided to parent and to participate in our REACH program to work on their relationship and prepare to be the best parents possible for their child.
They have been meeting with Aaron for REACH faithfully now for over a month. I checked in with Susan about how that is going and she reported back to me that they are learning to communicate, forgive, and love each other. Additionally, they are studying the Bible by reading through the book of John, soaking in the Gospel as they continue to learn and grow. Susan, her boyfriend, and their child are in a completely different place than they were when she made that first call.