Sometimes we meet couples that aren’t on the same page regarding a pregnancy. In extreme cases, this can be quite distressing, complicated, and even sad. Other times, it presents an opportunity for each parent to pause, listen to the other, and demonstrate care and compassion in a very stressful situation. This was the case with a couple who recently visited our clinic.
For this particular young mother, experiencing an unplanned pregnancy was scary. Her immediate insecurity was only compounded by a future filled with uncertainty. What was certain, however, was that her pregnancy represented great sacrifice. She would likely have to delay completing her education and get comfortable with the idea of feeling uncomfortable for the next nine months. Her future plans would need to be reevaluated. This was weighing heavily on her mind as she confided in one of Assurance’s staff members. As she poured out her heart, what came to light was not only uncertainty about her future but also a deep place of grief about things she had already lost. This pregnancy initially felt like yet another loss to her, and she voiced that she wanted her husband to be willing to consider all their options, not just parenting.
Her husband, on the other hand, was nothing short of enthusiastic. He was certain everything would turn out well and they’d make it work. And it’s not that his wife didn’t believe him, it’s that he didn’t understand what it was like to be her. She wasn’t looking for answers or even reassurance; she wanted validation that this was hard. Though parenthood was a good thing, that didn’t mean it was easy. She wanted to be seen, heard, and understood. In his enthusiasm for parenthood, he overlooked the immediate implications this pregnancy imposed upon her life, future, and career. She felt trapped. Their baby was in a vulnerable position because of that, and so was their marriage.
One of the ways we help our clients face unplanned pregnancies is by helping them face it together, with strong mutual commitment and care for one another. Our father-to-be was excited but needed to work on his capacity for empathy in addition to his ability to listen and communicate. As we served them individually, we helped them talk through how to come back together and have healthy and honest conversations with each other about how they were each processing this pregnancy. At a follow-up appointment, following her ultrasound, the wife shared that it was so helpful to have a safe place to process and that she felt relief moving forward with parenting knowing that she had support here.
We encouraged the couple to enroll in our REACH program. Among other useful resources we provide, REACH empowers our clients with information about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting in addition to helping clients work on communication skills, develop healthy boundaries, and plan for their future as parents. It creates a consistent and safe space for couples to talk, listen, and process the hopes and anxieties associated with having a baby. REACH also provides a context to continue exploring the Gospel, God’s love for these clients and their baby, and how God was present in their circumstances—walking with them even through these unexpected and challenging circumstances.
Our couple is now active in REACH with regular appointments with caring staff. And they have a space to talk, listen, and understand one another as they face their future together. They have expressed gratitude and relief on so many occasions since they first walked through the doors of our clinic. They’re learning to listen to and care for one another more intentionally. Together, they’re not simply building a stronger future, they’re building a strong family. They have been eager to learn, grow, and receive all that Assurance has to offer. We have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus with them in this journey.