The Gift of Time

By Keturah Johnson, Client Services Director

We talk a lot about the services Assurance offers—pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, safe and confidential options, counseling, etc. One thing we offer that we don’t always immediately highlight is the gift of time.

Time to actually pause and think about the next step to be taken.

Abortion clinics capitalize on the rushed panic women often feel when they face an unplanned pregnancy, but time and time again, we hear from women, “If I had just taken the time to process…I might not have aborted” or “I called and scheduled an abortion and had it done before I even realized what I’d done.”

Recently, we served a client who had taken a pregnancy test at 8:30 am, called a national hotline looking for an abortion by 9:00 am, and by 10:30 am was sitting in our office asking for information about her abortion options. The news of her pregnancy was SO fresh that morning that she was having a hard time processing any of the information we discussed, but what she did know was 

that she was scared and couldn’t fathom how they could add another baby to their household. The client had lost her job right before giving birth earlier this year, and by the time she’d recovered from delivery, the COVID pandemic had hit, and job prospects were few.

She didn’t want to abort.

But in the rush of finding out she was pregnant that morning with two young children sleeping in the room next to her, she did the only thing she could think of to try to calm her racing nerves, and that was to call what she thought was an abortion clinic. Thankfully, though she hadn’t yet realized it, who she called was one of our partner scheduling agencies. She spoke with someone who calmly and kindly explained how we could help her. Hours later, she sat in our office and received a free pregnancy test, information about her options, and the offer of an ultrasound; however, she also encountered the ability to hit the “pause” button—to wait a week until she was far enough along to return for an ultrasound to get measurements and check for viability—and during that time of “pause” she received the ability to actually think through and weigh the decision before her.

We didn’t rush her. We met her in her panicked rush and invited her to breathe. We gave her information that helped her realize she didn’t have to make a decision that morning or even the next morning. We gave her the opportunity to have the powerful realization that she had time to stop before moving forward.

She missed her ultrasound appointment the following week. When I called, she sounded much more upbeat than when I met with her in person. She was still weighing her options, but time had slowed the panic. Time had opened her doors rather than closing them.

Fast forward another week. She came to our office for her ultrasound, and as soon as I brought her back to the intake room, it was clear the tone was very different than two weeks prior. She shared that in the days following her first appointment at Assurance, she and her boyfriend had changed their conversation from “Can we make it work to have another baby?” to instead, “How can we make this work?” Her boyfriend had started a new job, and she was exploring apartment options that would give them more space to welcome a new baby home.

She was immensely grateful for the ultrasound she received that day, but she also verbalized how grateful she was to have come here first…before an abortion clinic. She said that she realized how she could have called an abortion clinic, gone there first, and scheduled an abortion before she even stopped to think about what she was choosing. She thanked us for giving her time and space and for not pressuring her or rushing her to decide anything too quickly.

Never underestimate the power of something so “obvious” as time. Sometimes, the simplest and obvious things we can do make the biggest impact.