Jim – We had just returned from holiday travels and the day we got home, Liz had mentioned she was going in to Anchor the following morning for an unexpected appointment with an abortion-minded younger couple. “Do you know them?” I asked. “No, they just came in today and Jacky scheduled them for Friday morning for an ultra-sound.” I responded, “Oh, so you don’t know them yet, huh?” “No, this will be a first appointment for me.” “Is the guy coming too?” “Yes, both are scheduled for the appointment.”
“Oh, ok” I said, and half-joking asked, “Do you need me to come along?” I say half-joking because I am a new client advocate and still pretty green. She said, “Lemme check.” Later she said, yes, I should come and that Jacky said “Absolutely.” OK, then, I guess I’m going in too. “If they are abortion-minded, I don’t want them to be influenced by my story.” “Don’t make it about your story, just hear theirs, ask how they are doing and you’ll be fine,” Liz said. Nervously I reminded myself that 90% of offering care is just being there, a presence.
Liz– The day we arrived back in town I said “yes” to doing an “emergency ultrasound”. Emergency ultrasounds are understood to be for women who are still undecided about their
pregnancy. Going in on an off day was an automatic “yes” because leaving her without an ultrasound meant leaving her for the weekend to sit in her indecision. Having a conversation
about abortion and pregnancy while showing her an image of her baby is an opportunity I don’t like to pass up.
They both showed up
Jim – I didn’t expect the guy to show up. I was anxious about what was for me, a new experience of meeting with an abortion-minded couple. I found myself talking to myself quite a bit before they came. I asked Liz to give me some pointers in case the guy actually showed up.
She said, “Let the guy know that the guy’s voice is the loudest in the girl’s mind. And give him kudos for showing up to support his girlfriend.” Liz was confident, calm and eager; that helped
me at least act like I was.
And came ‘they’ did, both of them, including the guy. Alright, here we go. I heard the bell ding when they came in. Next thing I know, Liz came to get me to introduce me to them. They seemed kind, young and really scared, especially her.
Jim with Brady
Jim – Before I knew it, I was in the room alone with ‘B.’ After the normal pleasantries, I told him it is really great that he came in to support his girlfriend. I recounted that many guys will just run away when this happens and that it speaks loudly about what kind of guy he is that he is here.
I asked him, “What direction are you both leaning with your pregnancy?” “Oh, we’re about 90% sure we will are going to have the baby, but not sure if we’ll keep it or do an adoption.” “So you
guys have talked it over quite a bit then, huh?” “Yea, it is all so new and we just found out but yea, we’re about 90% sure we’ll have it.” He appeared nervous but also bouncy, a good bouncy.
Then I asked, “Of all the emotions you are feeling right now, which is the loudest one?”
He acknowledged he was really nervous and a bit scared about things, but the biggest emotion was . . . “excitement.” I thought to myself, “Really?” Then I asked, “Tell me about your
excitement.” He went on to explain that even though he is scared, he is mostly excited because he has always wanted a family and is excited that it has now started. Wow, I wasn’t expecting
that. So I reflected back to him that it is clear he cares deeply about his girl and really seems committed to her and loves her. He shrugged and with a grin said, “yea, I really do.”
They hadn’t heard each other yet
Jim – Liz came in after a good conversation with “B’ and escorted him into the medical room for the ultrasound with his girlfriend ‘S’. After a while, Liz left the couple in the medical room and came back to debrief me. She appeared quite concerned and said the girl mentioned repeatedly that she didn’t know where “B’ was and didn’t know what he was thinking and feeling about the pregnancy and that she was really scared. Naturally this was a big surprise to me. I shared with Liz that ‘B’ said they were 90% sure they would carry. How could she not know how excited he was about her being pregnant?
I asked Liz to bring them back to the CA room so I could meet with them or maybe just pray with them.
Liz with Sarah
Liz– S was quiet during my visit with her. She offered short answers, often one or two-word responses, not much emotion. Her feelings hadn’t changed from the day before when she told the client advocate that she felt guilt and shame for her choices, having been raised in a Christian family, she knew sex before marriage wasn’t the best. After discussing pregnancy
and ultrasound, I asked her if she had any other questions. “I wanted to know if abortion will affect my future pregnancies? “ We talked about the possible physical complications and risks,
but I emphasized the emotional and relational complications as well. She nodded quietly.
She said she felt a “weight” on her shoulders because she knew her parents were going to be disappointed in her. I asked if she feels supported by her boyfriend of two years, and she said
“He told me it’s my decision and he doesn’t want his feelings to influence me”. She was clearly burdened by the choice she had to carry and agreed that it felt like “a lot to carry”.
Both with Liz
When B joined us for the ultrasound, he pulled up a chair and stayed close to his girlfriend who was still quiet and tentative. Before the ultrasound I showed them the Little Ones App which
depicts early development of the fetus in 3D with full explanations of what is happening week by week. I commented how Psalm 139 says we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that it amazes me how we all started out this small. She was too early in her pregnancy for the ultrasound to detect the baby’s heartbeat, but the time scanning provided me with time to compliment them both for their bravery in coming and to give B praise for being present to support her. He was eager and engaged, smiling and tender towards S. They agreed to return a couple of weeks later for another ultrasound.
Both with Jim
Jim – Boy was she scared, anxiety was oozing out of her. There did seem to be an invisible barrier between the two of them. I asked ‘S’ the same question I asked ‘B.’ She said the biggest emotion was “fear, but not all bad fear, some good fear too.” As we talked it through, it was clear that she didn’t know where ‘B’ was with the pregnancy. She was glancing at him quickly and nervously and not making eye contact. I asked ‘B’ if I could share with ‘S’ what his main emotion is or did they want to talk about it privately later. He said yes, let’s do it now. So I shared with ‘S’ that he is “excited” about the pregnancy.
She looked at him amazed with her mouth open and eyes wet staring at him and began to whimper. “I didn’t know how you were feeling about it,” she sobbed. He seemed surprised and
acknowledged that he didn’t want to influence her decision but also reminded her that they had talked about it and from what they shared together, he was left to believe they were 90%
sure they would carry.
I watched as they shared deeply back and forth several minutes and seemed to finally communicate their thoughts and feelings about the pregnancy. The invisible barrier was melted
away with tears of relief and understanding.
After appealing to their Christian beliefs, I asked if I could pray with them. They said “yea” eagerly. After prayer, I spent time affirming their pregnancy and doting on ‘B’ for showing up
and standing by her. Fear was lifting like a fog and the light of hope was settling back in . . . Just show up and see what God will do.