I’ve told myself I need to start stories differently; I always begin with a client on the phone, or how she sounded, but that’s how the story starts for me! I have a picture in my head of the first time I saw her face, or the way she sounded on the phone. Most of the time the voice on the phone will be described just like all the other women, but in my head, each voice is distinct. They may all be shaking and scared, high pitched and nervous, but in my memories, I know each voice, and pair the voice with a face, and a story.
She was so sweet. She was older than some of our other clients, but seemed so young. She already had an abortion scheduled for Saturday, but she wanted an ultrasound. She said she hoped seeing the baby would convince her to change her mind!
Her first pregnancy was in early high school, and she followed up with a second baby right away. She thought she’d be with that same boy forever, but as she graduated high school and found a job, she noticed he still wanted to do nothing all day, just play with the babies. He didn’t want to work, or go to school, or even really take care of the kids, he just liked playing with them.
She realized he wasn’t a dependable partner, and decided to end that relationship. He’s still around to play with the kids, but she lost all respect for him. While pursuing a career path, she found a new love interest – one she does respect. He has a plan for his life and is very close to finishing school. But they’d only known each other for a few months before she conceived!
Jamila was worried – she had a perfect vision of her life – one man, her husband, and their children. Good jobs, so they can support their family and live independently. No complicated relationship with other men who are parents to her children. No struggling to support a family with no father. What if this man isn’t the one? What if he turns out like the last father? What man will want to marry her if she has two men following around as fathers of her children?
Her concerns were valid. Her picture of the perfect family was perfect! She just had to make decisions that would enable her to have that kind of life. She shared that with her first child she never wanted abortion. Even though others told her it was the right decision, she thought her boyfriend was perfect, and she wanted to start a family with him. With her second child, there was even more pressure to abort, and she was even more determined to keep her baby.
She tried to picture what her life would have been today if she had aborted those two children. The vision made her shudder, and she knew she couldn’t abort! Her babies were so perfect, her job was able to support them all; she wasn’t even struggling. She couldn’t imagine life without them, and she didn’t want to think how she’d feel five years down the line, if she chose abortion this time. She knew she’d always wonder what that baby would be like, and even if her boyfriend didn’t support her, she’d choose her child above anything else.
After her first appointment, she didn’t know for certain that she’d cancel that abortion. We prayed hard, and when she returned for her ultrasound, we rejoiced! She hadn’t yet told anyone in her family, but she took her pictures home, and promised to call us back to share how those conversations go. Her hopes are high! She knows she can finish her preparation to ensure she’s on the right career path, and by the time the baby is due, she’ll have her job, her boyfriend will have finished school and begun his career, and they may even be able to get married and move in together! Whatever happens, she knows how to ensure her relationships are filled with respect, and she knows that her love for her children will get her through any struggles that come.