Sharleen is a mother of three, with very little friend or family support. She had just begun a new job and then discovered she was pregnant. She came to CompassCare the other day to get it confirmed. Sharleen told her nurse, Kathy, that she was in denial, not wanting to face the reality that she was pregnant again. Overwhelmed and confused, the only thing that made any sense to her, given the present circumstances, was to pursue an abortion.
CompassCare has often seen mothers of two or three children who, unfortunately, are at-risk for abortion because they feel like they have reached the financial and socially acceptable limit. Sharleen agreed to have an ultrasound and further discuss her options once it was determined how far along she was. Her baby was larger and more active than she had anticipated and Sharleen was distressed to learn that she was actually 5½ months pregnant. Obtaining an abortion at this gestational age is much more difficult and Sharleen hung her head in despair.
“What makes the idea of being pregnant right now so difficult for you?” Kathy asked. “It’s just the worst possible time. I have no support and I just began a job yesterday,” Sharleen explained. Kathy nodded, understanding that the pressures she feels are very real. She went on to ask another important question. “Why is [abortion] such a difficult decision for you? What’s pulling you in the other direction? In other words, why do you NOT want to have an abortion?”
Sharleen had not anticipated the question and hesitated before she responded. But she felt safe enough to share honestly. “Well…that’s a baby. That’s my baby. I know that abortion is killing my baby.” “I see.” Kathy replied, “That’s a very difficult but honest response. No wonder you’re in such turmoil.” Kathy went on to try and help Sharleen clarify the tension she is expressing between getting an abortion and carrying to term. Sharleen nodded her head vigorously in agreement when Kathy stated. “The way forward is to determine which decision holds the most weight or significance.”
But still Sharleen could not see past her circumstances, “I really feel like the best and wisest thing to do is to have an abortion. I’m already struggling. I can’t see bringing another child into the mix when I can barely take care of the ones I have.” They talked a bit about adoption as a viable option, but as is true with many women, Sharleen could not imagine placing her baby with adoptive parents. Near the close of the appointment, Kathy asked Sharleen if she had faith in God and if she believes everything happens for a reason. Sharleen confessed that she has prayed about the situation and then she hung her head again and mumbled, “I think [God’s] saying that this baby has a purpose and needs to live.”
These are powerful words from a young woman who has tried hard to ignore her conscience. Kathy nodded and added, “Sharleen, the thing that I’ve come to understand about God is that He never asks us to do something all by ourselves. He promises that if we obey Him, He will take care of our needs along the way. Can you believe that?” With tears her in eyes she quietly said, “Yes.” Kathy and Sharleen bowed their heads and prayed for God’s guidance and help during these coming months.
Before leaving, Sharleen agreed to be contacted by a MotherCare team member from a local church for further support and mentoring.