Unplanned Pregnancy and Your Choice – What You Need to Know
Unplanned Pregnancy and Your Chocie

Choice. It’s the key word in this giant debate that we have. When it comes to an unplanned pregnancy, the choice should be up to the woman.

And we agree with that – the your choice should never be forced upon you. But we also think that each woman should know all of her options – and the good and bad of each of those options – before she makes her choice.

This amazing lady has willingly given us permission to share her story so that others can realize there is hope in the midst of a difficult situation. All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. The stories that are shared come from the real-life experiences that our clients, staff and volunteers had during their unplanned pregnancy.

One big decision in six little words
“We’d like to schedule an abortion.” Six words that changed my life forever. These were not words that I said, although it was my child whose life was ended. These were not words from my parents or even the child’s father… 

I was 17 and in love. I had a “pre-engagement” ring and was going on a day trip to meet my boyfriend’s parents and see his new apartment. It was nowhere on my radar that we would be having sex for the first (and only) time that afternoon… but that’s the direction that “seeing his apartment” took. On the way home I felt happy because now I knew that he really did love me! Except he didn’t. I never heard from him again.  

It didn’t cross my mind that I could be pregnant until a couple months went by and I realized that I hadn’t had a period. It couldn’t be. But, if it was, I had to solve this problem without my parent’s help (they would kill me) or the father’s help (he had gotten back together with an old girlfriend and never knew I was pregnant). I told a co-worker about my worry and he said he knew someplace we could go for help. He drove me to the clinic where they gave me a pregnancy test. When they said it was positive, my friend said those awful words – “We’d like to schedule an abortion.”  

That was it. No discussion. Problem would soon be solved.  

Appointment made. Appointment kept. Problem solved. Except it wasn’t.  

In Retrospect – Blessing or Regret?
As I approach yet another anniversary of that day, I know things now that the scared 17-year-old “me” didn’t. 

I know that my parents would not have killed me; whatever their reaction, I could have survived. I know now that my Mom had become pregnant at 19 herself – the baby was adopted, and I have a wonderful half-sister that I met 13 years ago. Blessing #1.

I know that abortion can cause infertility. How do I know? It happened to me. My baby, “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” was NEVER to happen again. Ever. Regret #1.

I know that my baby could have been the biggest blessing ever experienced in the lives of a married couple who weren’t able to conceive. My baby would have been an answer to prayer. How do I know? It happened to me. After years of infertility my husband and I did foster care and were soon told that a baby girl had been born who needed a “forever family.” We were able to give their baby a chance. Blessing #2.

That beautiful baby girl is now in nursing school and is the sunshine of my life along with her (also adopted) brother. Yes, my baby too could have been some couple’s biggest blessing; he just never had that chance. Regret #2.

If you are facing the scary situation of being pregnant, learn from my experience – give your baby a chance.  Please.

The three choices you have – to parent, to abort or to make an adoption plan – all have consequences; consider them carefully and don’t let anyone else make that decision for you because you will have to live with it forever.

Blessing or regret. It’s your choice.

Here at Advice and Aid Pregnancy Centers, we will never force you to make a choice you don’t want to make – we will only offer you the facts, love, and support you need. Making a decision this big is scary, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Come find hope, healing, and empowerment here by setting up an appointment – it just might be the biggest blessing you ever experience!

Which Lives Matter? {Part 2}

The following is a continuation of the thoughts on life that were shared with us by a physician. (See previous blog) Through both his professional and his personal life, he has a unique view of life.

In a day where we talk much about lives mattering, his words should shake us to our core. Do ALL lives truly matter to us?

My experience in training
While in my medical training as a resident in pathology, we were required to examine  everything that came out of the operating room. This included breast biopsies or mastectomies, brain biopsies, colectomies, thoracotomies and even little tiny babies. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, tiny little babies were sent down to the lab not from labor and delivery, where they should have been, but from the abortionist’s suite on the 4th floor. They were not wrapped in little pink or blue blankets but rather in plastic buckets filled with their own blood and formalin. They were in multiple torn pieces: an arm, a leg, a spinal cord, internal organs like livers and spleens each torn asunder, separated and divided violently by the abortionists tools of torture and death. They died a silent death with no one to protect them. They screamed but no one listened – or cared, for that matter. They were torn asunder and no one paid attention or gave their death a  thought. And there I was, as a part of my residency, documenting their suffering and death. I would record and measure a femur at 2 cm or a skull that had a circumference of 3 cm when the pieces were reconstructed, and on and on it went Tuesday and Thursday, week after week, for four years. Each week the dread would start in on Monday morning because I knew what would come on Tuesday afternoon. First I tried to get out of the service, but then realized that one of my colleagues would just have to do the work. Then I sought to stop the procedures from being performed but quickly found out how powerless I was against departmental and hospital policies and the large amount of revenue tied to these procedures. Finally I resolved in my heart and brain to carefully and respectfully go about my work seeking to impart whatever dignity I possibly could to this now lost little life created by God, our Father in His very own image. Maybe by gently and respectfully cradling this little body, whose life was so violently ended, there could be some good, some redemption, some blessing knowing that this life may well already be with her loving Father in heaven.

At times I  must admit I felt like a United Nations peace observer in a massacre site; unable to do anything constructive to prevent death, I was left to only observe the horror and take down the victims names. I was simply a witness to their unspeakable suffering and dark, lonely death. If these acts had been done to these babies after birth, the perpetrators would have been  arrested and tried for murder. But, in the twisted logic of our current legal construct, this death was not murder at all but rather the result of some vague “right” of the mother. These memories  haunt me still; little ones torn asunder with no defender and no protector; alone in silence their screams unheeded and unheard. These little ones inside their mothers are uniquely vulnerable. They cannot protect themselves and are completely reliant  on their mothers for all things. This should be the safest place on earth, but it is not. Western culture has decided instead that it is a woman’s right to end her child’s life if it conflicts with her life. It was Mother Theresa who said famously “[I]t is a great poverty that in order for one to live life as they wish another must die”. 

In the end, I really did nothing, nothing at all to help them, to protect them, to comfort them or even hear them. I simply held them, measured them and cried silently, as a witness to their suffering. I am so very sorry for this. I have often thought in the intervening years of the quote that has been attributed to Edmund Burke: “All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” I am afraid that, in the end for these precious little babies, I did perhaps only the slightest bit more than nothing.  

Discovering help and hope
But the story does not end here, thank God. In these few last few years, my wife and I, as well as our family, have become acquainted with some real everyday heroes in a story badly in need of heroes. Real heroes are those among us who are just like us, but they step up and do the right thing even when it hurts and is inconvenient or painful – when it requires sacrifice. You see, thankfully God did not leave me alone in my sadness and failure to act. He has opened my eyes and “put a new song in my heart.” (Psalm 40:3).  A few years ago a dear friend introduced us to the Advice and Aid Pregnancy Center. Here for the first time I saw the healing love of Jesus in humble service to pregnant ladies who neither planned for or wanted a pregnancy. At Advice and Aid, Ruth and her team of servants love and care for ladies (and men) who are at this challenging and fearful juncture in their lives. They unconditionally love, listen to, and support each woman’s decision. These are the real heroes in my eyes, for they are not accepting this evil, but stepping into the breach on behalf of these frightened moms and helpless, defenseless little ones. But let me say that there are even more heroes – the mommies and daddies who reject the narrative that they have no choice, no option but to abort their baby. They choose life over death, and hope over fear. I have seen with my own eyes these beautiful little ones growing up strong and vibrant and healthy under the care of these courageous mommies and daddies. Some of these children are raised by their biological mom and/or dad, others are raised by  adoptive parents. Regardless, each precious child is given the opportunity to live, run, jump, and play. They may be the future doctors who care for us, the teachers of our children or grandchildren, the policemen who protect us, or friends who visit us. So you see, God did not leave me alone in my failure and grief from so many years ago. He has saved me to Himself and, in the process, restored my hope in the beauty of courage and life itself.

The truth
So as we continue this debate in our culture, let us be clear about a few things. Abortion is not “safe.” It is a deep, deep evil leaving one precious little life violently ended and another, her mother, deeply wounded. Abortion is also not rare with 1.1 million lives violently ended each year. Let us declare loudly and freely that every life matters!

Each life is uniquely valuable not because of what they do or accomplish but because they are uniquely created by God in His image. Each life is also a unique image bearer of God Himself and when a tiny one perishes, a tiny part of that image goes away along with that life. It was Mother Theresa again who said, “Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers.” We cannot have too many flowers, neither can we have too many children, for each bears the very image and joy of God. The psalmist said, “Behold children are a gift of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior so are the children of ones youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” (Psalm 127:3-5) Where does value come from? Our value comes from God himself. We each have unique value because He, our loving Father, has given that to us.   

The choice is yours
Each of us has a choice to make today. Will we stand with life and its God-given, God-ordained value or will we choose death? The choice is as simple as that; it is not complicated. (In our culture we may argue over rights; in the United States we talk all the time about rights – the right to work, the right to speak, the right to bear arms, etc. We also speak about the right to life, or the right to our bodies. What exactly does the right to life entail? Do we or do we not have a unique right to life?) For this moment, we must simply choose life or death. Joshua, at the end of his life on earth put it this way: “Choose today whom you will serve…But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) The choice is ours today – let us not shrink back in fear or intimidation, rather let us step into the battle for life and its defense. In choosing life over death, we not only declare that all lives matter – we equally declare that every life is indeed a unique creation of God that declares His glory. Amen.

Note: Since 1973, approximately  54 million unborn children have lost their lives through abortion in America. One organization in particular (which resides directly across the parking lot from Advice & Aid Overland Park), has led the way (approximately 1/3rd) with tax payer support. 

We would all say loudly, “All lives matter.” And we believe it. But do we act on it?

The doctor who wrote this has been intimately, profoundly impacted forever by the violence and horror of abortion. He has taken than experience and turned it into action, become the hands and feet of Jesus to the men, woman and babies who need it most.

What about you? Is there something you could do to back up your claims of all lives mattering?  Perhaps its a donation to help keep the doors open. Perhaps its volunteering in one of the many positions that Advice & Aid needs filled. Perhaps its in committing to pray daily for the men and women who are working to reach the hurting among us.

How can you show that all lives –
even those of the unborn and
their frightened, hurting mothers
(and sometimes fathers) –
really, truly matter?




{Carly’s Story} Abortion Was MY Choice, & It Was The Wrong Choice!
Abortion Was MY Choice

Having an abortion after an unplanned pregnancy is never an easy choice. But all too often, it seems like the only choice.

Carly* has willingly given us permission to share her story so that others can realize there is hope in the midst of a difficult situation. All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. Her abortion story is difficult to read, and reflects the hurt and lifelong damage that an abortion can cause. 

*Her name has been removed but her story is true.

I recently passed the 30th anniversary of my abortion. It’s strange to think that had circumstances been different I’d have a 30-year-old child celebrating their birthday somewhere around now. It’s harder to believe that I’m old enough for that to be a fact or that my story would be relevant to you.

Pregnant & Feeling There Were No Options
I was 18 years old and in a relationship that I thought would never end. I really had no doubts until I moved in with my boyfriend. Sure the sex was good, but everything else was less than ideal. So when I came up pregnant, I’m not sure what I expected. He was anything but supportive. Abortion wasn’t my first choice. In fact I thought he would consider making the relationship more permanent. Instead he took me to his parent’s house where they all insisted that abortion was the best option. In hindsight, I’d ask, “best for who?”

Abortion was easily accessible in 1987. The abortion clinic that everyone is familiar with was the obvious choice as they kind of cornered the market. The law stated I needed a consultation appointment before the actual abortion. So I went. The individual that did the consultation confirmed my pregnancy with a pregnancy test and then calculated the estimated gestation. They told me 12 weeks – which was the last week that the abortion could legally be done in that center. Strangely, I had to sign a waiver that agreed with what they told me, as if I would know anything.

The consultant then took me to a room with a desk and vaguely described the abortion procedure, asking me about my preferences for pain relief and recovery, making sure I knew to bring someone with me to drive me home. Then, as if checking off a list, they asked me rather half heartedly if I really wanted to have the abortion. I swallowed hard and said, “No,” because the truth was, I didn’t really want it. I just didn’t feel like I had a choice. In fact everyone around me thought the abortion was the only choice and the more I talked to others the less I trusted myself. To this day I can still remember what happened next. The consultant tore off the corner of one of the forms that I had signed and wrote a phone number on it. She kind of shoved it towards me on the desk and stated in a flatly, sarcastic tone, “Well, these people might help you, but I doubt it.” I still remember how the hope drained from my heart as she rolled her eyes at me.

A Horrific Experience
I never called the number. I showed up for the appointment, and took the abortion lying down, without pain reliever.  I made my baby’s father be in the room with me because this was his choice too. I was not prepared for the suction machine to sound like a shop vac or for the absolute torment of the dilators opening my cervix. By the time the suction actually got to the suction curettage, I was sure the worst was past, but it wasn’t. The inside of the uterus isn’t designed to be vacuumed. It hurt more than I care to remember and I definitely took pain reliever in the recovery area (a space similar to the school nurses office). There was no tolerance for expressing how much pain anyone was in. The empathy on this side of the abortion experience was even less than on the other side. No one really cared that my insides had been ripped out and my heart was breaking. After all, wasn’t that MY choice?

Looking Back on Years of Hurt & Regret
All these years later, I have lots of insight around why I decided not to fight for my child’s life and my own piece of mind. I wasn’t a victim in the purest sense of the word. But at that time, I didn’t realize how my own childhood sexual abuse played into my lack of ability to defend my child or myself. I can also see how the dysfunction of my family of origin left me alone and afraid to bring a child into the world. I don’t blame those circumstances, but I understand today how they played into being lured into what was sold as an easy solution.

Today, I don’t believe in any easy solutions. It was a false promise that traded one set of difficult circumstances and another set of equally difficult circumstances.

Abortion didn’t remove my troubles, it simply changed them.

After the abortion, my boyfriend dropped me off at a friend’s apartment and never spoke to me again. I was alone and had to find my way through life with a different kind of burden. Several years ago, I met a friend who had placed a child for adoption about the same time I had the abortion. She was connecting with her adult daughter and it occurred to me that she had pictures and connection. All was left with was regret.

It took me years to work through the regret. I learned how to connect with myself through counseling and reconnect with God through an abortion recovery Bible study. No one can go back and make a different decision; we can only make the best of the decisions we’ve been given. I can’t say that my life would be better had I not walked the journey of abortion, because it’s only speculation. Every path is hard. The life given is rarely regretful.

Abortion is never the only choice, even when it appears to be the simplest in the moment.

Carly eventually found healing and hope. But the years of regret and pain were difficult before she was able to begin to heal.

If you, like Carly, have gone through an abortion and are feeling the pain and regret, know that we are here for you. We have a wonderful Abortion Recovery program that offers hope for past regrets.

And if you are considering an abortion, it’s important that you understand all of the aspects involved. We know this is difficult. But we can offer options, help, hope and a friendship that will stay beside you for as long as you need us!

A Story of Learning, Loving, and Life

We asked a couple to share with us their journey and what they have learned through raising a child with disabilities. What follows are their thoughts and their story of learning and loving.

A resource for you
We would like to share a resource with you from Melissa Ohden that has impacted us.  When Melissa’s mother decided to get an abortion, she was at the same point in her pregnancy as we were when our twins were born.  Fortunately, Melissa survived the procedure and today is an outspoken advocate for the sanctity of all human life, especially those threatened by abortion.  For us, her story of surviving an abortion at the same gestational age as when our twins were born reaffirmed our understanding that all life is sacred and God given.  If you are not familiar with her you can check out her story here: melissaohden.com

Our story
As the parents of twins who were born over two months premature, each at just over 3 pounds, we have come to understand how many times in life things are placed in our path not by our choice, but by providence.  Shortly after our twins were born, one of them suffered an intracranial hemorrhage that would result in long-term medical complications for him. This would start our family down a path that we never planned on.  Since then, we have learned so much about raising a child with severe disabilities.

Why it was worth it
Throughout the past 15 years we have come to understand one thing without question:  The meaning of unconditional love.  This occurs for every parent, but raising a disabled child can sometimes involve daunting challenges that seem overwhelming.  Fortunately there are many community services and other parents available to help.

Raising children is undoubtedly very difficult but we should remember that all lives are worth living.  In our case we have learned so much from the glimpse of God’s wisdom in raising a disabled child through the joys and trials that come with that responsibility.  In closing, one Bible passage that really speaks to this is where Jesus came across a man blind from birth and was asked by his disciples “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Jesus answered that neither he nor his parents sinned, he was born that way so that God’s works might be made visible through him.

All children deserve to be born, so that we may see the works of God made visible through their lives.

Often the hardest things in life are  ones that shape us the most. These aren’t easy or pleasant,  but the result is well worth the trial!

We need others to walk with us through the hard times, though. We were not meant to walk the hard paths alone. Let us walk with you as you grow through the good times and the hard times.

{An Abortion Story} A Long Road from Despair to Hope
Abortion Story: from Despair to Hope

All it takes is one time
One of the biggest fears in my young adult life was getting pregnant. My three older sisters all got pregnant before they graduated from high school, and it was very hard on our family. It did not stop me from partying though, and as my high school friend and I traveled the country, we threw caution to the wind. We landed in California, where I became a bartender. I actually became known as one of the best ones on the Strip, so the partying became an “around-the-clock” schedule. I still wasn’t very sexually active, due to my fear of pregnancy, although my resistance was weakening with all of the drinking I was doing. “All it takes is one time,” they say. And that is all it took. I told no one but my friend – not even the father. Most everyone I hung out with would suggest abortion, as they felt it was a logical decision. One of my partying buddies had just had her third abortion, just under the 3 month deadline. She didn’t want to be pregnant for her upcoming wedding, and neither did her soon-to-be husband.

So I set the appointment in February. Dr. Porkorny and his nurse, Nancy, ended the life of my baby. That was over 42 years ago. There are few things I remember in detail that far back, but I remember so much of the specifics of that day. I remember the ceiling tiles and staring at them. I remember the sound. I remember feeling so empty and confused inside . . . immediately. I remember nurse Nancy coming to the side of my gurney and asking me if I would be ok. I answered her “Sure!” I’m a good faker. I remember my friend driving me home and just sitting there like a zombie. I remember thinking “If this is such a good thing, why do I feel so bad?”

Living in the Aftermath
So I continued my life . . . sort of. I drank a lot more. In fact, I was drinking so much that I just couldn’t deal with things, and my friend and I  quit our jobs and took off again. We had no destination, just headed east and thought we would stop when we ran out of gas and money. I was a mess. Now I thought that there had to be something wrong with me. Nobody else feels this way after an abortion. (Years later, I found out how false that thinking was!) We stopped in Houston and it wasn’t long before I was working in a bar again. I was waitressing, because I now just wasn’t good enough to even bartend.

It was there I met the man who I would soon move in with, and later marry. It was about a year and a half after my abortion. As our partying lifestyle continued, it was becoming quite clear how messed up we both were.  He drank more than I did! He also had undiagnosed PTSD from serving in Viet Nam. Soon, I found myself plummeting into a deep depression. I could barely function. I felt so empty. Again, I struggled with “What’s wrong with me?”

A True Life Change . . . and HOPE
Then I received a call from home, way up in Montana. My sister was at an alcohol treatment center in North Dakota. They were just informing me, but out of my mouth came, “I am coming up.” I remember thinking, “Where did that come from?” My husband was shocked too, and tried to discourage me. But somehow, I found the strength to hold my ground. It was there, during my sister’s family week, that the lights were coming on all over. It was there that I had an encounter with Jesus. It was there, laying in my nephew’s bed, looking up at ceiling tiles that looked painfully familiar, that I cried out to Jesus and he saved me. (I didn’t even know what that meant at the time.) I confessed my sins to my parents and asked them to forgive me and my mom said, “Of course we do, but Jesus forgave you 2,000 years ago!”

When I got back to Houston, I had something that I hadn’t had in year . . . HOPE! My husband did not want a wife that wouldn’t drink with him or that was a Christian, so after about 2 years (and 2 baby girls) filled with fear, my daughters and I left Houston while he was on a fishing trip. We ended up in Williston, North Dakota. And with the grace of God, and a lot of wonderful support through my church, my daughters and I were set on a healing path. Later, after a move to Kansas, I became director of Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers. What a gift! For 10 years, I was able to reach out to thousands of women, help them find a better option and tell those who had been where I had been that there was nothing “wrong” with them. Jesus could – and would – heal their wounds. God knew the plans He had for me and my girls, plans for a hope and a future!

If you have had an abortion – or are thinking about it – there may be emotions, pain and struggle that are hard to deal with on your own. That’s why we are here!

Every day, we talk to women in that very position. And they are finally given options, help . . . and the hope they need.

You can talk to us at any time. We are waiting for you.

A Second Chance

This young lady has willingly given us permission to share her story so that others can realize there is hope in the midst of a difficult situation. All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. The stories that are shared come from the real-life experiences that our clients, staff and volunteers had during their unplanned pregnancy.

Her name has been removed but her story is true.

Given a second chance
It’s strange to ponder how different my life would have looked if my parents never decided to adopt and it is even more crazy to wonder what the life of my biological mother would have looked like if she had chosen to abort me. My biological mother had many choices to make in 1996. She was a mother of four, had a dysfunctional relationship with my father, and I was not supposed to be in the picture. I can only imagine the confusion, fear, and uncertainty that she faced. And if I were sincere and stood in her shoes, it would be difficult for me to put aside my fears and societal pressures and make a choice. However, my mother chose life. She decided to give me the chance to use my voice, but most importantly she chose selflessness.

There simply are not enough words I could say to thank my biological mother for stepping outside her comfort zone, her plans, and ultimately her fears of having another child. She had a lot going on in her life and was involved in many difficult circumstances. The family she chose for me to be a part of I believe was beyond her wildest imagination. I believe she saw God’s grace and favor poured out on my adoptive family. I was given a chance at life, and there truly is not a day that goes by where I am not grateful to be where I am. I often wonder how I was so fortunate to be born into a home that prioritized the heart of the Father. I believe God created a beautiful space for me to grow up, under a roof that nurtured my future. I know adopting a baby is not for every family, but for the ones who feel the pull to open not just their doors, but their hearts, have an extraordinary calling. It’s not a fast, easy, and pain-free process. My adoptive parents are testimonies that life doesn’t always happen the way it’s supposed to. They tried multiple times to bring life into this world, but God was leading them to discover life through an unfamiliar and unpredictable source. I believe it was the heart of the perfect Father who implemented the desire to search out their future family in a broken, lost, and confused mother.

Hope and joy today
I believe God has a plan for all life and there is not one instance where I was not taken care of. Although it might sound odd to most people, I believe the process of almost being an abortion, but my mother instead choosing life for me, gave my life even more purpose. In this circumstance, I believe it was God’s love that overwhelmed my biological mom,  causing her to choose to push all odds aside. I know life after she left that doctor’s office was not a fun or pleasant walk, but she bore through it knowing somewhere inside she was giving birth to something much more than a child. She was giving birth to a child with vision, passion, and motivation to see other lives transformed. I don’t think she recognized that in 1996 and I don’t blame her.

It is hard to look past current circumstances, strongholds, and the lack of security.

But here I am today, 21 years old, and graduating college in the spring. I would not be here without the woman who decided to say “yes” to strangers and rested in hope and a God that takes death and transforms it into life.

I am so thankful.

If you, or someone you know, is facing an unplanned pregnancy, we want you to know that you are not alone as you make choices for both you and your baby. The idea of adoption can be overwhelming. We are here to help.

While Advice & Aid does not handle adoptions personally, we do partner with a number of licensed, fully trusted adoption agencies in our area. We can help you walk through the entire process with one of these recommended agencies so that you are not alone.

Start here – no judgment, no pressure at all. Just someone to talk to who has some truly helpful answers. Someone who wants whats best for you!

For more adoption stories from Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers, click here

Unexpected Pregnancy: Could We Handle It?

A couple has willingly giving us permission to share their story so that others can realize there is hope in the midst of a difficult situation. All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. The stories that are shared come from the real-life experiences that our clients, staff and volunteers had during their unplanned pregnancy.

Their names have been removed but their story is true.

A change in plans
My wife and I found out we were pregnant at the wrong time. I was going through my Junior year in engineering school. I had been making all the right decisions and everything in my life seemed under my control. Or so I thought.

I had grown up in a very stable household, with two loving parents, five brothers and four sisters. We went to church every week and ate every meal together after praying. My wife’s background was good but not as ideal. Her parents were divorced and both remarried. She had only one sister and one half-brother.

I really enjoyed being around the girl who would become my wife and I wasn’t as concerned about her past as I was confident in our future. A year after we met, I asked her to marry me and she agreed. About two months later, she thought she might be pregnant. We went to a pregnancy clinic since they had free pregnancy tests. The test turned out to be positive. We could not believe it, so we ran a second test and it was positive again.

Our plan had been to graduate, get married and then have children. A pregnancy now was not in the plan. We decided to move the wedding up to the upcoming May and we began wedding preparation. At this time in her life, my wife felt things were spinning out of control. Prior to this pregnancy, I felt things were very much under control, but this was a huge blow to that thought. I was so naive to think everything in my life would go just as I planned.

A very negative response
We announced our news to our parents very quickly. Two of my brothers had been in the same situation and had decided not to tell mom and dad until eventually they found out from someone else. I didn’t want it to be that way. So, we told all of our parents. Really, none of them took it well but at least it was done and out in the open. Later our families were supportive and now it is like it was always part of the plan. After telling our families, I announced it to my entire fraternity during a chapter meeting. I didn’t want a bunch of gossip. My fraternity was very supportive.

My wife had decided not to tell her whole sorority but did tell a few. Really it wasn’t a secret since I had told my entire fraternity. She was called into the sorority’s “standards board.” They berated her and told her she was an embarrassment to the sorority. She was asked to leave the house and asked not to wear her sorority’s Greek letters. They didn’t want people to associate her situation with the sorority. So basically, her support system of a sorority abandoned her. Her closest friends in the sorority were supportive but this was only a few girls. I was outraged by this and called a meeting with the sorority president and adult advisor. This really did no good but at least they knew how I felt and it gave them something to think about.

My wife moved in with her Grandparents. They were great to her as they had been throughout her life. And they were great to me. Of course, Grandma was a great cook and I used any excuse to visit as I enjoyed their company, the wonderful cooking and eventually she would even do my laundry!

Pregnant and feeling very alone
We were married in May and a few days later, we moved to Michigan where I had a summer job. This was the first time my wife had been away from home for any significant time. My job was a 45-minute drive from where we lived. Then they gave me a great opportunity to work in a different department. But this made my drive 1 ½ hours, each way. I would leave in the morning at 5am and return about 4:30pm. This would leave my wife in a strange place, pregnant, and alone all day. This was very hard on her. God was working though, and it turned out she had second cousins living nearby. Fortunately, they contacted us. They were wonderful to us and especially my wife. They invited us to dinner and other activities. They took my wife to her doctor appointments and showed us much love. They didn’t even seem to mind when she threw up all over their car. This time was good for us to grow together and develop our own independence. If we had a disagreement, we had no choice but to work it out as our families were a ten-hour drive away.

After the summer was over, we moved back to Rolla, MO. I needed to finish my last semester in college, to graduate in December. My daughter was born in September. She was a wonderful baby, but we didn’t know what we were doing. Our lives changed drastically as all new parents find out. Luckily my wife’s grandparents lived close and were very helpful, teaching us how to care for a baby. I graduated, got an engineering job and our lives started. As an ironic turn of events, we later had fertility problems with our next two children.

…And now
That was over 20 years ago. Now my daughter is grown and married with one child, our GRANDSON! She graduated college with an engineering degree and her family is well on their way. Our decision to keep our daughter was hard but never in doubt. We did not seriously consider any other options but to keep her and raise her.

This pregnancy was not in our plan for our lives,
but sometimes the best things are that way.

Sometimes life throws us a curve-ball and may cause us to change our plans. Change can be scary and lonely but it doesn’t have to be – having someone walk beside you through the change can bring confidence, peace, and even joy!

That’s what we are here for. When life turns out different than you planned, we are here to provide comfort, stability, and a listening ear. We will walk with you through the unplanned and be by your side every step of the way.

{Jessica’s Abortion Story} Answers, Forgiveness & Relief

Jessica is willingly giving us permission to share her story so that others can realize there is hope in the midst of a difficult situation. All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. The stories that are shared come from the real-life experiences that our clients, staff and volunteers had during their unplanned pregnancy.

Her name has been changed but her story is true.

Unexpectedly pregnant before 15
I will never forget the day shortly before my fifteenth birthday that my dad drove me home from church. It was just the two of us. He began the conversation. “Do you know why your mother didn’t go to church this morning?” “No,” I answered. “She is sick with worry. She thinks that you might be pregnant.”  I could feel the blood drain from my face and fear begin to rise. These sentences began a series of conversation in my home that would change the rest of my life.

I had been dating my boyfriend for two years at this time. Was I too young to be in such a serious relationship? Of course. However, after being together for so long we had eventually crossed the line into a sexual relationship. The thought had entered my mind that I may be pregnant as I had missed my period and was not feeling well in the mornings, but I had not seriously thought about it until my dad confronted me. “Could you be pregnant?” he asked. “Yes, I could,” I answered.

The following week was filled with conversations with my parents, my boyfriend and his mother, and a trip to a local clinic for a pregnancy test. The test was positive. I was pregnant.

I can remember sitting at the kitchen table with my parents. They were furious. “You are not going to ruin this family!” my dad yelled. My boyfriend and I had talked about it. We wanted to get married and raise our child. I was 14 and he was 17. This was out of the question. My parents gave me two options. I could have an abortion or go to another state, to a home for unwed mothers, have the baby and give it up for adoption. I could not bear the thought, at age 14, of going away from my family and my boyfriend for such a long time and going through all of this alone. I chose abortion.

At the clinic
It was a hot July day that we drove the 2 hours to the clinic that would perform the abortion. After my parents checked me in, I was on my own. They put me a room with several other women. A woman who worked for the clinic put us in a circle and we had a “counseling” session. The women all shared why they were there. I remember the college student who was not ready for a child and the married woman who had been involved in an affair and was pregnant with the “other man’s” child. We all had a different story, but we were all there for the same reason. To end it.

After the “counseling” they took us to another room and gave us a pill to calm us. Then we waited. One by one we were called into the surgical area for our procedures. Then it was my turn. After a quick exam, the doctor declared that I was 7 weeks and then he started the procedure. There was no anesthesia. It was horrifically painful. The nurse that was assisting tried to distract me by asking me questions about school, but I was in too much pain to be distracted. I could feel scraping and suction, more scraping and suction…and then it was over. After a short recovery period, I was released to my parents. I was in so much pain that I could barely walk to the car. I got in the back seat alone.

I have always tried to remember how I felt emotionally at this point but have never been able to. I asked my mom once how I acted right after the procedure and she told me that I was expressionless…that I just sat and stared out the car window.

The aftermath and years following
After this experience, my life completely fell apart. I didn’t want to have anything to do with God or church. I started smoking, drinking, and doing drugs. My boyfriend and I stayed together for a while but eventually broke up. I became very promiscuous and I just did not care about anything. I almost did not finish high school but somehow managed to pull it together enough to graduate.

I met Tom while working at a local fast food restaurant. We fell in love and he asked me to marry him. I said yes. Tom and I had both been raised in the church and although neither of us had been living like it, we wanted to raise our family in church. We started attending my home church and both of us got our lives right with God. Fourteen months after we said, “I do”, our first baby was born. A beautiful little girl. I did not know that you could feel so much love for such a tiny little person. It was then that I realized what I had done at age 14. The remorse and guilt began to plague me.

We had two more children, a little boy and then another baby girl. With each pregnancy and birth, the weight of grief, guilt, and shame grew. After our third child, we made the decision that my husband would have a procedure to prevent any additional children. After he had it, all I could think about was about all of the babies that would not be born because of it. I was inconsolable. The grief, shame, and guilt over my abortion completely took over. There were many times that I wanted to end my life, but I knew that I could not because my three children needed me.

My husband was very supportive throughout this struggle, but he really did not understand what I was going through. I tried to talk to people… my parents, my pastor, close friends, but everyone just said, “It’s all in the past. God has forgiven you. Just move on.” I could not. I tried to explain it to my husband. “Imagine,” I said, “that one of our children was hit by a car and was killed. Now, imagine that you pushed them in front of the car on purpose.” This was how I felt about it. All I could see in my mind was a tiny, lifeless baby in my hands and it was my fault. There was nothing I could do.

Hope and healing
I eventually went to counseling on the recommendation of my pastor. I had always felt that I did not deserve to grieve as I had caused the harm. It was in counseling that someone finally gave me permission to grieve. I cried for 4 months. Although I was finally able to grieve my loss, the overwhelming guilt and shame hung over me like an oppressive cloud. I still had that mental picture of me holding my lifeless baby. I begged God for relief. One day I was doing housework and I felt that the Lord wanted me to pray. As I knelt to pray, all I could see was my lifeless baby in my hands. I felt such shame kneeling before God. And then, it was almost like I audibly heard Him say, “Give it to me.” What? “No God, this is my mess, I can’t give it to You.” “Give it to Me,” He repeated. I could see, in my mind, His hands reaching down to take my lifeless baby. I reluctantly put my baby in His hands. Instantly, my baby was alive and whole! I felt Him say in my spirit, “You cannot destroy what I have created. Your baby is alive and whole with Me in Heaven.” Joy and relief flooded through me as I realized that God was holding this precious baby and there was nothing that could destroy it! The guilt and shame left me that day.

After this experience, I found a support group for women who have had abortions. I discovered that there is a second victim of abortion…the mom. Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome is a very real thing that many women who have had abortions suffer. It was through the support group that I learned how abortion affected me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It helped me to understand why I acted as I did after my abortion and why the guilt and shame was so heavy. Although, at the time, I felt alone in my suffering, I found that I am not alone. Millions of women are suffering the same grief, shame, and guilt that I did. There are answers. There is forgiveness. There is relief.

If you have had an abortion – or are thinking about it – there may be emotions, pain and struggle that are hard to deal with on your own. That’s why we are here!

Every day, we talk to women in that very position. And they are finally given options, help . . . and the hope they need.

You don’t have to do this alone. You can talk to us at any time. We are waiting for you.

Mary And The Story Of Hope
Mary and the story of hope

During the holidays, the story of the nativity can be heard over and over. Many churches conduct some kind of a service where the story of Mary, Joseph and their newborn son is told, complete with angels, shepherds, wise men and the occasional barn animal. It is a beautiful story of hope and forgiveness, and one that we should never tire of hearing. But there is one character in this two thousand year old story that is most intriguing. . . Mary.

Mary was, most likely, a very young girl – perhaps even as young as 14. She was engaged to Joseph in a Jewish tradition called a betrothal. During this time, while they were not yet married, they were just about as close to being married as two people could get. All that was yet-to-come was the ceremony. And the wedding night. As was customary during her time, Mary was a virgin. In fact, if Joseph believed her to not still be a virgin, he could “divorce” her before they were even married. But that had never crossed either of their minds. They were engaged, and looking forward to the rest of their lives together. Mary had her young life planned out, and it would be a life of fulfillment and happiness with Joseph.

And that’s when Mary’s plans came crashing down around her with unexpected – and certainly unplanned – news of a pregnancy. We can only guess as to the thoughts that ran through her mind. What would her parents think? Would Joseph be supportive at all? Would their life-long family friends turn their backs in disgust at her shame? It was certainly a lot to put on the shoulders of a young girl.

Sound familiar? If you find yourself during this holiday season with unexpected – and unplanned – news of a pregnancy, you very likely are going through some of the same fearful thoughts and worried heart that Mary experienced so long ago. But you know what? Mary didn’t have to face her news alone. And neither do you. You are the very reason that Advice & Aid exists. We don’t want you to be alone during this time, trying to sort through emotions and options without a friend in which to confide.

After all, the ageless Christmas story is one in which hope – and help when it’s needed most – is found. So if you see yourself in the young, frightened girl who never expected to find herself pregnant, and whose plans were suddenly changed, know that your story is being written now, just as hers was back then. And just as Mary, your story could have a beautiful ending as well.

If we can help you in any way this season, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can be reached several ways:
Website: www.AdviceAndAid.com
Online Scheduling: Scheduling
Hotline: 913.962.0200

How My Abortion Impacted My Relationship With My Mother
How My Abortion Impacted My Relationship With My Mother

The following story was shared with Advice & Aid by a friend who had an abortion. This single act had a tremendous – and unexpected – impact for over 40 years on her relationship with her mother.

All client experiences with Advice & Aid Pregnancy Centers are kept with the highest confidence. The writer of this story has willingly  given us permission to share her story with our readers.

 “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long
in the land the LORD, your God is giving you.”  ~
Exodus 20:12

Born on June 24, 1934, my mother entered this world as an only child of Fred & Florence.  The country was in the throes of the Great Depression, but my mother’s parents lived comfortably on their combined salaries. They helped family members who were less fortunate during this time. Fred was a Sales Regional Manager with the American Can Company and Florence worked for the government in the Defense Department.  Within two years Fred, Florence and Nancy would travel to from Milwaukee to Kansas City to establish their home.

My sister and I are the recipients of the heritage left by our grandparents and parents.  My mother, Nancy, married my father, Nick, in August 1956 and I was born two years later in 1958. As our mother faces the remaining months of her life, I seek to share my heritage in an effort to honor this woman who gave birth to me, her eldest daughter.

For most of my adult years I struggled to have an authentic relationship with my mother.  Nancy was kind, very generous and had a full heart for serving without notoriety.  On the flip side, she was insecure and lived in fear of making others angry and was deeply involved (too much so) with her family’s lives.  Her mother, Florence, was a strict, critical and demanding mother, albeit one who loved her family deeply.  Nancy loved her mother, but was really much closer to her father, Fred.   Fred was full of life and often the “life of the party,” whereas Florence was the “hostess with the most.”  Nancy was a mixture of both her parents.

My mother and I began the distance-dance when I turned fifteen.  The center of my world no longer revolved around my family, but was firmly rooted in school friend’s circles.  As an adult, I realize now how difficult it is to begin stepping away as your children learn to fly into the semi-adult worlds of junior & high school.  Then our worlds imploded with one unexpected bomb … at sixteen, I became pregnant.

The decision to have an abortion was one decision that irrevocably changed our family dynamics for the worse My father signed the papers permitting the abortion and my mother drove me for the procedure.  My father expressed no remorse for the actual abortion, itself, for the duration of his life, but my mother experienced deep grief, remorse and guilt over her part as the mother-of-the-pregnant-teenager.  Our family would not talk about this event for many, many years.  Only upon his deathbed did Nick share that he felt badly about my pregnancy, but believed that life truly begins with the newborn’s first breath. Nancy wasn’t quite so sure.

Nancy has now lived 42 years beyond that tragic year.  In the last twelve years we have talked honestly and explored both of our hearts together.  We both deeply regret the decision to abort this tiny baby, and the healing of our mother-daughter relationship developed slowly for both of us.

For the past ten years, Nancy has lived, at first, under my roof, and now, in an assisted living/nursing care facility.  My sister supports me as I support our mother.  Nancy clings to life because she is fearful of dying ~ this I have heard her say aloud.

Recently I studied with Stella, a hospice chaplain who specifically helps others move through the grief process.  My heart aches for my mother because understanding and true forgiveness came late in our lives. We wasted so much time not talking about the wedge that drove us apart.  I have learned much about my mother and myself through this study on grief.  Nancy lived life the best that she knew how.  Given the circumstances and the times, we plodded through life loving one another, yet living with some emotional distance which frustrated both of us.  After the “event,” Nancy became super-involved with working at Sprint and building upon her female friendships.  I was busy raising three children including one special son.  My mother and I were unable to bridge the emotional gap between us.

No longer guarded with one another, I can now truly embrace the woman who grew-up in the shadow of a dominant Mother.  Nancy wrestles with severe dementia and can no longer impart wisdom.  But she can listen and whisper, “I love you so much.”

God has whispered to my soul, “Love your mother, unconditionally, as I have loved you.”  and so I have.  My prayers are for my mother to experience true joy and peace as she wrestles through the remaining months of her life.

Since learning and understanding the depths of my mother’s love for me, I have come to a state of forgiveness both for her part in my decision, but mostly, for myself for blaming Mom for my decision.

In conclusion, I leave you with these “Six Practical Ways to Honor Your Parents” …

1.  Forgive them.
2.  Speak well of them.
3.  Esteem them publicly and privately.
4.  Seek their wisdom.
5.  Support them.
6.  Provide for them.

Author:  Tim Challies, blogger, author and book reviewer

If you are interested in reading other stories like this, visit these links:
Nicole’s Story
Kelly’s Story

If you have had an abortion – or are thinking about it – there may be emotions, pain, struggle and impact on relationships that are hard to deal with on your own. That’s why we are here!

Every day, we talk to women in that very position. And they are finally given the help  and the hope they are looking for.

You can talk to us at any time. We are waiting for you.