It was 11:30 last Friday night. My phone signaled me that a text had been received; I noted it was from Amy, my co-worker. She said she had just discovered that she was pregnant. I was not surprised, we’d been discussing the possibility at work earlier in the day.
So, yet another young life begins in the womb of a single mom. Though I don’t have an exact count, I think it’s safe to say that 80% of the women I work with are single moms, most never having been married.
It took me back to another crisis pregnancy, eighteen years ago.
I was the one fielding calls for the crisis pregnancy hot-line begun by a group of pro-life Christians in our community. Daily, calls would come in from folks who were in crisis pregnancies, or who knew someone who was, and needed to talk about it. I saw myself as one offering a way off the ledge before jumping into an abortion. I had access to people who could help, and offered whatever assistance we could, in support of sparing both mother and child the horrors of the knife. You see, I had friends and family who had procured an abortion, so abortion had a face. By their own admission and almost from day one, each of those individuals saw abortion as the worst decision they had ever made. The most heart-breaking calls came from friends and family members of women who had had an abortion and were now grief-stricken or concerned with the changes they began to see in the formerly pregnant woman’s life.
But back to our story: One Tuesday morning, a young lady called. Her name was Collette, and she was just now grappling with being pregnant with her second child. The first, a little girl who was now two, was all she could handle. Besides, “…the pregnancy baby’s daddy was smart, he was a law student and he would know how to get custody after the baby was born. Didn’t I know that there was no help for single moms? Didn’t I realize that no one cared?” But our very conversation put the lie to that. I made my best case for life, requesting she spare the little one. I told her that there were people available to help and she was not going through this alone. This crisis would end.
Though I don’t remember many more of the particulars, I do remember that we talked for a long time, since she related much information about her life and family. I sensed her trust, and by the end of the conversation, I promised her she’d inspired me to start a support group for single moms. We could meet at my church on Sunday nights. Since I’d done some graduate work in Counseling and had experience starting and supervising a support group I would be happy to serve as facilitator/leader.
But she wasn’t sure. Every Thursday, a clinic in a neighboring city provided transportation to their site for an abortion ; she wasn’t sure she wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity…. I told her that whatever she decided, I was still going to start the group (I did) and that if she needed to talk, I was available. It occurred to me over the course of the conversation that she was not looking for a reason to avoid aborting the child, as much as she was looking for an excuse to do it anyway. Before saying goodbye that day, I made one more plea, and then left her and the baby in God’s hands.
Early Friday morning, the phone rang. I answered it, only to be met with absolute silence on the other end. I knew who it was, and waited. Then I said, “Collette, you got the abortion”. Then she sobbed. The baby now gone from her womb, was part of our lives, and the lives of her children, forever. You see, she soon deliberately became pregnant again, by the same guy. When I confronted her about it, she told me that if she got pregnant during the time she would have been expecting the aborted child, that meant that God intended she MUST have aborted the first one, because if she had not, the new baby couldn’t be born. I saw all this coming, as soon as I realized she was trying to re-establish contact with the man and so immediately addressed the issue….but she did it anyway. Thus I saw my first “grief pregnancy”. Over time I have discovered that this is quite common, though most women don’t move as quickly as did Collette to “fill in the hole”.
And the Single Moms’ Group? She came to the group, spent many days and hours with my family, we kept track of each others’ lives for a long time, but when my husband’s career move us elsewhere, we lost touch.
Then one day last week I thought about her, and decided to see if she was on Facebook. She is. I sent her a brief note, telling her I hoped she was well, that I thought of her and the other women quite often. I briefly caught her up on our family , but have not heard back. She too has moved, and married. Perhaps the thing that brought us together in the first place is not the place from which she wants to pick up and proceed.
So are the fractured moments. So is the myth of closure. A pregnancy though life-altering and stressful, lasts nine months, and results in a certain number of years committed to either raising a child or in allowing someone else to raise a child. But an abortion? An abortion lasts forever.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1