"Please don't contact me for 3 days," I said.
The hurt on his face was obvious. "Why?" he pleaded.
"Because I have a lot to think about and I can't do it if you're emotionally in the middle of my thoughts. You have a lot to think about too and you can't do it if I'm in the middle of the questions that you need answers to." I saw the further sting of hurt on his face. "I'll call you in a few days," I said as I closed the door.
I doubt if he ever heard the door close.
In our lifetimes, we accumulate experiences and we come to realize that there were times when people and their feelings have been the casualty of our personal thoughts and behaviors. This was one of those times. I know that I hurt him by saying what I did and doing what I did. I knew that I needed time to sort my thoughts, emotions, and ultimately decisions for the matter at hand. I felt obligated to investigate my options and I wanted a clear head over a raw heart.
Two hours later, I opened the phone book and made an appt with the pregnancy counseling center. You know - the one where they advertise to help you explore your options when you are scared and pregnant? I found them under abortion in the yellow pages. I was so young and so naive that I really believed they were going to help me explore my options across the board. They told me to come right then, that they had had someone cancel. I blindly went. They required me to take a pregnancy test. No problem - I knew I was pregnant. Then I remember sitting in what looked like a Doctor's personal office with pictures of babies plastered all over the walls. There were plastic models of pelvises and babies growing and infant toys on shelves. I recalled seeing strollers and bassinets and changing tables in the other room. Having never been in a setting like this before, I didn't know what to expect. Adoption posters lined the walls and thank you letters from new parents who had adopted babies. I remember feeling a bit of uneasiness but couldn't detect what was at the root and shrugged it off to being so confused about just discovering that my birth control efforts had failed and I was 20 years old, unmarried, and pregnant.
A few minutes later, there was a soft knock on the door and a woman walked in and closed the door. Imagine my surprise when she turned to me and presented me with what I now know to be about a 8 or 9 month pregnant belly.
"Hello," she said in her soft voice. I can still visualize her brown and gold maternity dress cascading softly over her full round belly. Her breast were full and round and sat gently right above her abdomen. The dress was sleeveless and gathered right above her bump and then fell thinly across her huge ripe belly. She detected my surprise and touched her belly and said, "I guess we are kinda in the same boat. huh?"
I watched her waddle a few steps across the room and I wondered if the baby was going to fall out any time now. I also remember thinking how stunningly beautiful she looked in that condition. Her skin glowed and she had the most beautiful simple smile. She asked me a few questions about the father of the baby and I told her that we were already planning to get married but that I was having a real problem accepting the reality of this situation since I had been so very careful with birth control. She asked about what kind of birth control we had been using. "The Sponge and condoms," I answered back.
"Do you think maybe this was meant to be?" she asked and I felt the hair on my arms stand at full attention. I just sat there scared and unaware of what was happening.
I remember her asking me if I wish I weren't pregnant.
"Of course I wish I weren't pregnant!" I said to her. "If I wanted to be pregnant and was happy about it, why in the world would I be here exploring my options and seeking guidance and counseling about what to do?" I felt my radar kind of spring up. After all, I did find their number under the abortion heading in the yellow pages. Was she trying to test me to see how interested I was in talking about Abortion? I could feel my confusion multiplying by the second and spreading over me like a bad virus.
"What options are you looking for?" she spoke softly where I could barely hear her.
"I want to be able to consider all my options and I'm not even sure what all of those are," I continued. "I know that I can keep the baby and get married or not. I know that I can stay pregnant and give it up for adoption -although I do not believe that is something that I'm going to want to do..." and I lingered a few seconds and she said, "And what other options do you think you have?"
"I could terminate the pregnancy," I said.
"Yes, you could....." she said looking straight at me, "but are you sure you want to do that given that you have a brand new life growing inside you at this very moment?"
Whoa Nelly! I sat there kind of stunned. And what happened after that still plays like a slow moving motion picture in my head.
She reached over and took my hand and placed it on her belly. She pressed inward which caused her baby to react and initiate limb movement. "I love just sitting and feeling my baby move. I think about what he will be like and how wonderful it will be to hold him and love him and nurture him. I think about what a Gift From God he is and how I could never defy God..." I could feel her baby moving under my hand and that was fascinating but what I really felt was my radar growing louder and a sense of panicked reality taking over.
Then she hit me with the punch line, "Why would you want to kill something that you know is already alive and even though you didn't plan it, it was created with a love that you already admit to sharing with its father? Why would you insult God like that?"
I yanked my hand back with the sudden awareness of what kind of place I was actually in. The reality hit me like a slap in the face and I felt immediately embarrassed that I had been so gullible to not even suspect their motives. I stood up.
"Where are you going?" she questioned me as I picked up my purse and started for the door. I could sense her urgency.
"We have people who will pay for your prenatal care and support you through the pregnancy....just don't kill your baby. Please, you'll live with the regret and shame all your life and it will haunt you every single time you look at other children or hold your own....the Bible says that children are a gift from God......" I tried to tune her voice out but I can still hear her and see her standing there in the doorway trying to block my departure from the trap that had been set before me.
I couldn't believe that I was hearing these words. I felt like I was having slime thrust all over my body. Jeeze! How much could one person stand to experience in one day? Just hours earlier, I had learned that I was pregnant and I was in search of someone to give me clear, unbiased support in the form of informationso that I could sort it all out and then make a decision based on facts and procedures...I didn't want some pregnant woman quoting scripture to me and guilting me by using her unborn baby to emotionally trap me into something that I didn't understand.
I know that she heard that door slam.