Discovering the news of my pregnancy wasn’t quite the fairy tale that many would hope for, my circumstances were far from ideal…
I had been brought up surrounded by Bible teaching and had had a relationship with Jesus from a young age. I loved spending time studying God’s word myself, with others, and being a part of my church family. Unfortunately, a lot of the time I also loved doing my own thing and, for many years, I spent much too little time thinking about what would last eternally or the consequences of my actions.
After finding out that I was pregnant, my mind raced to everything that was going on in my life at the time. I was heavily involved in the steering group for a small struggling church, I was on the organisational committee for the women’s work in another large church in the city, I was part of a small prayer group within my workplace, a few months previous I had spent every penny of my money on a road trip of the West Coast of America, and had just bought a small (first floor!) apartment and committed to a hefty mortgage. In addition, the father was someone with whom I should not have been in a relationship. The news of this pregnancy was going to have far-reaching effects and I had no idea where to begin.
I am grateful that I never fully felt the weight of my situation at the time.
Sharing the news with my parents unfortunately went as expected, and I had to own all those incredibly difficult conversations with church leaders, colleagues, and friends. But never once, despite the complex situation, was this baby unwanted. I understand however, that if abortion is easily accessible, that this could seem as a simple solution for a complicated situation.
My daughter was a ‘Covid baby’ and so there were a lot of evenings spent in the apartment with not much going on, and when she was about 18 months old, I distinctly remember thinking ‘I can’t let my experience in life go to waste’. I believe that God will do anything to draw us back to himself. Life events or crises that we would never have written into our story can be such an act of God’s grace, such proof of his love. God called me then to make a decision (something he had been doing for a very long time) – either I choose him, and the abundance of life that he gives, or I continue to choose the temporary ‘life’ that the world offers, but I could no longer have both. I was at a crossroads. So that January evening during the second Covid lockdown I googled ‘crisis pregnancy organisations’ and decided that I would let God use my life in whatever way he wanted.
From there I began volunteering with a pregnancy helpline with the most amazing team of people. I learned (and continue to learn) so much from our conversations and training. We offer a non-directive space where women and men can be listened to before deciding regarding a unplanned pregnancy and where they can find support if they are struggling after an abortion. I know for some, choosing abortion seems like a quick fix but unfortunately, I know from numerous post-abortion conversations that terminating a pregnancy can be quite the opposite.
A few years on, I have been given another opportunity to work alongside women within the church facing crisis pregnancy or other baby loss, including abortion. I think often of the people in my church who stood alongside me and truly became family throughout my pregnancy and continue to walk this journey with me, and I fully understand the need for the church to engage in this area, in compassion, in love and in grace.