Imagine starting a new job and at the required physical learning you might be pregnant. That’s what happened to Jamie*. A baby didn’t mix well with being twenty-one years old, still in college and in the middle of a rocky relationship. So abortion seemed like the obvious choice. Jamie made an appointment at the abortion clinic where she heard her baby’s heartbeat for the first time. “I couldn’t think about it being a baby, otherwise I might get attached, and I couldn’t let that happen,” Jamie said.
After talking to a nurse, and then a doctor, something happened. “I felt numb. Like my inside separated from my body and something inside said: “How can I go through with this?” Jamie calls this her “Holy Ghost moment”. But her mind argued back. “You have to do this. You’re still in school, and it’s the wrong time to have a baby.” At the abortion clinic, she was told that she had 18 weeks and 6 days to have the abortion. Jamie left, unable to make an appointment, but she knew the clock was ticking. She explained the procedure to her boyfriend. “You get your half of the money and I’ll get mine.” But neither set the money aside.
Meanwhile, Jamie downloaded a pregnancy app on her phone and began following the growth and development of her unborn child. Soon, the 18 week, 6 day deadline passed. Jamie and her boyfriend were working two jobs and not communicating well. Financial problems and the stress of pregnancy and the impending birth of a baby were building. Not feeling support from the father, Jamie decided she needed to leave. A search for resources for pregnant women led her to The Elizabeth House.
Jamie admitted, “I was really worried this program wasn’t for me but when they reached out to me again, I took it as a sign and moved in. I realized I didn’t need to worry [because] I was in a place where people were there to help and support me and suddenly everything just felt so ‘easy’. The stress melted away and I could focus on what was really important, like learning to be the best mother I could be.” When Jamie moved out, her boyfriend had a chance to think about what was important to him, too. “I’m going to be here for you and the baby,” he told her.
Perhaps one of the most dramatic transformations occurred when Jamie decided to visit churches. After visiting a few different ones, she finally found one that fit her. Jamie was baptized in the church and she and her boyfriend dedicated baby Maeve*, consecrating her to God. “I’m so happy I had the chance to live at The Elizabeth House. It’s such a good feeling to be in a place where there is always someone to care and look out for you. It’s like finally, I can breathe.”
*Names changed throughout to protect privacy.