Catalyst for Hope
A student mom who wishes to remain anonymous shares her story of how Hope Pregnancy Center displayed understanding, kindness, and a willingness to love her without judgment in her time of uncertainty and fear. This story is featured as part of our Scholarships For Hope campaign, which runs through Sunday, February 10.
I knew I was pregnant weeks before I found out for sure.
For most of my life, I’d never really dated, and I used to joke that, because I was so inexperienced with that kind of love, I’d probably get pregnant by the first guy I managed to form a relationship with.
Two months into being with that “first-relationship-guy”, my period was MIA and I was immediately paranoid. Regardless of how careful we’d been—and we had been careful—here was my self-prescribed prophecy come to light.
"I was pregnant, and I was terrified"
My friends told me I couldn’t be, and my mother assured me over and over that the chances were slim-to-none considering the measures I’d taken to try and prevent unplanned pregnancy; however, when I’d gone three weeks past what should have been the start of my “moon cycle,” I knew. The five home pregnancy tests I took one after the other were simply a formality. Any attempt to deny the truth was irrevocably squashed.
I was pregnant, and I was terrified.
My whole self reacted with fear and rejection. I couldn’t be pregnant. I couldn’t have a baby. I was careful. I’d only ever been with one person. This would ruin my life. This could not happen to me. When I told my partner, he was even more terrified than me and even more convinced that this wasn’t something we could do.
“We’re too young to be parents,” were his first words to me."
I went to health services at ASU and my pregnancy was confirmed for a sixth time. Afterwards I cried with the doctor and ran through all of my fears with her. She told me that no matter what I decided to do next, I would need to confirm my pregnancy with an ultrasound so that I would know how far advanced it was. She also told me about Hope Pregnancy Center and how they gave free ultrasounds to women in the community.
I made an appointment with Hope as soon as I left health services.
A week later, my baby’s father went with me to the appointment and sat in the waiting room while I talked with the staff and got the ultrasound. I cried a lot. I talked a lot. I spent a lot of time trying to compartmentalize and process. I got a lot of information.
After I left, I felt like I could make any decision I ultimately decided was necessary about my pregnancy without being a “bad person”. I felt even more confused about what was right for me, but I knew that coming to that decision was something I had to do on my own.
I put the folder that Hope gave me with my pregnancy confirmation, the pictures of my six-week-old embryo, the small pack of prenatal vitamins, and all the information about my options in a box on my desk and gave myself two weeks to make a decision about what I was going to do.
At the end of a tumultuous and difficult three weeks, I decided I was going to have a baby. I decided, for reasons that I didn’t really understand at the time—and in many ways still can’t make perfect sense of—that I was going to put away my fear and put faith in myself and my situation and go through with my pregnancy.
"It was the hardest decision I have had to make in my life to date, and I don't regret it."—Hope Mom
I would have never been able to even begin to understand the panic and confusion that comes with being faced with the prospects of having a child so unexpectedly and with someone who I knew so little if I’d never personally gone through it. I think it is incredibly important to remember that people who come through Hope are facing one of the most challenging experiences of their lives, and so many different things could go so terribly wrong or so terrifically right.
With compassion and grace, Hope's mission is to provide resources that inspire confidence in women to successfully navigate the stressors of unplanned pregnancy.
"We want to come alongside women and care for them in their uncertainty, fear, and loneliness."—Molly Petrey, Executive Director of Hope Pregnancy Center
"I am lucky; my situation has turned out pretty alright"
The father of my child, though intractably against going through with this pregnancy altogether at first, now assures me almost daily of his love for me and for our baby.
My family is supportive. My financial situation, though it will undoubtedly be difficult to navigate for a little while, is not in a dire state. My own mental health and well-being is miles away from where it was when I first found out I was pregnant. And I have more hope each and every day that my baby will be born healthy and that I may soon be privy to a happy, healthy, little family that I never thought I wanted.
However, many people are not so lucky and face challenges that far exceed the ones that I faced.
Or they find themselves unable, for their own reasons, to make the same decision that I made.
Regardless of the understandably strong opinions that exist on either side of debates surrounding the options that women may consider when presented with an unplanned pregnancy, what meant the most to me when I came to Hope was that I never felt like the women who worked there would have condemned me for making a decision that they may have personally been morally opposed to.
"I believe that the considerate approach to women in similar situations to mine is incredibly important."
If I had not made the decision to keep my baby, I would have needed just as much or more hope (albeit, perhaps in a different way) that my life could go on and I could make something happy and hopeful out of my situation.
Sometimes it feels like everywhere we look hate, misunderstanding, belligerent close-mindedness, and an unwillingness to compromise permeates every corner of our society. But if we are truly individuals who desire to instill hope, then love—and the understanding, kindness, and willingness to approach a situation from someone else’s point of view that should come as an offset of that love—is absolutely the most necessary catalyst for Hope.
For years, theHeart has supported Hope Pregnancy Center, a local agency that works to empower women in the High Country who experience unplanned pregnancies. Providing a variety of clinical and support services, Hope helps expecting mothers make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy.
On Sunday, Jan. 27, we launched a 2-week awareness campaign in support of Hope. Our goal is to raise $10,000 by Sunday Feb. 10. This amount will fund two "Yes She Can" Scholarships that are then awarded to student moms who are determined to continue their education.