“Kelly” was already 20 weeks pregnant by the time she came through the door of the pregnancy center. I could tell she was afraid from the start of our first meeting. Kelly wasn’t from the area and had no family nearby. She told me that she had been raped by an acquaintance and no longer felt safe to stay with him. Instead, she was living out of her car.
I have never been homeless. I have never been without food, shelter or the support of my family. As her story unfolded, I wondered how I would ever relate to her struggles. After discussing all of her pregnancy options, Kelly showed an interest in both abortion and adoption.
I excused myself from the room and ran to find the phone number for one of our volunteer ultrasound techs.
The day was not a scheduled ultrasound day at the center, but I just knew in my heart that Kelly could not wait another day to see her unborn child. This was the time for her to witness the steady beat of her child’s heart and the kick of his or her tiny legs.
Kelly later told me that her family had suggested that she have an abortion, but after seeing her baby on that fuzzy ultrasound monitor, she ruled out abortion as an option.
The center’s adoption coordinator put her in touch with an adoption agency. Kelly then began the process that would change her life. The agency offered her a place to stay and even helped further her education. I stayed in touch with Kelly through weekly emails. Email after email was sent between us, me hoping to offer comfort, her hoping to find it.
Over a three-month span, I got to witness not only her journey through the adoption process, but a change in her very being. She was no longer that scared and unsure girl who had first come through my pregnancy center’s door. No, she had been transformed into a woman whose strength and determination knew no bounds. She had a plan, and she was sticking to it.
Still, as Kelly’s delivery date grew closer, I began to worry for her. She had told me that no family or friends would be coming to the hospital for her delivery. Knowing that she would be all alone for this monumental moment shook me to my core. When I had my first child at the age of 18, even though I wasn’t married, I was never alone. My mother and aunt stayed by my side the entire time. I couldn’t even imagine how hard this was going to be for her.
With only the nurses and a representative from the adoption agency standing by her side, Kelly gave birth. She had done it. She had brought life into the world, knowing that choosing adoption didn’t make her any less of a mother—the love she felt for the baby she held in her arms just confirmed that. She gave her baby a name and spent time caring for her, loving her, and making memories that she would cherish always. When the time came to sign the papers that would transfer her parental rights to her daughter’s adoptive family, she did it with a grace that could’ve only come from God.
“Everybody kept complimenting me on how strong and mature I am,” Kelly later told me in an email. “I really thought that I wasn’t going to be able to handle it. Thought I would be bawling my eyes out and being all hysterical but… I wasn’t. I am at peace with my decision. I haven’t felt peace in so long that it’s slightly overwhelming. I don’t see it as good bye. I see it as I’ll see her later.”
The courage this woman had and continues to have as she makes her way in this world brings tears to my eyes and a sense of wonder to my heart. Though my part in her story was small, I will be forever grateful that she allowed me to be a part. She is the reason I do what I do. She is my hero.
Editor’s Note: This article was first published at Pregnancy Help News on September 10, 2015, and is reprinted here with permission. You can subscribe to Pregnancy Help News here. The author serves as Counseling Services Coordinator/Nurse Manager for 1st Choice Pregnancy Resource Center in Texarkana, Texas and blogs at http://robinkeahey.com.