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Three Parts to Every Story

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Everyone’s story has three parts: Events from our past shape our present, and the way we live our present has the power to change our future. We meet people in their present, and our interactions with them can impact their future—for better or worse. So, my mission as a client advocate at Pregnancy Center East (PCE) is this: I meet a woman in her present, she trusts me with her past, and I’m blessed with an opportunity to guide her as she builds her future.

And it all starts with a story.

When I met these three resilient women, they had one thing in common: they were unexpectedly pregnant and faced the paralyzing decision of whether to carry their baby to term. At PCE, we do not expect a woman to make this decision alone. We open our doors and our hearts to women encountering one of the most difficult and emotional decisions of their lives.

At our first meeting, Gianna explained that she had three children, but it was more complicated than that—she suspected her four-year-old, Gus*, had Autism and the childrens’ two fathers were manipulative and adversarial. Having recently left her family in the South and moved to Cincinnati, Gianna dreamed of becoming a dental assistant. Her friends convinced her there was only one option: abortion. Gianna believed the lie that motherhood came at too high a cost, that she could not be a mother of four and pursue her dreams, that this child would destroy her future. During her visits she shared her past. And from our honest conversations about her fears, she gained confidence to emphatically choose life for the baby growing in her womb.

Through PCE, Gianna received two ultrasound photos, prenatal care help from TriHealth midwives and proof of pregnancy documents for Medicaid and WIC applications. We also introduced her to Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio to explore their developmental services for Gus. She returned home with maternity clothes, a crib, a car seat, diapers, and clothing for her three toddlers. And Gianna felt strong. She walked in head down and hopeless, but after seeing that we could help her family materially, she walked out with chin up and emboldened.

Since then, she delivered a healthy boy, and last week shared that she could not imagine her life without John Paul*. Before ending our conversation, she said, “I’m one month away from graduating dental assistance school.” I shared with her the pride I felt for her and all she had accomplished, ending with, “I will pray for you, Gianna. You are a hero, and you are a good mom.” While I hope to meet John Paul, the Center fulfilled its mission if Gianna never needs to return.

Rose left PCE in 2020 and had an abortion. I saw her again in 2021, with her second pregnancy, but this time, she and her husband were thrilled. However, she was hurting from the past events, so we introduced her to post-abortion counseling through which she will heal and be ready to welcome her child into a loving family.

Eliza is off the streets and clean for over a year. Carrying her baby to term with the help of a caring doctor and methadone prescription, she named him Chance because he was her second chance. He changed her future’s trajectory.

In my time at PCE, I have met nearly 100 women in their present and impacted their futures. They don’t know it, but they impacted my future, too. They taught me how to love better, listen more intently and lift the women around me. I am a better friend, sister and leader for having known these women, and one day I will be a better mother from my experiences here. To give someone the space to share her story is to give someone an opportunity to transform both her future and ours.

To learn more ways you can help women and families in your community choose life and thrive, please consider joining us for Pregnancy Center East’s 41st annual Banquet for Life on Thursday, April 20. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit SupportPCE.com

This article appeared in the April 2023 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.

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