The Power of Love

Camille* suspected she might be pregnant and quickly searched online for help, and (with Vitae’s help) an ad appeared at the top of the search results for Southside Women’s Services in Evergreen Park, Illinois, which offered free pregnancy testing. She booked an appointment.

Even though she suspected she was pregnant, seeing that positive test in front of her made it all real. So many thoughts flew through her head. Who is going to support me? Will my parents kick me out? How will I afford this?

She had recently broken up with her boyfriend after an eight-year-long relationship. The single twenty-five-year-old was working as a waitress and living with her parents—becoming a mom was not in the picture. In that moment, she felt like abortion was the only way to make this right.

Camille hadn’t really discussed her plans with the father of the baby. She wasn’t sure if he would support her decision or want to try parenting. In the meantime, she sought out the advice of her family, friends, and even her partner’s mom, who all supported her having an abortion. Still, something didn’t feel right about choosing abortion.

In a discussion with a Patient Advocate at Southside, Camille openly shared how her faith helped her through difficult situations in the past. However, she knew from growing up in the Catholic faith that abortion was not something she was supposed to support. But, in her situation today, she didn’t believe that. Camille stated flatly “women should have a choice.”

Next, Camille met with the nurse to discuss her pregnancy test results, and the Sonographer performed an ultrasound exam. Camille seemed more at peace than when she had arrived initially at the clinic. During the ultrasound exam, she smiled, laughed, and asked questions. Camille was in awe at the sound of her baby’s heartbeat during the exam.

On her way out of the clinic that day, Camille informed the staff that she had to think things over and wrote on her exit form that she was now undecided about her decision. She was scheduled to return the following week to confirm the growth and viability of the pregnancy.

During Camille’s second visit to Southside Women’s Services, she informed her Patient Advocate that hearing the baby’s heartbeat at her initial visit “made me think.” She talked things over with the father of the baby, and he had come with her to this appointment. She shared that the father of the baby wanted her to carry to term, and he also made her think about her parenting option more. During her ultrasound exam, Camille wanted the father of the baby in the room the whole time. They both smiled and laughed at the image of their baby on the screen and asked for an image that included the heartbeat.

That appointment changed something in Camille. After her fears were addressed and support was provided, she felt empowered like she had never felt before. With a smile on her face, Camille shared that she intended to carry to term.

*Name changed to protect privacy
Story provided by Veronica Studnicka, Southside Women’s Services, Evergreen Park, IL