I was 29 years old and unexpectedly pregnant. After days of torment from my family and no reply from the father-to-be I felt ashamed and alone, and led to believe that abortion was the “fix” to my “problem.” It didn’t matter how I felt or what I thought. I was just told to drop the subject and drop the baby as soon as possible. I made an appointment at a local “clinic” and went by cab, all by myself.
After what seemed like an eternity in the waiting room, I was then taken into an exam room and asked to watch a short video in preparation for the “procedure”. The video made it seem like it was a quick in and out procedure and that I’d have my life “back to normal” in no time.
Next the doctor laid me on the exam table and began the exam and ultrasound. I couldn’t see anything but could hear a swishing sound. I asked what that sound was and the doctor replied it was a heartbeat. I thought to myself, “A heartbeat? Really? At only 5-7 weeks?” A rush of emotions came over me. A heartbeat meant there was life. How could I end a life? How could anyone end a life? I became tense and knew abortion was not for me. I kept silent and prayed as the doctor proceeded with the exam.
Ten minutes passed and the doctor told me I was so tense it would interfere with his ability to perform the procedure. His recommendation was to reschedule so I could be sedated for the procedure. I interpreted the delay as a sign from God. At that moment I decided that if the abortion did not take place that day it would never take place. I then walked out of the clinic and onto the path of motherhood. It became a clear and simple choice to keep my baby.
Coming up with an action plan to manage pregnancy and life after a baby was not simple. In fact it was quite a challenge. It did not help that my family disagreed with my decision. My family felt embarrassed and dishonored and decided they wanted nothing to do with my unborn child or me. My mother discussed her disappointment at her local senior center run by Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities intervened and helped place me in a temporary family home to ensure a safe, healthy, happy pregnancy and delivery.
The only problem was finding a permanent home for my newborn and me that I could actually afford. I had the ability to give birth to my child but not the means to raise her. I nearly fell into depression. The thought of adopting out my firstborn was tearing me apart. I reassured myself that God had gotten us this far and that he would somehow find a way.
Then one morning I received a phone call from a counselor at Catholic Charities. She spoke of homes in Virginia for homeless pregnant women and their babies.
I thought to myself, “I am homeless and I have a baby, but I’m no longer pregnant.” I began to think we were traveling down another dead-end road. Given my emergency situation Evelyn and Randy James, founders of the Paul Stefan Foundation, opened their hearts and their maternity home to my newborn and me. The Paul Stefan Foundation (www.paulstefanhome.org) operates four maternity homes in Virginia and has helped over 100 women and babies in just five years.
Upon entering the Paul Stefan Home I felt a sense of relief. It wasn’t just a house it was really a home. They did not hesitate to provide the appropriate staff and resources needed to ensure a safe, healthy, happy and loving environment for the women and babies. They went above and beyond to provide mothers like me the education, skills, training and knowledge needed to give fuel to our success. Had it not been for the Paul Stefan Foundation my child and I would have been homeless.
Unfortunately alternatives to abortion are often shown in a harsh light. Crisis Pregnancy Centers are portrayed as misleading women or people praying outside of abortion clinics are said to only care about the unborn baby and not the mother. It just isn’t true. There are viable alternatives to abortion and people who care and are ready to help.
During this perpetual season of giving – and getting – there are many people and organizations that have the knowledge and resources to provide help for pregnant women. The Christmas season can be even more difficult for pregnant women who have no support or family to rely on. They feel abandoned, unsupported or lonely. For those women, please know there is “room at the inn” through maternity homes.
Since getting the help I needed, I have gotten back on my feet and I am employed full-time and love being a mom and listening to my child’s heartbeat every day
LifeNews.com Note: Shama Khan and her newborn baby live in Northern Virginia.