Our clinic team has witnessed so many stories of hope this year we selected seven special stories to share with you in the coming weeks.

Nicole and her boyfriend, Warren, came to our clinic because they were nervous and uncertain if Nicole was pregnant. Privately, Nicole told the Support Circle patient advocate that she was not ready to parent a child because she lacked the emotional and financial support needed to care for a baby. Nicole had a history of mental instability. Even though she did not like abortion, this would be Nicole’s second termination of a pregnancy in just a few years. The couple had concerns about the long-term effects their heavy drinking before discovering Nicole’s pregnancy might have on a child. Ultimately, Nicole did not feel prepared to parent and felt she had to do what was best for her and the relationship.

Warren and Nicole came to Support Circle for a free ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. They were interactive during the scan.  However, the ultrasound was inconclusive. This happens sometimes at early gestational ages. Our team provided the couple with a list of organizations and services that could help with the issues they had identified as barriers to parenting. We also scheduled a return appointment to the Support Circle clinic for another scan.

Two weeks later, Nicole and her boyfriend returned for their follow-up ultrasound appointment. In conversation, I learned they both were seeking help for their issues. During the scan, the couple looked at the monitor, asked questions and smiled when they saw the heartbeat. Afterward, Nicole and Warren said that they had made the decision to carry their baby to term. I provided them with the ultrasound photos and education regarding fetal development, nutrition, self-care, prenatal care and parenting resources. They both expressed their gratitude for being able to return to the clinic for the follow-up ultrasound and for all of our support.

When I think of this couple’s beaming smiles, I knew I had to share Nicole and Warren’s Story of HOPE.

– Julie, RN

My beautiful, inquisitive five-year-old daughter and I live in Oakland with my mom. Mom watches my daughter while I work at a market one day each week. Since the riots, a lot of the businesses around our home are boarded up or burned down. That makes things tougher now…like, having to take the bus to get groceries.

When I began to feel pregnant, I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, it was exciting to have another baby so my daughter could have a sibling. But being able to take good care of a baby is important to me and I cannot do it alone. I was seriously considering an abortion.

One of my concerns was that my mom would pressure me to abort, saying we can’t take care of another baby right now. This is kind of true. I mean, without a car, it would be difficult to even get diapers. I was also scared my ex-boyfriend, who is the father, would try to take full custody. Back when we were together, he told me he would be able to take better care of a baby than me.

Since I needed confirmation about the pregnancy, I went to Support Circle. The staff was very nice and accommodating. I was happy and wanted to talk about my fears and concerns. My patient advocate was wonderful. She listened and then gave me a list of resources in my area that could help provide some necessities like diapers. Thankfully, most are within walking distance from our home.

After connecting with the organizations in my area, I told my mom and ex-boyfriend about the pregnancy. They were both supportive and even offered their assistance to raise this new baby. I feel relieved to know I have help from them and my community. This support makes it easier to be excited that my daughter is finally going to have a sibling. If I had not gone to Support Circle, I might have made a decision that I would regret for the rest of my life.

The patient story that stands out most to me from 2020 is a young woman named Kat. As a teenager, Kat experienced severe mental and physical abuse from her boyfriend. While escaping that abusive relationship, Kat faced an unplanned pregnancy. Not wanting to bring a child into her tumultuous situation, she felt an abortion was her best choice and terminated the pregnancy.

Now in college, Kat came to our Oakland clinic, undecided. In a new, healthy relationship, Kat expressed her guilt with this unplanned pregnancy. She was struggling to process, given the relationship and abortion trauma she previously experienced. This time, she felt an abortion was not an option. Kat could not overcome her feelings of guilt and shame from her first abortion to find joy in this pregnancy. Many in her life, including her boyfriend, were overjoyed to hear Kat was pregnant. However, she had not told her parents because she felt the news would disappoint them.

Kat is the type of patient our mission embraces. She needed time to process, space to work through her feelings, pain and barriers to parenting, and support. Our Oakland clinic team provided Kat with resources to help with her pregnancy decision and, in her words, gave her “Hope.” In the weeks that followed, Kat shared her decision to carry to term, but is still working through feelings of remorse from her abortion as a teenager.

Keagen, RN – Oakland Clinic

Monica, a SF State student in her early 20s, came to Support Circle’s Oakland Clinic to confirm her pregnancy. The shelter-in-place order forced Monica’s college dorm to close, leaving her without shelter. She sought refuge at the home of a family member but had to leave when she no longer felt it safe to remain there. She was sleeping on a friend’s couch until she received approval to get into a homeless shelter.

David, the father of Monica’s baby was also homeless. His mother kicked him out when he informed her of Monica’s pregnancy. David was unhoused and unable to help support her.

Monica had never been homeless or felt so lost. The thought of bringing a baby into the world when her life was in such turmoil seemed irresponsible. Monica considered taking the abortion pill.

Our Support Circle clinic team was able to hear her concerns and help her process them. Eventually Monica asked for information about parenting. The patient advocate informed Monica of resources and referred her to a parenting support group for Asian American women.

Now, no longer homeless and with a supportive community, Monica was able to think beyond crisis mode. She felt much more confident about her life and better equipped to parent her baby. There are still uncertainties in Monica’s life but she feels more at peace than a few months ago and is thankful Support Circle has come alongside her during this difficult time.

I took the abortion pill to terminate my pregnancy. My son was 11 months old and I could not envision myself having another baby. That night, I told my boyfriend, Grant, about taking the abortion pill. Grant was upset that I started an abortion without talking with him first. He would have preferred to have input into the situation. Grant’s response was very different than I expected. He wanted me to have the baby and co-parent together.

I could hardly sleep that night because my head was spinning. I knew what a new baby would entail. Support Circle helped me that time. This time, I had lost my job and medical insurance due to Covid-19. Since the shelter-in-place order, it has been hard to get another job in the hotel industry. It all seemed overwhelming and impossible. I was still leaning toward continuing the abortion. Ultimately, to me, the decision to abort or keep the baby was my choice to make.

Grant was so persistent that we began searching for ways to stop the abortion. Since the abortion pill is actually a combination of pills taken over a few days, I held off on taking the second pill. We found an abortion pill reversal hotline which gave me a provider that supplied the hormones needed for the reversal process.

We only went to Support Circle for the free ultrasound to appease Grant because he wanted to see what was going on with the baby. During the ultrasound, I became very emotional seeing the heart was still beating after having taken the abortion pill. I was given clarity while looking at the baby on that screen. It felt like God gave me a chance to make a different choice.

Grant and I are still together and are a family with my son. We are waiting on Medi-Cal to kick in to begin prenatal care. Initially, I was scared to be pregnant so soon after having my son but I feel better now, knowing that they will be close in age. Returning to Support Circle was good because I’m comfortable there. It’s where I first saw my son and it’s where I first saw my new baby.

My family and friends were pressuring me to have an abortion. What they were saying made sense since I wasn’t so sure if I was ready to have a baby. I was conflicted because part of me wanted to keep it. But what really hurt was when some said I was not fit to be a parent.

Family is very important in my Nepalese culture. Getting married at a young age is esteemed so it seems that I am an embarrassment. I want to honor what my family tells me to do but could not face God if I get an abortion. I would feel so guilty for the rest of my life.

My head had so many thoughts. I am 30 years old. What if I get an abortion but then something goes wrong or I become too old and can’t get pregnant again in the future? I could lose my chance to become a mom and parenting is important to me.

It was all so hard and confusing. I didn’t know what to do so I set three appointments: Support Circle for a free ultrasound, Planned Parenthood for an abortion and a prenatal care appointment. Crazy, right?  Even though I have been dating my boyfriend for a very short time, I asked him to come with me.

At Support Circle, what I saw on the screen was definitely NOT just a blob as my parents and friends said! When I saw my baby there, that is when I made the decision in my heart. I said: “I’m keeping my baby!” My boyfriend was so happy and said: “That’s a real person right there already.”

That was a few months ago and things in my life are much better now. At my most recent prenatal care appointment, they said that me and the baby are healthy. My boyfriend and I have decided to get married and, because of this, my family is being supportive of us now.

I am so thankful I went to Support Circle first!

When a positive home test confirmed my pregnancy, I was so scared and felt alone. My boyfriend was the first person I told and immediately said I would get an abortion. But he surprised me with how adamant he was to parent the baby. We are only 18 so I thought he would want me to have an abortion.

Since the only option for me had been an abortion, I had to really reconsider how we could do this. I went to Support Circle to get more information. Talking to the staff there helped me process my own thoughts and feelings about being pregnant. Ultimately, I didn’t really want to have an abortion but the fear of what my parents would say or do was a huge motivating factor.

Support Circle encouraged me to talk to my parents and helped me think through how to tell them. That night, I told my parents. They took the news of me being pregnant better than expected. I mean, they were surprised but supportive of me and my decision to parent. After telling them, I felt so much better and less scared. My boyfriend even told his mom and now our parents are going to get together to help us.

I couldn’t imagine ever having this much support from my boyfriend, my parents, and even from his family. It’s crazy!  In days, I went from being alone and planning to have an abortion, to now planning to have my baby with a circle of people who love me and support me.

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