My name is Sarah and this is my story. It was the fall of 2005 that my life took a drastic turn. All of my risky behavior caught up with me and I found myself 21, pregnant, and not in a relationship. Terrified to tell my family that I had once again messed up and got myself into another “situation”, I decided to handle this on my own. I called an abortion clinic and within days I found myself in the waiting room. After the abortion, I was numb and decided to try and forget that it ever happened. I continued my risky behavior and tried to hide my feelings for a year. I was home one weekend hanging out with my brother and I couldn’t hide my sadness any longer. I shared with him that I had gotten pregnant, had an abortion, and now sadness overwhelmed me. My brother hugged me and told me he loved me. He also supported me as I told my parents and sister. Together, as a family, we grieved. I made a turnaround in my life and found myself here in Brookings, SD. I had received individual counseling regarding my life decisions, but began to seek out post-abortion counseling. That’s when I heard about Option 1. I joined the post-abortion counseling and Bible study, Forgiven and Set Free. I met four incredible women, each had a different journey than I, but yet we shared a bond. This is when my true healing began. I was allowed to love the baby I did not have. I was able to forgive myself. I am so thankful for Option 1 and the healing that I experienced.
I was given a brochure about Option 1 from my neighbor; I threw it into a drawer because I wasn’t a scared, young girl. Later, I needed prenatal classes, so I remembered the brochure, God had a plan. I called Option 1 and I spoke with a volunteer about help with pre-natal care and a doula. The wonderful volunteer, who answered the phone that day, became one of my dearest friends and honorary grandmother to my beautiful daughter, who is now 4. Since my daughter was three months old, I have been volunteering at Option 1-all because of one brochure that God put in my hand. I donated all of Ella’s baby items, until she was 2, to Option 1 to help others. Because of Option 1 and the Christian counselor here, the father of Ella is now my husband and we are happily married. We had a rocky start, but God was faithful in helping us learn to communicate and let go of the past and old baggage from our previous lives. We have since started helping another couple here at Option 1. God can take a mess and turn it into a beautiful message of hope. No matter what age you are, Option 1 can help you learn how to be the best parent that you can be.
For years, I was in denial about the negative impacts that my abortion had on my life. Twenty years ago, I was fifteen years old and though I planned to wait until marriage to have sex, I decided to have sex with my boyfriend. When I became pregnant, my boyfriend informed me that he was not ready to become a father and told me to get an abortion. I was devastated, rejected, and alone with only a couple of options. Rather than face the shame of telling my parents and family about my pregnancy and my fears of being a single mother, I did what in my mind was unthinkable and had an abortion. Immediately upon waking from anesthesia, I felt a sense of deep despair-my baby was dead and I had participated in it. Years later, after many broken relationships, bouts with alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression, I found myself in a Post Abortion Recovery Group at Option 1 Women’s Health Center. In that group, and with the Lord’s help, I finally found peace and forgiveness surrounding that decision that I made so long ago. The pain of abortion is something that no person should have to endure. At Option 1, I experienced a loving and supporting atmosphere-the professionals there really just wanted to help meet my needs and provide a safe place for me to finally begin to heal. I would absolutely recommend Option1 to anyone who has suffered an abortion or who is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.