Louise (not her real name) was sitting in an abortion clinic waiting room, flicking through her Facebook feed, when she saw a post that made her change her mind and choose life for her baby.
Sitting in that Queensland clinic, she read about how a friend had nearly aborted her baby girl and at the last minute, walked out, finally listening to the scream in her heart that life is precious. That she has what it takes to be a mum.
This story is a testament to the power of story.
Louise fell pregnant at the age of 21 while on contraception – she was diligently having Depo-Provera (progestogen) injections for the 14 months prior. She ended the relationship with the baby’s father three weeks before she discovered she was pregnant. This baby would make her the mother to three children under the age of three.
It was all too overwhelming.
At the first appointment with her GP, when the pregnancy was confirmed, she burst into tears. He consoled her, saying there were “options”. He explained that she was probably only six or seven weeks along, and that a medical abortion would be easy to arrange.
When Louise went for an ultrasound to determine how far along her pregnancy was, the practitioner revealed a 12-week-old baby on the screen.
“I didn’t tell my mum, I just went by myself. When I saw the full baby’s body on the screen, I was like, this is so real now!” Louise said.
She went straight back to her GP who promptly gave her a referral for a surgical abortion, due to the later gestation.
“I was having doubts from the beginning, but my ex-boyfriend and his family were yelling at me and pressuring me to terminate. I didn’t know what else to do.”
Two days later, Louise was at the abortion clinic, waiting for her turn in the queue.
“Suddenly I was the next person in line – I’d been waiting for an hour and a half – and they did an ultrasound. You can choose not to look, but I glimpsed it, and there he was, waving at the camera!”
Changing her mind
She went back to her seat to wait again and was scrolling through her Facebook feed when a friend’s story caught her attention. It was Stacey McBride Wilson’s story of how she nearly had an abortion herself, and how grateful she is, every day, for the life of her daughter.
“She shared about how guilty she felt even considering having an abortion. I felt the same. And in that moment, I knew I couldn’t go through with it. I didn’t want to have that guilt on my head. I started to think, ok, maybe I can do this too.”
By this stage, Louise was sobbing.
“I went up to the receptionist and said I can’t go through with this, with tears running down my face.”
The abortion clinic counsellor was called in to speak with Louise about her decision, trying to convince her to continue with the abortion.
“There ended up being four men in the room; doctors and counsellors. It was really intimidating and I was so upset. I was trying to leave. They kept saying to me, you won’t have this opportunity again. In the end, I asked them to give me some time alone to think about it. Then I just got up and left.”
Life after escaping abortion
Louise’s third son, James, was born seven weeks ago, six weeks early.
“It was a difficult start but I absolutely love being a mum to three amazing boys. I wouldn’t change it for the world!” she said.
Louise wanted to share her story to pass on the gift that Stacey gave her, by sharing her own story and encouraging her to look beyond the uncertainty of now, to the joy and love of being a mother.
“It’s so empowering for me to share my story. If I didn’t read Stacey’s story I would have 100% gone through with it.
“I just want to say the same: don’t make a long-term decision based on short term feelings and circumstances.
“I don’t know where I’d be without James now.”