When Sarah* saw the two lines on the pregnancy test, she felt ill. During the 4 months she had lived with her boyfriend, they had not made plans for a future together. Although he had a stable job and was much older that she, Sarah wasn’t sure he even wanted children or a long-term relationship with her. At age 22 with only a minimum wage restaurant job, Sarah was grateful to be living rent-free in his house, but how would he react to a positive pregnancy test making them an insta-family?
When she got up the nerve to tell her boyfriend that evening, he exploded, accusing her of "trapping him" and demanded that she have an abortion. Overwhelmed by his angry words and unable to explain that her birth control just hadn’t worked, Sarah tearfully tried to calm him by agreeing to schedule an abortion the next day. With no family in the area, no savings, and in desperate need of a place to live, she didn’t know what else to do.
The next day Sarah googled “pregnancy” and Sierra Pregnancy + Health came up. She called to scheduled an appointment and soon was meeting with a patient advocate. After listening to her concerns, the advocate asked her what she wanted to do about the pregnancy and offered to help her find housing and counseling. A nurse, who joined them, confirmed her pregnancy and explained how she could apply to Medi-Cal for prenatal care and different state programs for help with food and aid. Instead of an immediate abortion, although still unsure about the pregnancy, Sarah reluctantly agreed to schedule an ultrasound appointment.
Two weeks later, when she returned for the ultrasound, Sarah joyfully and confidently announced, “I left him and I’m keeping my baby.” She had found a place to stay and was learning to face her troubles one day at a time. Her boyfriend's parents were even willing to offer their help! Seeing her baby on the ultrasound brought tears, but this time they were happy tears.
Hope, care and support matter when facing an unplanned pregnancy. The team of staff and volunteers at Sierra Pregnancy + Health provide this to every woman regardless of income, age, relationship status or race. By offering services without cost or insurance restriction, barriers to receiving care are removed. Sarah needed a safe place to share her questions and concerns while learning about what resources were available to her. This allowed her to have a true choice about the solution for her pregnancy without pressure.
Although finances are still difficult, Sarah and her little girl are now thriving. Her boyfriend never did come around, but she found other sources of support and love both for herself and her daughter. When Sarah brings her by to visit, we all marvel over how in love they are with one another! It is an honor to provide hope, care and support to women like Sarah and be a part of their journey into motherhood!