When the answer is no

We’re called Young Mom Support, which often makes people think we’re only here for mothers – those teen girls who end up choosing to parent their children themselves. That’s not the whole story. Many of the pregnant teens we speak to haven’t yet made their final decision about what to do. Many choose abortion and to a lesser extent, adoption. Invariably, so far, once a girl comes to us with the idea of abortion at the forefront of her mind – that’s what she ends up doing. Because she’s already been thinking about it. She’s already been through all of this a million times by the time she speaks to us. Because she hasn’t been waiting for someone else to do her thinking for her: this is all she’s been thinking about, sometimes for weeks or months.

An unplanned pregnancy is a time for reflection and questioning yourself – for most of us, this decision is the biggest one we’ll ever make and could change the course of our lives forever. Sometimes, the answer to “Can I be a mother now” – is simply no.

There are a million reasons why someone would choose abortion – and guess what – it’s not our place to question that. It’s not our place to “talk her out of it” or convince her to do anything else. Just as if she’s leaning towards parenting, it’s not our place to dissuade her from that either. All we’re here to do is to ask:

What do you WANT? Your first choice, your gut reaction, before you overthink it. Yes or no to being a mother, right now, in this time and place in your life? That’s it. That’s all we do. Ask the question that allows her to express her feelings, blurt them out, no judgment, no expectations, nobody’s preferences to consider. Then we go from there. What CAN you do?

We have only one agenda – her happiness and well-being, today, tomorrow – the rest of her life.

ALL choices are valid. Parenting, abortion, adoption: she knows her own life best. She knows what she’s capable of and willing to do. She knows the right answer. It might take a little time to get to it, there might well be practical or logistical challenges in the way – for example, if she would prefer abortion but has passed the cut-off point, she has to rethink her options. Likewise, if she wants to parent her child but knows she will have zero support, she’ll have to figure a plan to make it work – or rethink her choice again.

We call ourselves prochoice, and we are, in the truest sense of the word. There is no right answer – there is only the answer that’s right for her.

So when the answer is “I really can’t”  or “I don’t want to”  – that is fine, no explanation required. We’ll be with her, taking our cues for what she needs from her – because there is no blueprint for how everybody experiences abortion. What she needs, we’ll try to provide. And we’ll never ever say that she could have, should have, if only she would have – chosen something else.

Because all choices are valid. And because women know their own minds best, and that is all.

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