Domestic violence survivor explains how pro-life pregnancy center transformed her life on Capitol Hill

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Mary was in a dark place when she found herself pregnant, scared, confused, and a victim of domestic violence. The abusive father of her baby had a solution to the situation and it was something Mary wouldn’t do: have an abortion.

“He told her that if she wanted a pet, she would have to buy a goldfish,” recalls Joanna James, chair of the board of directors of Hope in N.Virginia, the pregnancy center where Mary ultimately asked to. ugly.

Mary’s abuser took her to the abortion center, but when she got there, she couldn’t complete it.

“Why am I here?” Mary reflected when the technician performed her ultrasound and told her that she had had a healthy pregnancy.

With that, she got off the table and left the abortion center.

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Instead, Mary turned to Hope in Northern Virginia, a pro-life nonprofit in Falls Church.

“What I remember most about this beautiful client is her breakup and how very uprooted and lost she seemed, James said. “I understood where it came from and how vulnerable you are when you find your identity in something other than Christ, especially if you are looking to find value in a man who will not honor or cherish you. . ”

Through hope, Mary grew to understand this truth in a powerful way.

“It was my first pregnancy, and I was in desperate need of advice and support,” Mary said in a thought. “When I first arrived in Hope, I met one of the volunteers – or ‘angels’ as I like to call them – and my first meeting with her literally changed my life. “

Indeed, a few years later, Mary’s life is completely different. Released from her abuser, she now has a one-year-old son, a supportive community and a new job. And in late January, she even took a trip to Washington DC to share her testimony with members of Congress, all because she left the abortion facility and found hope instead.

Mary and Dominic participate in the BGTC / Lisa Bourne orientation

The house full of “Hope”

Like many women who have had an abortion, Mary was under immense pressure when she nearly had one.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons found that nearly three-quarters (73.8%) of women who had an abortion felt pressured to do so.

According to Institute for Demographic Research, “Of the 987 women surveyed, more than half (58.3%) indicated that they had decided to abort to please others. Almost 30 percent of those surveyed admitted that they were afraid of losing their partner if they did not terminate their pregnancy.

After their abortions, many women were overcome with regret.

“Women reported symptoms of depression (14.4%), guilt (14%), shame, regret, self-hatred, feeling worthless, feeling unworthy of love, drug or alcohol addiction (9%), low self-esteem, anxiety, and suicide thoughts or attempts (6.2%), ”reported the Population Research Institute.

Instead of an abortion and more suffering, Hope in Northern Virginia provided Mary with compassion and empowerment, not to mention material assistance to help with the extraordinary cost of basic antenatal care.

I was reassured that MY decision to keep my baby was a decision I could make and would not be alone. (My consultant) made me feel brave and strong. As cliché as it sounds, I left home full of “hope”.

I walked out with some material items, but best of all, Hope paid for my first visit to the doctor. I was twenty weeks pregnant and had never been to the doctor because my job did not provide insurance and I was not entitled to Medicaid. I don’t know how I will ever repay them for this.

I was and still am in shock and in disbelief that complete strangers could help me like they did. I cried all the way home and told everyone close to me about my visit.

Like thousands of pregnancy centers around the world, Hope offers pregnancy tests, advice on pregnancy options, childbirth and parenting education, as well as hardware items, such as maternity and baby clothes, strollers, and baby seats. auto, all for free. Last year, the center received 1,780 client visits.

“What Hope does for struggling mothers and children in the community must be the Lord’s work,” Mary wrote. “More than just material support, Hope gave me strength. It reminds me of how strong I am and that my situation would be difficult for anyone. But I can do it. I am a single mother who has left her abuser, but I am not alone.

Far from being alone, Mary has an entire “army” of support, rooted for her success.

“One of my favorite quotes from Mary is when she said she felt like as soon as she chose life, this whole army surrounded her to support her and give her the strength to be a mom, ”James said. “It is our goal in these pregnancy centers, not only to provide for material needs, but also emotional and spiritual ones. What if she hadn’t obeyed the Lord’s call to bear her child? Where would she be? Praise be to God, we will never know! “

Tweet this: “It is our goal in these pregnancy centers, not only to provide for material needs, but also emotional and spiritual”

Today, Mary’s son, Dominic, is a thriving one-year-old, and he and Mary continue to be enriched by Hope’s work. Mary participates in the Friends in Hope mentoring program which matched her with, whom she calls, a “beautiful single mom who has a son my age and has been with me every step of the way.”

Dominique / Lisa Bourne

Plus, one of Hope’s donors gave Mary and Dominic a free professional photoshoot. And when Mary’s work reduced her salary, the center supported her in prayer, providing additional material help as well.

“Now I have a new job with benefits, praise God,” she wrote.

On top of all this, last January the center gifted Mary and Dominic a trip to Washington DC for Heartbeat International. Babies go to Congress, an annual event where women assisted by pro-life pregnancy centers share their incredible stories with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The event precedes the annual March for Life in which hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists peacefully march to end abortion.

Along with five other brave moms, Mary shared her poignant story in the halls of Congress.

“Today we met some pretty important people”, she said Pregnancy Help News at the time. “It’s a memorable experience.

“God can use our breaking for his glory when we submit to his will,” said James. “He gave this baby to Mary for a specific purpose. This pregnancy, this new life, gave her the strength to say “No” to her attacker, the strength to leave him and the strength to embrace the light as she lived in darkness. She is completely transformed and praises God for His mercy in doing so.

From surviving domestic violence to sharing her testimony in the nation’s capital, Mary has come a long way in the past few months, and she is grateful to one place in particular for helping her make it happen.

“Because of hope, there is a place people like me turn to when they have nowhere to turn,” she wrote. “A place where I started a whole new family. A place where they do the Lord’s work and share his hope.

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