Hope for the Hurting

Oct 202005
Authors: Amber Baker

With children comes huge responsibility. Not only are you responsible for feeding, clothing, educating and protecting them for at least the first 18 years of their lives, but every decision you make will somehow impact them and shape them into a person who will either choose to do good or evil.

It's a lot for one person to take on. Having two people to share the responsibility makes it easier to handle, but in no way does it lessen the responsibility.

Once you have a child, your life will never be the same. That's something you can bank on.

When young people, especially college students, find themselves embroiled in the predicament of an unplanned pregnancy, it's not uncommon that many of them balk and try to find a way out of it. Abortion is usually the easiest route to choose. One simple procedure is all it takes. No one has to know, and you can get on with your life hardly without a ripple of disruption.

But what about the things no one tells you? Like how it will affect you emotionally and physiologically? Like how maybe five or 10 years down the road when you get married and are ready to start your family, that abortion will come back to haunt you and you'll start wondering: was it a boy or a girl? What would he or she be doing right now?

At the Alpha Pregnancy Resource Center, this is what many of the counselors hear from both men and women who have experienced abortion in their past.

Sometimes they come in years after the abortion and are so consumed with grief and regret they can hardly talk about it. Others appear outwardly fine, but inside they are being eaten alive by those suppressed emotions they have buried deep.

The Alpha Center offers a way for hope and healing. With their non-profit ministry, they offer free lay counseling and a Biblically based, post-abortion support group called Hearts Restored that focuses on healing. The support group runs for 10 weeks and takes place twice a year.

"It's a safe place to discuss your past and explore emotions," said Cris Flippen, the director of client services at the Alpha Center. "We keep everything completely confidential."

For the young men who arrive at the Alpha Center either with pregnant girlfriends seeking information on abortion or burdened with remorse for influencing a girlfriend to have one, male counselors stand by to listen and offer advice.

James Stevens, a nutrition graduate student at CSU, volunteers his time as an on-call counselor for the Alpha Center. He's able to reach out to these young men and understand where they're coming from because he's personally experienced the effects of abortion in his life.

Four and a half years ago, as he was on the verge of beginning the master's program at CSU, his girlfriend became pregnant.

Worries of finances, how he would be able to support the child and whether or not he would make a good father led Stevens to the decision that they should have an abortion.

Despite his girlfriend's reluctance, they followed through with their decision. Six months later they became pregnant again and decided to have another abortion. This time, Stevens' girlfriend, Kelly, objected vehemently. Yet they went ahead and scheduled to have an abortion.

Then, on the day of the abortion, something strange happened.

"Something came over me," Stevens said. "I got upset about it and decided, too that we weren't going to go through with it. We'd done it once and that was painful for Kelly, and to a lesser degree painful for me as well."

They decided to have the baby.

"But we knew the repercussions would be difficult," Stevens said. "We knew there were going to be huge obstacles to overcome, and we just decided we were going to deal with it."

Stevens often counsels young men whose girlfriends are facing an unplanned pregnancy and are daunted by the responsibility of raising a child.

"I share my story with them and how I've made it work for our family," he said. "You can overcome all sorts of obstacles and shortcomings you feel with yourself as a potential father."

Stevens has witnessed people who have changed their decision 180 degrees and decided to go through with the pregnancy.

"I realized how much joy a child can bring into your life," he said. "You never see people who regret having a baby, but all the time you do see people who regret having an abortion."

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