Those who have never experienced a crisis pregnancy cannot begin to imagine the roller coaster of feelings flooding a woman in this situation. As a pregnancy counselor for the Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia (PCCV), to see clients’ breathlessness as they walk through the door; their raw, unreserved emotion as they unfold their story; and their utter relief upon finding truth and sanctuary in a life-affirming pregnancy center is both a heavy cross to bear and a heavenly joy.
Every time the door chimes or the phone rings, I know it is a divine appointment filled with opportunity. As I looked up from the front desk when Vera walked into the PCCV office, I knew there was going to be a connection between us.
Every client is unique. In my training, I learned that counselors have only seven seconds to welcome a client and assess her personality. In my first seven seconds with Vera, I saw that she was an action-oriented person with a bright smile and no-nonsense attitude. She came prepared with a list of questions; all she needed was a close friend, truthful answers and a comfortable couch.
I knew I always wanted a baby, but with my baby, I also wanted a husband and family… I know being a single mom is possible, especially in this day and age, but I didn’t think it was a possibility for me.
I was afraid to be pregnant because I was convinced that I could not make it work financially. My family was far away, and Chloe’s father wanted nothing to do with us. Ending the pregnancy would have been easiest; nothing in my life would have had to change. But even as these thoughts passed through my head, I think a larger part of me knew that Chloe was meant to be.
I confided in a friend at work. She helped me clarify my thoughts and realize I really wanted to have Chloe, but I was still scared. Eventually I found PCCV. [Vera was referred to PCCV by an abortion center employee who may be having second thoughts about abortion.] When I stopped by one day, I was looking for programs that might assist me financially to do this.
What I found was so much more. I found peace of mind. I found a great friend who drove three hours to come to Chloe’s baby shower. I found someone I could call and ask the silliest questions. My notebook is filled with ‘called Nicole about…’
The physical support—baby gifts, layette and especially the crib—were all very important, but having Nicole there for emotional support made all the difference in the world. Even my parents are so thrilled that I found PCCV and had [Nicole’s] support. I felt in control and strong and, more importantly, not alone.
I was never pressured by PCCV. I had already made up my mind, but was afraid of the decision. Nicole just listened to me. She let me talk, and by the time we were done, there was Chloe. I would say, ‘She is a dream come true, but …’ PCCV helped remove the ‘buts’ and let me enjoy the rest. I started thinking that I could do it, and I did. I made the perfect little room fit for a princess with just a crib and a coat of paint. I even used the bedspread from my childhood room. PCCV was there for me whenever I needed them. It meant so much to me.
If I had to give advice to others in my situation, I would say, ‘Get over the fact that you need to ask for help! The hardest thing in my life was to ask for help. Yes, you are great, beautiful, talented and successful, but sometimes even the best of us need help.’ I know it is hard to ask, believe me. I wasn’t going to ask. I thought I was too good for it. I mean—I went to college. I have a graduate degree. Why would I need help, right? But I did! My pregnancy, my life and Chloe’s life wouldn’t be so peaceful if I had not asked for help.
A passion for life
PCCV’s goal is “to reduce the abortion rate in the central Virginia Piedmont area.” Its board recently approved the following mission statement, which speaks both of its high standards of Christian ministry as well as its uncompromising care for women, men and children at its four centers in central Virginia.
The Pregnancy Centers of Central Virginia is a life-affirming Christian ministry committed to:
HOPE for women, men and their families facing issues of unintended pregnancy;
HELP through free and confidential counseling, education, medical services and adoption referrals;
HEALTH by empowering individuals to make self-controlled, healthy lifestyle choices;
HEALING through physical, emotional and spiritual support.
These four simple words—hope, help, health and healing—inspire PCCV’s counselors, staff and volunteers to serve their community with a steadfast love of neighbor. A clear and unwavering love of Christ fires their passion for life.
The differences between PCCV and abortion clinics are stark. PCCV knows that although every crisis seems like a threat to our sense of well-being, God’s love will give us the strength to get through it, and it gives us an opportunity to grow and learn about ourselves. Unlike an abortion business, at PCCV, clients are not reduced to being merely a number or patient file. Clients are treated as empowered individuals and cared for lovingly by a pregnancy counselor at every step of the way. Whenever you feel like you might fall, your counselor is there to catch you. PCCV clients find friends and confidants in their counselors. Best of all, services are free and confidential.
A trained volunteer is always available to take calls on PCCV’s 24-hour helpline. Trained pregnancy counselors are available in person at PCCV’s centers, located in downtown Charlottesville, Albemarle, Orange and Culpeper. PCCV puts its counselors through rigorous certification training, on-the-job and in-services training, and regular evaluations. Clients can be sure that their pregnancy counselor will provide top-notch service.
Each center offers free, confidential pregnancy testing with immediate, reliable results. Clients can then discuss their results with a counselor and receive unbiased, accurate information on all options. Clients may also request information about free limited medical services; free baby and maternity supplies; and referrals for social services, legal services or medical care. PCCV does not give referrals for abortion or to abortion providers.
A post-abortion healing program consisting of a Bible study and support group is also offered several times a year. It is now called Forgiven and Set Free, because many participants have used such terms to describe its impact. One attendee commented, “I had no idea most of the bad things in my life were because of my abortion. I realize now just how strong of a hold Satan had on me, and I refuse to ever let that happen again. I am forgiven and set free, and I intend on staying that way!”
For more information, call 434-220-3777 or 1-800-395-HELP (4357) toll-free, or visit VirginiaPregnancy.org.