Yesterday, during my morning workout, something the instructor said compelled me to freeze to the mat with my arms resting at my waist and my right leg poised to cross over my left.
“When you move from your center, it allows the rest of your body to relax.”
Wow, I thought. It’s really true. Feeling rooted and grounded to my center helped my body to find its own rhythm and to get into the flow of the routine, and before I knew it, I was enjoying myself. But that’s not why I stopped.
I stopped because at that moment I thought of our Options clients.
It occurred to me that most of the clients who come to us in crisis can’t find their center. Depending on the severity of their circumstances, they no longer feel connected to the core of their personal beliefs and values. Everything is out of balance. The crisis takes over. At this point, a woman in crisis will seek any means of stopping her life from spinning out of control, including abortion.
Celia was a client who considered abortion when her pregnancy test came back positive. She groaned at first as if she were in physical pain when she saw the results.
Oh noooooo, nooo, “ she said to no one in particular. “I can’t handle this!”
Celia was disabled with two older children, ages eleven and five. She thought she was done with having babies. She couldn’t imagine what her life would be like with another child at home. Celia said she never approved of abortion but that now – “she just didn’t know.”
Instead of moving from her center, Celia felt as if she were being pulled into several different directions at once. She was filled with anxiety about her future, plus feeling embarrassed and ashamed, like she should have known better. She fretted about the age differences between a baby and her two older children. She worried her network of friends would dissolve because she would be isolated at home with caring for an infant, and then there were the physical limitations associated with her disability. Mostly she feared the financial strain that another baby would put on her husband and how their future would be altered.
Celia’s thoughts were like the outter bands of a hurricane powered by her irrespressible anxiety.
Instead of moving from the center of what really mattered to her, Celia absorbed the energy of what she imagined everyone else would say she should do.
When Celia returned to Options months later, after giving birth to her son, she admitted to me:
“I was all over the place back then. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to myself and waited before I made my decision. I remember I was thinking some crazy stuff.”
Celia then and Celia now were two different people.
In the early days of her pregnancy, Celia had forgotten who she was because she had temporarily lost her center. When Celia saw her baby’s sonogram image at twelve weeks and heard his heartbeat, she began to find her way back to herself to where she could access the core of what really mattered to her: her faith, her family, her love for her children, and her hope for the future.
Time, discussing her anxieties and fears, and an ultrasound all helped Celia to regain her balance and to be at peace with her decision. To paraphrase the instructor from the exercise video:
She was able to relax [into her decision] when she moved from her center.
How many of us lose our balance from time to time, when we let our runaway thoughts and feelings take control instead of being rooted in our faith and grounded in our convictions? At such times, it is good to just stop and remember what really matters to us, to pray, and to wait for guidance. Options gives pregnant women who are in crisis a chance to do just that.
Celia will tell you that it is the chance of a lifetime.
– D. Master
* Client’s real name not used.