The Dreaded Double LineAdd Comment
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My hands trembled as I set the plastic stick on the bathroom counter. Then I started to pray. It was an incoherent prayer at best as my mind spun with a million different thoughts. Add Comment
Please, God. No double line, I prayed. Please, please, please, Lord!
I looked at my watch. What seemed like 20 minutes had only been 20 seconds. I felt a little woozy, so I sat down on the corner of the bathroom tub and leaned forward, cradling my head in the palm of my hands.
I tried taking deep, calming breaths, but nothing could stop me from freaking out. What would I do if this test came back positive? Just the thought of it paralyzed me.
I checked my watch again. It was time to find out if my life was about to change forever. I stood up, walked to the counter, and looked down at the plastic stick.
It was the dreaded double line.
My head started throbbing, and my mouth went dry.
No! This can’t be happening, I thought as my heart pounded harder and faster.
This can’t be real. I’ve only had sex one time ever! How could I get pregnant the first time?
I squeezed my eyes shut, then opened them again in hopes of finding a different result. But the dreaded double line remained.
Dazed and confused
For the next week I lived in a zombie-like state, meandering the school’s hallways, zoning out in class, and staring into space, as if I were inhabiting someone else’s body. I’m sure my friends could sense that something was wrong, but thankfully they didn’t push me for details. I couldn’t tell them—or anyone else—what had happened. It was too humiliating. Who gets pregnant the same night they lose their virginity?
To make matters worse, I wasn’t even dating the guy who had gotten me pregnant. In fact, I didn’t even really like him. I don’t know why I had hooked up with him. I was so mad at myself. The shame of what I had done was eating me up inside. After a week of silence I decided that I had to talk to somebody.
Someone to talk to
The next morning when our English class went to the library to do some research, I pulled my friend Christy aside.
“I need to talk to you,” I said softly. Then I ushered her over to a corner table and proceeded to spill my guts. By the time I had gotten to the pregnancy part, Christy’s eyes were as big as saucers.
“Have you told your parents?” she asked.
“No!” I said adamantly. “I can’t do that! They would kill me if they knew I’d had sex. And if they knew I was pregnant? That would probably kill them!”
“Maybe your guidance counselor could give you some advice,” Christy said.
“Mrs. Helzberg? Are you kidding me?” I asked. “She’s older than my grandma!”
“Are there any teachers you trust?” Christy asked.
“I don’t wanna talk to any stupid teachers about something this personal.”
“Well,” Christy continued, “I can introduce you to my minister. He’s a really nice guy, and I’m sure he’d be happy to talk to you.”
I rolled my eyes in irritation. I was starting to regret having shared my secret with Christy. It seemed as though all she wanted to do was hand me off to someone else.
“Hey, if this is too much for you to deal with, that’s fine!” I said in a huff.
“No, no!” Christy said. “It’s not that. I just don’t know how to help you.”
“Who says I need help?” I snapped. “I’m gonna . . . take care of it.”
“You don’t mean . . . ” Christy’s voice trailed off.
“It’s the only solution,” I said.
“No, it’s not,” Christy insisted. “Just think about this.”
“What do you mean think about it?” I asked. “This is all I’ve been thinking about for the past 10 days! It’s why I can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t concentrate. I can’t endure nine months of this. I need to fix this. Now!”
Drowning in regret
As it turned out, the dreaded double line was not nearly as bad as the dreaded appointment. I went alone. It was terrifying. It was painful. And it messed with my head and my heart in a way that I never expected. Before the abortion, I didn’t think I could mess up any worse than I already had. I’d had sex before marriage. I’d gotten pregnant. And then I hid it all from my parents. I just wanted to go back to my life before all of this. And I thought that would happen if I ended the pregnancy. But I was wrong. After the abortion I desperately wanted to rewind the clock and start the day over. But it was too late. I had made my choice.
Later that evening I went to Christy’s house. As soon as she saw my red, blotchy, tear-stained face, she knew what I had done. I stepped inside the doorway and collapsed into her arms, sobbing uncontrollably.
“I’ve messed up . . . so badly,” I cried.
“Sh,” Christy whispered. “It’s gonna be OK.”
“No, it’s not!” I said. “Not even close.”
“I know you’re hurting right now,” Christy said. “But God will take care of you.”
“No! That’s just it!” I exclaimed, choking back emotion. “I barely talked to God before all of this happened. And then when I found out I was pregnant, I cut Him completely out of my life. I was just so mad at Him for putting me through this.”
“You can always let Him back into your life,” Christy said. “God doesn’t hold grudges.”
“Why should He forgive me?” I asked. “I don’t deserve it.”
“That’s Satan talking,” Christy said. “He wants you to feel that you’re unworthy of salvation. Don’t give him that power. You may have made some choices that have left you feeling angry and bitter and scared. But, Felicia—we are all sinners. We just have to ask the Lord for mercy. He’ll forgive us.”
“I-I . . . I’m so ashamed,” I sputtered quietly.
“I know,” Christy said. “But God still loves you.”
Growing with God
The following week I decided to take Christy up on her offer to meet with her minister. He reinforced everything she had said—about how God would see me through anything. I still felt ashamed about what I’d done, but as the days passed and I continued my conversations with God, I started feeling better about myself . . . and closer to God.
When I took that pregnancy test, my life really did change forever. But it wasn’t the kind of change I had envisioned. Out of that sad, scary time came something wonderful. I developed a growing relationship with God. And for that I will be forever thankful.
* Name has been changed.
Helping Hurting Her
If you have a friend who is considering abortion, it can be tricky figuring out what to say or do. You may fear sounding preachy or pushy, but the fact that your friend opened up to you means that she trusts your judgment and would appreciate your guidance during this scary, stressful time.
Start off by reminding your friend that she is not alone, because chances are that right now, that’s exactly how she’s feeling—alone, afraid, and incredibly vulnerable.
Honestly, deep down, your friend may not even want an abortion. Her judgment is currently messed up as she struggles to come to grips with what she may perceive as a soiled reputation and a dismal future fraught with financial hardship, lack of support, and intense sleep deprivation. A quick procedure to rid her of her “problem” could sound awfully tempting. I can have the abortion and get on with my life, she may be thinking.
Explain that you understand why she’s inclined to think only of how this pregnancy will affect her life. Nevertheless, the reality is that there is a tiny, helpless life at stake that doesn’t get a vote in what happens next. Ask her to think about the guilt and remorse she might feel years down the road if she aborts her baby.
Set up a meeting with a counselor, minister, or trusted adult who can help provide personal counseling options and educational resources on fetal development, adoption, financial assistance, and raising children.
Finally, through this talk and any others you have with your friend, remind her that she is a child of God and, as such, is worth so much to Him. God loves her and the baby growing inside her. All life is precious to God, and He doesn’t ever want anyone to get an abortion. He can and does, however, offer forgiveness to people who have had abortions.
Check out the following Web resources: www.adventsource.org/as30/store-productDetails.aspx?ID=21286#, www.heartlink.org/bea
voice/pregnant-considering-adoption-or-parenting-had-an-abortion/, www.mops.org, http://sunlighthome.org/, www.harborhouse.org.
Also, direct your friend toward local Christian support groups for teen moms. You can find this information by calling your local church or your local child and family protective services organization.
Regardless of what you do, make sure you show her the love, grace, and mercy of God. Never forget that when you were still a sinner, Jesus died for you (see Romans 5:8).
Christy Heitger-Ewing writes from Avon, Indiana. This story was originally published in the October 10, 2010, issue of Encounter. Reprinted by permission.
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