Margaret suspected she was pregnant again. It was something, however, she did not plan on. “I just had a gut feeling that I was pregnant. I took the test and sure enough I was. I was a little bit excited and I thought, ‘Well, it’ll work out. You know, it is what it is. I will make it work.’ But I was nervous about telling Bill. How would he take it? Bill had always said he wanted no more kids. Actually, he did not want any kids. So now I have to tell him I am pregnant. I was really, really nervous.”
Although Margaret was apprehensive about telling Bill she was pregnant, she also knew she needed help and support. “When I told Bill I was pregnant, he ran. He was not happy. He said, ‘No, you can’t be pregnant. You can’t have a baby, take plan B.’ I said, ‘Well, it’s a little late for that.’ He said, ‘You need to get rid of it.’ I said, ‘I can’t do that.’”
Bill was adamant about not wanting the baby and told Margaret, “If you have an abortion, I will be with you through it and will stay with you.” Margaret told him, “I can’t do it,” and he said, “Then, I won’t stay with you and that is that.” Margaret realized that Bill bargained their relationship for the life of their baby.
Not wanting to have an abortion, Margaret was on her own. She did not know what she was going to do, but she knew she needed help. “I needed to figure out how I was going to do things by myself and I only had limited time to figure it out. I was really desperate to find some help. I called 411 and they gave me the name of the First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center in Stevens Point. And so, I thought, well, let’s give it a shot and see what it’s about. It’s been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s been a miracle, like it’s helped me so much I can’t even say enough good about it.”
Thoughts about the decision to keep her baby did stir up questions in Margaret’s mind during her pregnancy. She said, “At first, I knew it was a bump in the road, but it would work out. Yeah, and then Bill left. But I was very happy with my choice to not end the pregnancy. But then I’ve had moments of: ‘Not that I didn’t want the baby, but I did not want to be pregnant; I didn’t want to have to go through this; I didn’t want to be pregnant alone; How was I going to make it?’ I had feelings like that for a while and then I pulled myself up.”
The thought of being alone weighed heavily on Margaret. “I begged Bill to come back for a while because I did not want to be alone. Yeah, I’m pregnant and I thought that he could love his child, but for some reason he didn’t. I believe there is a brokenness here in [a father] not to be able to connect with his own child.”
“If I can say anything about my pregnancy, it would be that it has changed my life. It has done so much for me. I am happy I chose life.”
First Choice provided the help and support Margaret needed during her pregnancy. She said, “They really helped reassure my decision to keep the baby. It made me more confident in myself to realize that I can do it on my own and that things will get better. It helped make me stronger. I mean it was kind of like a crutch to lean on when I needed that extra support. I don’t know how I would have made it through my pregnancy without the center.”
Life was not easy for Margaretduring her pregnancy. There were many challenges that needed to be overcome. Margaret recalled everything that happened during the past year. “I found out I was pregnant. Bill left me. I begged him to come back and then he left me again. This was probably the biggest challenge throughout the pregnancy.
“Then my car broke down, which was a monumental expense that I could not afford to pay for on my own. Thankfully, the center helped me apply for a grant from Wisconsin Right to Life to get my carfixed. It is scary to think of where I would be without the Pregnancy Center—if I hadn’t ever called 411.
“It was a struggle doing thingson my own. Like simple things, you know, like getting the baby’s room ready and putting the crib together by myself and moving boxes and all that and then going to the doctor’s appointments and going to the mall alone and then COVID-19 hit.
“Then I had the stress of delivering the baby alone, without having the person who is supposed to be there—the father. It’s difficult deciding who to pick to be your support person when they don’t have that connection with you like the baby’s father. So that was another huge challenge, because, with the COVID-19 virus concern, they don’t let just anyone come and visit. So that was hard.
“Now that Elizabeth is 3 months old, it’s just a lot of running around without having help picking her up and dropping her off at child care and taking her to appointments. You feed the baby, you try to get into a routine when you are on your own, it’s been a struggle. It’s been a learning curve, sure, but we are getting there.
“Child care is a huge thing and, thankfully, my grandparents baby-sit four days a week for me. I know that’s a lot on them and it’s still hard for me, too. I’m thankful I have them right now because I couldn’t afford child care.
“I’m a single mom with two full-time jobs. I don’t receive child support or government assistance because I make enough to disqualify me for financial assistance.”
Despite the hardships, the challenges and the trials of life that Margaret has experienced as a result of her pregnancy and being a single mom, she still has a positive view of life. “I think my experience has made me a stronger person and it’s made me realize that I can handle a lot more than I thought. Right now, everything I do is for my kids—100 percent. I try to be as strong as I can be for them and try to teach them the values of different things. I do it even if it’s hard and I am tired. It’s important for them, so I do it.”
Margaret says, “If I can say anything about my pregnancy, it would be that it has changed my life. It has done so much for me. I seriously cannot say enough good things about it. For any woman who is pregnant and has any type of struggle, I would recommend they visit a pregnancy resource center. They are life-changers. They helped me get through things that I did not think I could get through. I am happy that I chose life.”
Story by CINDY BRENGOSZ,
Executive Director of First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center
and ROBERT ROGERS
Published January/February 2021 Catholic Life Issue
First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center is one of a number of pregnancy resource centers located within the Diocese of La Crosse. Their mission is to reveal the love of Jesus by providing pregnancy and parent support and empowering women and men to make healthy and educated decisions for their future. Their services include pregnancy tests, ultrasound, decision making, parenting education classes, recovery Bible study programs, information for men and several other services. They welcome people of all faith beliefs. They do not refer for termination services.
Margaret, Bill and baby Elizabeth are fictitious names used out of respect for privacy. Their story is real and represents one of the many families served by the 14 resource centers in our diocese. First Choice Pregnancy Resource Center is located at 101 Division St. N in Stevens Point and 4011 8th St. S in Wisconsin Rapids. Information is available at firstchoiceprc.org.