The following comments are from women (and men) helped by free services for post-abortion issues, baby-loss and crisis pregnancy at The Beresford Centre
Names have not been listed in order to maintain client confidentiality.
“Thank you so much for helping me over the past year. I don’t know how I would have coped without you. I feel like a new person. I thought I would never get over the abortion but I did thanks to you. I’m in a really good place in my life and I am moving on. I will never forget what happened, but you’ve gotten me to cope with that. I love my baby so much and I’ll never forget him. But I’m still going to miss our counselling sessions. Also thank you for helping with me and my mum, we are getting on really well and thanks for helping me to get over - (boyfriend). Thanks for everything!”
“Thank you so much for all your help and support over the past couple of years. You helped me through one of the hardest difficult periods of my life. You really helped me get to a place in my life where I could gather the strength and get the courage to take the next step in trying for a family again and thank goodness we finally got there and have our amazing baby boy. You are a special person and the Beresford Centre is a very special place and we can’t thank you enough for all your help and support.”
I am not certain if you will remember me, but I wanted to write to you regardless. I came to you last year for a couple of counselling sessions (September/October). I was quite distraught, having found myself pregnant and very overwhelmed at the thought of being a mother. It was due to having pretty poor parenting as a child. Despite being 36 years old and stable in my personal and professional life as a psychologist, I still didn’t think I could go through with the pregnancy. I went as far as having two appointments at BPAS to end the distress I was experiencing. However, there was something in the time you gave me to think, the genuineness of your words and non-judgmental manner that helped me calm myself. Thankfully I paused long enough to now be writing you this letter one-handed – as baby R… is in the other! I gave birth (well, had an emergency c-section) to a beautiful baby boy on February 16th. He was 9 weeks premature and only weighed 3lb 11oz. He did amazingly well for 25 days in neo-natal care and is now home. He is surely one of the most loved and kissed babies in the world! It’s not often we get to know how we have helped people in our profession, as people often disappear without feeding back. So I just wanted you to reap the reward of how powerful your help and support was in my days of need. Many kind regards, DC and baby R.
PS. I forgot to say that part of my distress was also due to not having known my partner for a long time. We gave each other a chance and it has worked out beautifully. He is a fantastic partner and hands-on daddy! I feel like a lucky lady indeed.
“This programme has helped me to deal with the guilt I felt surrounding my daughter’s birth experience. My counsellor also helped me to unravel fears and emotions from my past that have added to my recent trauma. I understand the reasons for the feelings I have encountered, can now deal with them calmly and logically and I feel like myself again- happy, optimistic, energised and loving life!… I owe a debt of gratitude to my health visitor for referring me to the service”
“It helped me to understand that I was not the only person involved and how other events had influenced my behaviour at the time. I am now much more self-aware, reflective and open. Thank you for respecting my difficulties in receiving help”
“Early in October 2011 I found out that my girlfriend, L, was pregnant. To say the least, it was a shock, and a baby was certainly not on my list of things to do.
For around three weeks, myself and L laughed, cried and talked for hours upon hours about what we were going to do. I was numb and for a long time, did nothing but sit in my bed and cry. Nothing could take the pain away from the situation, but the biggest problem was that nothing could help us make up our minds. L didn’t know what she wanted, but I did. I wanted my life back, my simple, joyous and easy going life. What I didn’t want, was L to have to go through the ordeal of an abortion, and for my relationship to be ruined as a consequence.
The hardest part was telling friends and family, because everyone bombarded you with opinions that you neither wanted nor needed. If our minds were cloudy before we told our families, they were thunder storms afterwards. We were lost, and needed help. For three weeks, we went round in circles. L didn’t want to ruin my life by making me do something that I didn’t want to do, and I didn’t want to ruin her life by making her abort a child she could potentially want. All I wanted was to look in the mirror and like the person I saw looking back.
So what could we do? We didn’t want to make the decision, but it was more we couldn’t make the decision. We received such subjective and opinionated advice, that it was very difficult to take any real help from it all. What we needed, though we did not realise it at the time, was some objective and constructive help, someone that didn’t know us, someone like M from the Beresford Centre.
We had heard from my mother, that pregnancy crisis centres existed. L and myself searched for local ones on the internet and found the Beresford centre, where we met M. A kind, caring and loving woman who was going to help us make the biggest decision of our lives. The first thing I noticed about M was the positivity and kindness that she emits. Though I had only known her for a few seconds, I knew that she cared and that what happened to us, mattered to her. She explained to us what we were going to do. She was going to take L away, then myself, and then we were to meet together. She made the process clear and made sure we knew what to expect. After forty five minutes, L returned to the waiting room and I went in with M. Initially, I was a little reserved. The worst part about unplanned pregnancy is the fear of being judged. I won’t lie when I say that I was desperate for L to have the abortion. I could see my hopes and dreams slipping away. The issue was, I didn’t want to tell anyone. You feel despicable, and hate yourself for thinking that way. I just didn’t feel ready, and it wasn’t what I wanted. So I chatted to M, and started off slow. I eased myself into the conversation before she invited me to boldly tell her what I wanted from the situation. She smiled and told me that it was OK to feel the way that I was feeling. She then told me that if that was the route we took, she would support us through it. If I am completely honest, I expected to be judged, and I expected M to try and tip the scales in one direction or the other. In actual fact, she was beautifully neutral.
So after my chat, L came into the room. We talked about how we felt and what we wanted. We drew graphs of what we our minds thought, and what our hearts thought. They were all fairly pragmatic and anti-baby thoughts, apart from one tiny point L had written down that was from her heart. It read ‘I can feel it growing inside me’. Once I had read that, I knew we were having a baby. As I said above, I just wanted to look in the mirror and like what I saw. To L, that baby was a real thing, and there was no way she was going to have an abortion if she saw that baby as something that was alive. I didn’t want her to kill something she saw as living. M knew it, and I knew it. I broke down and cried. I did feel like my life was over, but I was also relived that I finally knew what was going on. For nearly a month I was in limbo and it was nice to be out, even if it was the situation I did not want. So for the next six months, the centre was our light at the end of the tunnel, and our pillar of strength. We would have weeks where we would really struggle, and I personally would count down the days in until we reached our safe haven and talked through our doubts, our plans and our future. So, six months later, baby E was born. She was 6 pounds and 8 ounces and was born naturally with only gas and air. I look at E now and can’t imagine my life without her. It is hard, it is always going to be hard, but it is the best kind of hard. I say that she is the reason for the bags under my eyes and the smile on my face.
Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to the staff at the centre, for saving my daughter’s life. She’s my whole world, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without her, in fact, I don’t ever want too. ”