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“Two lines!” As one of the pregnancy services counselors here at Hope Clinic for Women, I got used to saying (or at least thinking) this little phrase on a regular basis. Nearly every week, I saw pregnancy tests with those two little pink lines, which meant the pregnancy test was positive! After seeing a handful of positive pregnancy test, it was easy to normalize it and not think of the true implications of those words. “Two lines!” I tried to understand my clients, learn more about their circumstances, and support them in the way that they needed- that is what I loved and was trained to do. However, I could never truly know how it felt and what it meant that their test came back positive. I had never experienced the stress, the joy, the excitement, the shock, or the fear that comes with an unplanned pregnancy. Though I tried as hard as I could to understand my clients, I never truly knew what it was like to take a walk in their shoes.

A little over 3 months ago, however, I administered a pregnancy test that changed my perspective forever. Because this time, I was the client. At first glance, it looked like the test was going to be negative. However, I had to give it 3-5 minutes to process so that I could make an accurate reading! I thought, “5 minutes!!! I can’t wait that long!!!” I was so antsy that I had to just walk away and distract myself with TV while I waited. I walked back into the room where the test strip was sitting on the countertop, and sure enough, two lines. I thought maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me, so I promptly snatched it up and started inspecting it to make sure. Of course, my eyes were not deceiving me. I just stared at the test strip and said, “two lines!” These were the most exciting and frightening words I have ever uttered. I was feeling so many emotions all at once. “I am going to be a mommy!” “I hope I’m a good mommy.” “Are my husband and I ready for this?” “He’s going to be a great dad!” “Is the baby okay?” “I am going to love this baby so much!” “What am I going to do about school and work?” “We will figure it out.” “Are you sure Lord?” “Thank You Lord!”

This experience has allowed me to see my clients in a whole new light. My situation and set of circumstances is not exactly the same as anyone else’s, but on some level, I get it now. I understand the joy, the confusion, the fear, the shock, the stress, and the excitement. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are going through, an unplanned pregnancy is a shock to the system. I now have even more respect and empathy for the women who walk through our door. More than ever, my goal is to meet them wherever they are at and support them in any way I can. I want to know what those “two lines” mean to them and how it is going to affect their lives. Everyone’s story is different and has its own unique set of difficulties and obstacles.

Fortunately for me, I am very blessed. I have a house, a stable job, health insurance, food on the table, a college education, close friends, supportive family, an amazing church, a loving husband, and a relationship with the Lord. I see clients all of the time who have nothing on that list. Woah! I have all of these blessings and I still get anxious! I cannot imagine going through this experience without these things, like so many of our clients do. My own unplanned pregnancy has really helped me put things in perspective and has given me even more compassion for the women that we serve at Hope Clinic for Women. Our purpose, our mission, and our passion for touching lives and instilling hope means so much more to me than ever before. I am blessed to be a part of this ministry and I am so proud of the work that is done inside these walls (and outside these walls.) Hope Clinic for Women offers the resources, support, love, counsel, and hope that our clients may not receive anywhere else. There is song that says, “There is hope for the hopeless, rest for the weary, love for the broken heart, there is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing, He’ll meet you wherever you are. So cry out to Jesus.” I am so blessed and humbled by the fact that Hope Clinic for Women gives hope, rest, love, grace, forgiveness, mercy, and healing to women and families every day. We get to be Jesus to a world that so desperately needs Him.

Cassidy Nelson has been on staff for almost a year after starting as an intern with us. She supervises the BRIDGE Program (Building Relationships with Individuals and Directing them towards Gaining Education), the Maternity Home, and is also one of Hope Clinic’s counselors. Cassidy and her husband have been married for four years and are expecting their first child early next year.