The Value of Talking Less and Listening More

The Value of Talking Less and Listening More

At Options, when we meet with women who come to us for help with their pregnancy decisions, we believe it is important for us to talk less and listen more. We never assume we know what our clients need or want from us. We wait until they feel comfortable enough to share their stories and to communicate their needs.

Every woman has a story.

Most women come here as a first step in coping with the news that they are pregnant. There’s so much to figure out. They may need verification from a pregnancy test or a free first-trimester ultrasound to help decide their next move.

It’s true, we offer those services to all women who enroll as our clients including a  lot more awesome support, but as many of our former clients have told us, the best thing that we do is to listen. 

Maybe you are someone who doesn’t know what to do about your pregnancy.

Maybe you have a lot more to figure out than how far along you are or if you even want to carry and give birth.

Maybe you don’t know where to begin your pregnancy journey or maybe you are not sure how your pregnancy story will end. 

When your story branches off into the unknown, we show up to listen – if you want to share. The medical data you received at Options in the form of pregnancy verification, due date, and ultrasound results are greatly valued because it is your information. How you feel about your pregnancy is equally valued, though often underestimated. Feelings can be complex, not only affecting your pregnancy outcome but also your health, your well being and your future. 

Options respects your own ideas and concerns about your pregnancy and the circumstances surrounding you. We’ll never jump in to tell you what to do but we will respectfully listen as you share information that will help you to create your own action plan. We pay attention to what is important to you; only then can we help and only if you want it. 

Sometimes talking about a problem out loud with someone who won’t judge or interrupt you can bring peace and clarity. Keeping fears and anxieties trapped inside can cause negative thoughts that turn into emotional suffering and mental anguish. Sharing with someone who cares can be freeing, and can bring relief in knowing that you are not alone. 

Even if the only thing we do at Options is to listen, you will leave here knowing that you have been heard.

“Having someone who listens is a great gift, but to be truly heard is a treasure.” 

― Tatjana Urbic


Pathways to Integrated Care During Pregnancy

Pathways to Integrated Care During Pregnancy

Any woman who has white-knuckled a  home pregnancy test knows that in an instant,  her life could change forever. This goes double if the pregnancy is unplanned.

Maybe that woman is you.

Zoning in on the positive results, you’re not thinking about cells dividing in your uterus and hormonal changes. For you, it’s more about the questions multiplying in your mind and the wide range of emotions you are feeling. Instinctively you know that there’s more at play than biology.  

What’s next? 

Your pregnancy, whether you choose to carry or not, is a primary health concern, that needs attention, but you may have other needs besides medical ones that will influence your pregnancy decision, and that will also affect you physically, emotionally, socially and economically.

You are more than a walking womb with a baby growing inside.

Options for Women is a pregnancy support center that offers all pregnant women help with medical care at the early stages of pregnancy while considering their options for the future.

But that’s not all.

Our integrated care approach addresses you as a whole person to include early prenatal intervention as well as attention and care to all other areas of your life that will be affected by your unplanned pregnancy.

We begin with pregnancy verification and a free first-trimester ultrasound to jumpstart prenatal care or to provide you with decision making support as you consider your next move.  Our navigators link you to vital services such as health insurance and prenatal care providers. We will help you get the care you need based on your individual health needs and desires.

Our integrated care approach considers your feelings about your pregnancy and what matters to you during this time. At your request, we’ll review all your options with you and listen to each of your concerns. We offer abortion education, parenting options, and if desired, adoption and parenting support. 

Do you have trouble with anxiety?  Housing concerns?  How will the pregnancy impact your finances? -Your relationship with the father of the baby? Your education, -your job? Experiencing difficulty with just one of these issues can cause stress. We’ll help you to examine the stressors in your life and to find ways to limit them during and after pregnancy.

We’ll help you to identify or to create a social support system and a circle of trust. It’s important to your overall health to know that you are not alone during times when you feel vulnerable and at risk.

Do you have mental health concerns or substance abuse issues?  Domestic troubles at home? No shame. We will navigate you towards the services that will make a difference in these areas of your life. We’ve built bridges in the community for you to cross with confidence. 

Our pathways to integrated care begin with our navigators who are trained to listen and help.  They, together with you, and with our nurse manager will help you design an integrated care plan that is just right for you.

There are so many factors that affect overall health especially during pregnancy, and not all of them are physical. We want you to know that at Options for Women our specialty is you, all of you – not just pregnant part.

What’s Your First Response to Your Unplanned Pregnancy?

What’s Your First Response to Your Unplanned Pregnancy?

Your period is late.
Your hands shake as you tear open the home pregnancy test and your heart pounds in your chest while you wait for the results.
Two lines appear.
To be sure, you take another test with the same results.

Just as your stomach takes a flying leap into your throat, your eyes refocus on the two blue lines. Blood rushes to your head, making you feel a little dizzy, as you try to grasp the reality that Yes, you are pregnant.

Is abortion your first response?

If you said yes, and abortion is your go to strategy because you are panic stricken about your pregnancy, you should probably take some time to calm down before you move on that abortion decision. It’s likely that you are not thinking clearly while you are in a state of emotional crisis.

Research shows that when we are under extreme stress or anxiety our “thinking power” is impaired because blood and oxygen flow to other parts of the brain instead of our problem solving center (the prefrontal cortex).

In short, when we experience overwhelming emotional stress our IQ goes down about 15 points and we can’t think straight. At this point disastrous thinking takes over and causes more pressure on our psyche, weakening our decision making power and our creativity. Our logic is clouded and we are vulnerable to making a choice we will most likely regret.

While the quick decision made under extreme stress may provide short term relief, it is usually not the decision that will bring us the best possible outcome, especially if that quick decision results in abortion. Many women experience intense emotional suffering long after a panic driven abortion decision and wish they had taken more time to consider their options.

So instead of heading to the abortion clinic as your first response to an unplanned pregnancy, retreat from crisis mode and cool down. The brain, like any machine, can’t function when it is overheated.

Here are some tips to follow when you feel overwhelmed with making a pregnancy decision:

Give yourself a time out to recharge.
Breathe deeply and take inventory of how and what you are feeling.

Stop overthinking and imagining the worst.

Get out of your environment and away from external pressures. Go to a quiet place that is peaceful and where you can relax.

Talk to someone who is objective and who doesn’t have a stake in your situation.

Don’t assume how you are feeling at the moment is how you will always feel in the future.

Stay open to new information. Get all the facts before acting on impulse.

Ask for help if you need it.

Believe in yourself and trust that you have the courage to do what is right.

Giving yourself time and distance from crisis thinking can make all the difference in your pregnancy decision.

Remember, just because abortion was your first response doesn’t mean it has to be your final one.


Why Options is Your Go-To Place for Unplanned Pregnancy

Why Options is Your Go-To Place for Unplanned Pregnancy

“Wow! I can’t believe the heartbeat sounds so strong!”

Hearing the first sounds of life during an ultrasound was a revelation to Stephanie, an Options client who was considering abortion.

Before her Options ultrasound, Stephanie* thought she would have an abortion but when she left, she wasn’t so sure. Hearing her baby’s heartbeat and learning that she had a viable pregnancy were new pieces of information that were potential game changers.

As vital as the ultrasound was to her decision making process, Stephanie almost didn’t have one because of the way she was treated at another pregnancy center.

A few days earlier, Stephanie scheduled an online appointment with another agency because their website promised free ultrasounds on the first visit. She figured she could have her scan even sooner than the one she scheduled with Options. Since she was in crisis, she was impatient for medical information and eager for guidance about the health concerns that pulled her towards abortion.

She received neither.

Instead, when Stephanie and her boyfriend Adam arrived at that center, they were ushered into a waiting area where the receptionist confiscated their cell phones as a precaution against them shooting video.

Next, Stephanie met with a counselor who asked her questions about her faith. When pressed, Stephanie responded that she didn’t want to talk about God and religion but had come there because their website advertised free ultrasounds and pregnancy guidance. The counselor ignored Stephanie’s request and insisted that she review a religious website written by pastors for skeptics or else she would be denied the ultrasound.

Feeling confused and somewhat disrespected, Stephanie asked to have her’s and Adam’s cell phones returned, and then she left, without ever having the ultrasound.

“Their website was misleading. We went there under false pretenses. No one talked to me about my pregnancy options or my health and they didn’t answer any of my medical questions.I didn’t feel like they cared about me.I felt very pressured when I was there because they kept pushing their beliefs on me.”

Stephanie’s unfortunate experience at this pregnancy center made her doubt the legitimacy of Options’ claims as being a safe haven where conflicted women can receive nonjudgmental pregnancy counseling and a free ultrasound. Stephanie feared that she would again be put into a situation where she would be forced to view a religious website or be be told how she should respond to her own pregnancy.

Yet something told her to return to Options. She remembered how kind everyone was when she came here for pregnancy verification, and she really needed to talk to someone about her crisis.

Her boyfriend was being deployed with the military in a few weeks and he didn’t want a baby right now. To complicate matters, Stephanie had a preexisting condition that could endanger her life and impact this and future pregnancies. The ultrasound would help determine if she had an ectopic pregnancy.

Stephanie never expected to feel the way she did after she heard her baby’s heartbeat. When she met with her Options counselor she poured out her emotions. Stephanie admitted that she was leaning towards abortion because she felt it’s what Adam wanted.

Her counselor listened quietly and then asked Stephanie a pivotal question:

Did you ever tell Adam that you might feel differently?

This one gentle question jump started a frank conversation about abortion and opened the door for Stephanie and Adam to explore their options together.

As Stephanie left she admitted she had a lot to think about and thanked her counselor and nurse manager for the ultrasound and the time they both spent with her.

“You gave me the freedom to talk about all of my options. I knew Options was a Christian organization when I first came here, but you didn’t push me or preach at me. I feel like you really cared about me and you listened to how I felt. You do exactly what it says on the Options website. I’m so glad we came back.”

The promise of free pregnancy verification and ultrasound invites women like Stephanie to our center for the first time. Helping women to make an informed decision based on the facts is what we’re all about. But it’s the care and respect women find at Options that draws them back again and again.

As it was for Stephanie, ultrasound can be a powerful tool for learning about pregnancy and what’s happening to your body inside the womb. Some women see this opportunity as vital to their decision making process before ending a pregnancy or choosing to carry.

We’re are thankful Stephanie reconsidered and chose to have an ultrasound at Options despite her difficulties at another center. What’s more, we are encouraged that Stephanie returned to Options not because we gave her all the answers, but because she felt safe enough to ask all her questions.

Talking it Over is Better than Suffering in Silence

Talking it Over is Better than Suffering in Silence

You know that moment.

When you find out you are pregnant and you don’t want to be. Your first impulse is to google abortion and to make an appointment at a clinic that pops up on your cell phone or tablet.


But then doubt sets in. This isn’t me, you think. I would never do this. How can I have an abortion?

You spend your days in a daze, suffering alone with your decision.

Baby’s dad, if you told him, either lobbies for abortion or says he is cool with whatever choice you make, because it’s on you. And that’s the part that gets you –it’s all on you.

Next you go into seclusion, protecting yourself from others and hiding from your true feelings because it seems the safest thing to do. But did you know that according to Psychology Today agonizing alone over a problem only prolongs suffering and intensifies negative thoughts? Hiding from yourself now will only cause you more misery later.

Don’t isolate yourself from others who can help you. Find the courage to talk to someone you can trust.

Now is the time to get in touch with you. Speaking up for yourself in the presence of another person by telling your own personal story can help.

Instead of going into robo mode, ask yourself what matters to you. Share your story with someone who will listen carefully without interruption, who will look into your eyes and will try to understand so you can clarify your feelings. Reaching out for help is the very best thing you can do when you feel upset, overwhelmed or depressed.

Too many women suffer alone because of the stigma associated with a pregnancy decision. It’s remarkable to consider that even in the 21st century, women still feel they have to hide their true feelings from themselves and others, including the reasons why they want an abortion.

Talking about your reasons frees you from the burden of carrying their weight all by yourself. Sharing the challenges about your pregnancy lessens anxiety and fear.

Being heard is so close to being loved that to the average person they are almost indistinguishable. – David Augsburger

Break the cycle of loneliness and self – doubt. Come out of hiding and ask yourself the questions you’ve been avoiding with someone who will listen to you and not speak over you or tell you what to do.

Whether before or after an abortion decision, try to assess:

What do you need?

What do you want?

What are you feeling?

What would help?


Know what is going on inside you. Find your voice and you will find your power.

Yes, it’s on you.

And you have a right to be heard.

What a relief it is to know, that at Options, we will hear you out.

No matter what you decide.

Cruising Past the Curves of Accidental Pregnancy

Cruising Past the Curves of Accidental Pregnancy

Wouldn’t it be great if something like a Pavement Ends sign magically appeared at crucial moments in your life to warn you when things were about to get rough?

A sign would give you some time to brace yourself for what’s coming just before you hit the gravelly road and the bumps. You might even turn around and go back where you came from, slow down or choose a smoother path. The point is, a sign would help you to proceed with caution before you went any further.

Finding out that you’re accidentally pregnant can feel like you’re speeding out of control down a winding road with sharp twists and turns, headed for a crash. Whether it’s from hormones or the shock of finding out you’re pregnant, your emotions may be all over the place. If only you had known ahead of time that this would happen, you wouldn’t be in such a mess right now.

Where was that sign when you needed it?

Even though the road ahead seems impassable with a pregnancy that you never expected or wanted, you will get through this. Options can help you navigate the winding road, especially during the early weeks of your pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant and freaked out about your future, it might be time for you to get off the road and park at a rest stop. Many women like yourself have pulled over at Options where they were able to rest and reprogram their internal GPS until they felt ready to continue their journey with confidence and a better sense of direction.

Schedule an appointment to come in to talk with someone who will listen and care about what you are going through. You can learn how pregnant you are, discuss all the options that are open to you, and receive medical attention. We can help you plan your route and prepare you for what lies ahead at a pace that you set for yourself until you hit your cruising speed.

You don’t have to go through this alone.

Right now you may be feeling anything but peaceful but we promise you will find a calm oasis at our center where you can be yourself and feel refreshed.

Take a break from panic and fear, from speeding out of control.

Our staff will do everything within our power to help you feel comfortable and safe as you figure out what to do next.

Remember, when the pavement ends and the road gets rough, Options is here to help you safely navigate the twists and turns of your accidental pregnancy.