The Expectant Mother and the Pink Plastic Rosary
How one unborn child was spared through an unexpected encounter
In the winter of 2011, a young Romanian woman Alina Dulgheriu was trudging down a London street. She was eight weeks pregnant and on her way to an abortion center.
As she walked tears came to her eyes. She steadied her resolve as best she could while all around her the indifferent hustle of London continued, even as tears began to roll down her cheeks.
She was later to recount how two competing voices seemed to be speaking to her: one telling her to stop and turn back, another telling her to have an abortion.
Finally, the street she had been searching for came into view. As she drew near to the doorway of the abortion center, a woman approached her. She was from the pro-life group The Good Counsel Network and held out to her a leaflet with the image of a baby in a womb. Alina recognized the image instantly, for she had gone for a scan a few weeks previously. She had seen images on the screen of her unborn baby — a sight that had, unexpectedly, filled her with joy. She turned to the stranger still holding out the photograph.
“Can you help me?”
“Yes, I can help you,” the stranger replied.
The two began exchanging information and phone numbers.
At that moment, the door of the abortion center flew open. An employee of the center stood glaring at the two women talking.
But the older woman, who had offered to help, continued to look straight at Alina. Taking something from her pocket she handed it to the young woman. It was a pink plastic rosary. Alina took it. And, as she did so, she turned to the abortionist in the doorway and said, “They can help me.” And with that, Alina headed back down the street, away from the abortion center, accompanied by the woman whom she had just met. And in her hand Alina clutched the gift of the rosary.
That was not the end of the matter though.
Days later Alina would return to the same place.
The voices in her head kept telling her that the advice and the promises of help were too good to be true. Furthermore, if she did not go through with the abortion soon, she would have to keep the baby.
It had been on Oct. 3, 2011, when Alina discovered that she was pregnant. She telephoned the father of the child. His response: “You have to have an abortion.” But she didn’t want to. Instinctively, she knew that to have an abortion was wrong and explained to him that she wished to carry on with her pregnancy. He laughed mockingly down the phone line at her predicament.
Everything had changed for Alina on that morning when she discovered she was pregnant. She was working as a nanny in London. Until then, her employers were happy with her work — so much so that they had made her feel part of their family. She had a job, money and accommodation. When she told her employers that she was pregnant, immediately they asked her to leave. She was pregnant, unemployed and homeless in a foreign country.
Alina called her parents in Romania. Her mother told her to have an abortion.
In the end, she gave in and booked an initial appointment at the abortion center. Now, days after failing to go through with the planned procedure, she returned to the abortion center in at Whitfield Street in central London.
The same woman who had given Alina the rosary was once more standing outside the center. But this time Alina walked straight past her into the building.
Nonchalantly, the center receptionist handed Alina a form to fill out, and then sent her off to a dingy waiting room. She remembers a distinctly uneasy feeling upon entering the abortion facility. It was as if the center walls were closing in on her, suffocating her, crushing the life within her. Suddenly, as she was sitting there, the form still in her hand, her cell phone lit up.
“We can help you. We can help you today. We can help you now.”
She knew from whom this message had come. She also knew that at that moment the older woman was still outside, waiting to help. Immediately, Alina got up to leave.
But a center employee had been watching the expectant mother. And as Alina made to go, the center employee approached her, and then began presenting reason after reason why she must have an abortion, insistently, persistently.
Paradoxically, that was the moment that changed everything for Alina. As she stood looking into the face of another woman urging her to kill her unborn child, her thoughts turned to the woman standing outside who wanted only to care both for her and the child she carried in her womb. Alina felt a wave of revulsion at the place in which she stood. She turned and left.
She never returned. Soon after, Alina was found a place to live by the Good Counsel Network. She was assisted financially and was given support in attending various medical appointments. She was helped emotionally and practically throughout her pregnancy until, some months later, at a London hospital, a smiling baby was placed gently into her welcoming arms.
Subsequently, in the years since her own unplanned pregnancy, Alina has stood outside abortion centers. In fact, she has stood outside Whitfield Street abortion center. She had offered assistance to those entering the same place that, years previously, she too had gone to for an abortion. Sometimes, in prayerful vigil, she has stood alongside the older woman who had helped her.
And, while so doing, Alina carries a small item with her, one that has grown more precious as the years have passed from when it was first presented to her on a bleak winter’s day outside an abortion center — namely, a pink plastic rosary.