There Is Room at the Inn: This Christmas Party Is All About Mother and Child
A story of helping little ones and their moms.
In London a group of mothers are gathering for a Christmas party. They are all young, between 25 and 35 years old, and all have babies with them. But they have something else in common: They were all due to abort these babies who now play, sleep or cry around them.
Today, however, the babies are as loved and doted on as any newborn. The reason these mothers kept their babies is because someone outside an abortion facility offered them help — real help: money, accommodations and someone to listen to them. That person came from the Good Counsel Network (GCN), a London-based charity that helps women who find themselves pregnant and seemingly with few options other than to have an abortion, often encouraged or insisted on by a husband or boyfriend.
On Nov. 27, some of these mothers* spoke to the Register.
Families in Need
One of these women, Puja, came to believe she had no choice but to have an abortion. She was living in one room with her husband and 8-year-old daughter. Her husband’s work was low pay and insecure. As an immigrant from India, she was not able to find employment. When she found out she was pregnant, she instinctively wanted to keep the baby but her husband did not see how they could afford another child. Eventually, he persuaded Puja to seek an abortion.
Soon after, she made her way, alone, to an abortion facility and made an appointment for the procedure. As she approached the building for that second final appointment, however, she noticed people praying outside.
One of them approached her and handed her a leaflet. It spoke of “help.” Tentatively, she asked what that meant, not believing that anyone could really help her. She found what she had been hoping for: assistance to keep her baby.
Since that day, GCN has helped Puja and her family move to a larger property, even paying the rent for a number of months. In addition, they helped her through her pregnancy until her baby boy was born.
Puja tells the Register that her life was changed by that encounter with GCN. As she does, her eyes move to her child playing with toys. From time to time, she admits that, when seeing the joy this baby boy has brought into her life, there is still a remnant of guilt over what she had planned to do before he was born. A Hindu, Puja is clear as to how she regards the GCN: “These people are angels.”
Another young mother at the party, Arelina, already had two children when she told her husband she was pregnant again. Recently settled in the United Kingdom, though without legal status, the family had no income and no permanent home. She talked matters over with her husband. He had heard of an abortion facility nearby. Arelina, a Catholic, knew that abortion was wrong, but, in the end, she felt she had little choice.
As she walked to the abortion facility, Arelina noticed some people praying outside. Immediately, she felt a deep sense of guilt at what she was about to do. One of those praying approached her and handed her a leaflet and a Miraculous Medal.
Still, Arelina entered the abortion facility. Those inside were none too pleased to see the leaflet she carried in her hand.
Swiftly, the staff made an appointment to terminate the life of her unborn child. The date proposed was Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Arelina went home that day still clutching the pro-life leaflet. Depressed and desperate, she called the telephone number printed on the leaflet. Speaking years later, she simply says that from the moment she picked up the phone, her life changed.
“It was like an angel of God had appeared,” she recalls, echoing Puja’s epiphany about GCN. From then on, she received the help she needed, both practical and financial. Once the baby arrived, inevitably, there were additional problems, including a struggle to find proper accommodations for her family. But all of this was taken care of by GCN, who helped to find housing and then finance the family’s move.
Reflecting on the recent media coverage that has demonized GCN and their pro-life vigils outside abortion centers, so much so that they have been banned from praying outside one of London’s busiest centers, Arelina reflects on her experience. “I know the truth,” she says, “and how these people have helped me.” Then, pausing, she adds: “I love them so much.”
Also attending the party, China was in an abusive relationship when she found herself pregnant and felt pressured into having an abortion. Reluctantly, she recently went to make an appointment. Her misgivings were compounded by the fact that she had had an abortion decades earlier, at age 13, as a result of having been raped.
Like the other women at GCN’s Christmas party, she first encountered GCN when she was handed a leaflet as she entered an abortion facility. The facility staff were unhappy to see yet another potential customer holding a leaflet detailing alternatives to what they offered. They also refused to show China the ultrasound of her unborn child when she asked to see it, on account, seemingly, of the possibility of her changing her mind about the decision to abort.
Later, China contacted GCN and asked to see a scan of her unborn child, as GCN facilitates ultrasounds for expectant mothers. Immediately upon seeing the image of her child, with a body and a heartbeat, she decided to keep her baby. China’s life has been changed in other positive ways since her life-giving choice. When her baby is born (due just before Christmas this year), she will have her baptized Catholic. China has also decided that she, too, wants to be baptized Catholic, on the same day.
Tiffany is Catholic. One day, on a London street near her home, she met a Catholic nun who was giving out leaflets detailing the help offered by GCN. Tiffany placed the leaflet in her handbag and forgot about it — until, three months later, when she found herself pregnant. At that time, she was single, in debt and without stable accommodations. Abortion looked, to her, like the only solution. Then she found and read the pro-life leaflet.
Even after speaking to the pro-life people at GCN, Tiffany booked an appointment for an abortion. Inside the facility, while attending her initial appointment, she asked to see the ultrasound image of her unborn child.
Reluctantly, the staff turned the screen so that she could see: The baby in her womb was “jumping around.” She said it was like the child knew what was about to take place and “was trying to escape.”
Tiffany went home that day and broke down in tears. At that moment, she also remembered her family back in Africa, who gathered in the evening to pray the Rosary, and decided to keep her baby. She contacted GCN. Their help was swift and effective. What she valued more than anything was their emotional support throughout her pregnancy, culminating in some members of GCN being present with her in the hospital as her daughter was born.
Today, Tiffany wants to help other pregnant women who also feel that they have few choices. She hopes to start, with the aid of GCN, a support group for such women, to help them through pregnancy and into motherhood. Tiffany wants them to know the joy she experiences now as a mother. She has no regrets about having her baby: “God has blessed me with a beautiful daughter.”
Support for Moms and Babies
For 23 years GCN has been offering support and help to women who are pregnant. Their work is now hampered by so-called “buffer zones” in certain parts of England, which prevent these offers of support, with the possibility of these restrictions being extended across the United Kingdom.
But still the GCN perseveres. While the group still can, this Advent and then throughout Christmastide, its members will be standing outside such facilities, offering help, prayer and hope, but most of all offering a new life to both mother and baby.
Christmas is a busy time for GCN. Clare McCullough, the director of Good Counsel Network, told the Register that this is a time when more women than usual “turn around” at the gates of abortion facilities and, instead, decide to keep their babies. So, as a consequence, the Christmas party has more new faces each year.
These women are of many nationalities and come from many different faith backgrounds or none at all. But they have accepted the invitation to come to a party to honor the Child of a Mother who, like so many of them, was without accommodation and for whom there was seemingly “no room at the inn.”
K.V. Turley is the
Register’s U.K. correspondent.
*Names have been changed to protect the safety of
the mothers and babies.