Pregnant in the waiting room.
Iris wants to arrange an abortion through her gynaecologist, but, torn over the decision, she contacts the SAMC helpline while still in the waiting room. (staged photograph)

Cry For Help From the Waiting Room

While sitting in the waiting room of her gynaecologist, Iris (27) nervously searches the internet on her cell phone for the topic of abortion, thus discovering the website of the SAMC. She immediately writes an e-mail to the helpline: «I am sitting in the waiting room at my gynaecologist’s office. I am pregnant … Actually, I am here to get an abortion. I am so confused. What should I do?»

After her commercial apprenticeship, Iris had a job with which she could live quite well. Her difficulties began, however, after losing the position due to the company’s reorganisation. She couldn’t escape unemployment and became dependent on Social Services. She was therefore overjoyed when she was finally hired for a new job. But now, midst in her trial period, she gets pregnant. Just not back to Social Services, she thinks, and resolves to arrange an abortion at her gynaecologist’s.

A Counsellor Responds Immediately

As Iris leaves the doctor’s office, she already has the answer from the SAMC’s counsellor on her cell phone: She can well understand her desire to have a child with the «right man». Unfortunately, one can never be sure to have found that «right man». The only sure thing is that the child is already here. It makes sense to get professional advice and help in any situation that looks hopeless. She has already made the first step towards this.

Shortly thereafter, Iris emotionally and tearfully describes her situation to the counsellor on the phone: She is terrified that a child would jeopardize her new career. Her boyfriend is traumatized from spending his youth in an orphanage and is still receiving treatment for it. He is drawing half of a disability pension. She cannot rely on him to raise and support the child – apart from the fact that he is totally against having the baby. Admittedly, her heart softened as she saw the baby in the ultrasound. Her heart is in favour of the child but her fears are against him. That is why she set an appointment for the abortion. Fear is a bad advisor, the counsellor points out to Iris. Getting an abortion out of panic, despite having feelings for the child, could weigh heavily on her later. It would definitely be fitting to explore the possibilities for a life together with the baby. So they both agree to a meeting at the SAMC.

The Abortion Pill in Her Hand

She doesn’t keep the appointment yet because she is still torn about what to do. Now she even goes to the hospital and asks to be given the abortion pill. But she does not take it. First she plans to attend that meeting at the SAMC.

When Iris arrives with a friend to talk to the counsellor, they end up talking for hours. The despairing woman is afraid that the baby will be an additional cost and would prevent her financial situation from improving. The counsellor dampens Iris’s pessimism by explaining that the SAMC could support her both materially and financially. It finally dawns on Iris: there is no reason to panic in the face of such concrete help. She feels immensely relieved and decides to keep her baby.

Unfortunately, what Iris feared actually did happen: her employer fires her during the trial period when he realises that she is expecting. As a pregnant woman she doesn’t find another job either and is forced to reapply for Social Services. She doesn’t allow anything, however, to shake her resolution to keep the baby. Rather, she grows in confidence as the SAMC helps prepare her for the birth and provides her with the necessary equipment for the baby. One positive development is that her boyfriend stops pressuring her to have the abortion.

Inner Peace as a Mother

After the birth of her son, Iris really blooms in her new role as a mother. «My child is the most beautiful thing that has ever happened in my life», she tells her counsellor. She thanks the SAMC warmly that they encouraged her to keep her baby and that they took away the fear of the future through their offering of tangible help. Their support is necessary, too, because Social Services suddenly claims that they had paid her too much in the past and now require that she reimburses them. The SAMC therefore provides Iris with monthly food vouchers until her financial situation improves so that she can make ends meet. Despite her difficult position, Iris is at peace: «I and my sunshine are doing wonderfully. It was a 100% correct decision to keep my baby», she writes to her counsellor.