by Laura Knox, Options Now staff
Oh Nevaeh...what an adorable little sweetheart! She was cautious about this photoshoot. With one of our partnering photographers, Wes Sewell, capturing her from a little distance away, Nevaeh wanted her mama always within arm's reach. Her wide eyes of wonder took in all of her surroundings, quietly soaking in the new experience.
"She's a blessing," Nevaeh's mom quipped as we chatted on the phone after the photo shoot. I could hear Nevaeh playing in the background, my own 2 year old playing in the background at my house. Our "interview" was filled with pauses as we tended to our little ones...Fathiyyah pausing to stop Nevaeh from writing on the walls...me pausing to stop my own independent 2 year old from climbing on a barstool to get herself a snack. Fathiyyah & I shared laughter & commiseration....no matter who we are or what our lives are like, mamas of 2 year olds all share a pretty special bond!
As Fathiyyah shared her story with me, I could hear strength and determination in her voice, but I also could sense her road had been difficult. She had moved here from Miami with her husband a few years ago, but life didn't work out as planned. She found herself unexpectedly pregnant & alone. Fathiyyah had a 20 year old son--going back to the newborn stage wasn't on her radar. Raising a baby alone was not in the plans. A friend told Fathiyyah about Options Now, and she made an appointment. What she found at Options Now was support, a listening ear, a friend. Tammy, our Patient Services Manager, was her counselor. Fathiyyah summed up their relationship: "We got really close." An unplanned pregnancy is not something to walk through alone...having Tammy to meet with helped Fathiyyah through a difficult season of life.
Fathiyyah said that she appreciated Options Now's car seat program, which allows patients to earn credit toward a brand new carseat after completing the designated curriculum. She also was able to earn Repeat Boutique Thrift Store gift certificates during her pregnancy, which allowed her to buy items she would need for her baby & herself. She said this helped tremendously, "since I was starting over." In 2015, Options Now patients redeemed over $2000 worth of gift certificates earned at Options Now appointments, making Repeat Boutique Thrift Stores a vital part of ministering to women in our community.
Women come to Options Now in similar situations all the time--like Fathiyyah, maybe their relationship has dissolved or they're not in a place to financially support a baby or they are not expecting to have more children. Women in situations like these are all, because of difficult situations, vulnerable to considering abortion as an option for their pregnancies. When everything in your life is spinning out of control, an unplanned pregnancy can feel like the only factor in your life that you can "control" by "taking care of it." Our culture has sold us a line that abortion is an "easy fix" for the problem of unplanned pregnancy...Thankfully, Fathiyyah found support at Options Now instead of buying the line that there was an "easier" road, which would have led to so much heartache in the long run.
Nevaeh's bright eyes & her sweet, tentative smile were captivating during the photoshoot. I couldn't imagine the road her strong mama had walked in the past 2 years, but thankfully, Fathiyyah had found support at Options Now. Even in her darkest moment, God used Options Now to provide a friend & needed resources so that she didn't have to walk through an unplanned pregnancy alone.
Repeat Boutique Thrift Stores offer more than just great prices on discounted items. The goal of Repeat Boutique Thrift Stores is to contribute at least 1/4 of the annual operating budget for Options Now. In 2015, we were shy of that goal because of decreased volunteer hours. The more volunteers we have working at Repeat Boutique, the fewer staff hours are required to operate the store. This means fewer overheads & more profit from sales can be contributed directly to Options Now. Would you consider volunteering at Repeat Boutique? With our second location now open on Northside Drive, our volunteer needs have increased. We love having groups on weekdays, individuals coming in one or more days a week, or even monthly or seasonal volunteers to help us change out seasons or display holiday merchandise. Would you consider joining the vital volunteer force that helps Repeat Boutique Thrift Stores operate...and help provide services free of charge to women like Fathiyyah? Contact Maryann Meli at (229) 333-0080 or email her at email@example.com to discuss volunteer opportunities for you, your family, or your group!
We also appreciate donations of gently used clothing, shoes, accessories, housewares, furniture, antiques & vintage items, toys, appliances, tools, and more. We receive donations at both stores--285 Norman Drive & our new location, 428 Northside Drive. All profits from the sale of items go to support the work of Options Now. Thank you for your continued support for Life! Be sure to check out our other calendar stories here.