By Gayle Irwin
The community of Laurinburg, N.C., will soon welcome a new pregnancy resource center, and its executive director will bring to her position her experiences as a doula and a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy.
Myquel Demarta Wheat began her job as executive director of Vita Choices Pregnancy Center in early July and attended Heartbeat International’s Pregnancy Help Institute (PHI) a few weeks later. She believes the knowledge she gleaned, and her life experiences will help her in her new position.
Abortion or life?
Like most clients Vital Choices will see, Wheat discovered she was pregnant when she was a young woman, and she seriously considered abortion. She recalled being at the abortion facility and a nurse preparing the ultrasound to discover the unborn’s gestation.
“She was doing the ultrasound, and I heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘Look at it,’ and I was still not wanting to,” Wheat said. “I heard the Spirit again say, ‘Look at it,’ and I looked, and it was just this little light on the screen … and my heart filled with so much love. And then I heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘This one is mine.’”
Thoughts swirled through Wheat’s brain, including her mother having multiple abortions, and she and her siblings experiencing foster care. Doubts set in, and in her heart as she remained on the clinic table, she conversed with God.
“I said, ‘Okay, God, if this one is yours and you want me to keep it, she can’t just be some ordinary human being going through this world lost. You’ve got to have a purpose for her, and you have to help me because I didn’t have a mom, I don’t know how to raise a child,’” Wheat said. “I had joined the Army, and I was raising my brothers, but this would be a whole different level of responsibility. I was afraid.”
Also like most women who consider abortion, Wheat had plans.
“Becoming a mother was not something I wanted to do at that time in my life,” she said. “I wanted to start a business, and I wanted to get some level of success in my life and then circle back around to parenting.”
However, God had other plans. He brought people alongside to help and support her, including friends who were pregnant. Wheat did not go through with the abortion, and now her daughter attends college and Wheat helms the new pregnancy center planned in Laurinburg. Her attendance at Pregnancy Help Institute during the summer adds to her personal experience, and she said she is thankful for the knowledge.
“It was eye-opening,” she said. “Doing business things as well as ministering was a big revelation. In addition to learning to counsel in a loving and compassionate way no matter what the circumstance is, an executive director has to do the work of the center, which is creating the programs [and] taking care of the management of the center.”
Wheat and the board plan to open the facility, which will be located inside a house, by year-end, with hopes for as early as November. The services they will provide, which may include medical sooner than originally expected, are greatly needed, she said.
“Scotland County is one of the poorest counties in North Carolina,” Wheat said. “We have a good mix of African Americans and a larger population than most areas of Native Americans. The median income is very low.”
Nearly 100 pro-life pregnancy centers are found in North Carolina. However, she said, the closest one to Laurinburg is about 45 minutes away. According to an article published in June [www.laurinburgexchange.com/news/259811/vita-choices-pregnancy-center-coming-to-laurinburg]in the local newspaper, about 13 percent of pregnancies in the local area ended in abortion from 2016 to 2020. Myquel wants to curb that number through Vita Choices.
“I hope that life might be saved through this compassionate interaction,” she said.
An ultrasound was donated by another pregnancy center, and Wheat hopes to bring volunteer radiologists or registered nurses to operate the machine. She also envisions doulas and professionals trained in trauma-informed care assisting the pregnancy center.
“That might be a few years down the road, but it’s something I want to see at our center,” Wheat said.
Listen to the Lord
As she and the Vita Choices board move forward, Wheat said she is focusing on another takeaway from PHI.
“If I could summarize the whole experience of the training, what they were saying was, as a new executive director, ‘Go home and get your spiritual house in order; you are going to need it. And keep growing. It is required to do this work that you develop your personal relationship with God and sharpen your ability to hear him and to follow through with the nudges, the directions. Learn how to stop when he says stop and go when he says go.’ I believe it’s Matthew 6:33 that says, ‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.’ That’s the next step for me.”
Wheat has been listening to the Lord for many years, including that time in the abortion clinic. She views a significant part of her life’s purpose as helping people and facilitating healing. She became a doula as a response to that call upon her life.
“I’m a holistic health practitioner and a community health worker and a doula – that’s the work I’ve been doing,” she said. “I’ve had gatherings at my house or in the community for about two years now. We sit down and have a meal and talk about our vision for the community, to see how we can care for each other. Ultimately my purpose in life is to facilitate other people’s healing in this lifetime and to heal seven generations back and to bless seven generations forward.”
She said her own family has begun healing from their trauma, including her mother from a brain injury and the multiple abortions she experienced.
“It’s been becoming clearer and clearer to me because the Holy Spirit has been walking me through my healing and the healing of my family,” Wheat said. “He has been speaking to me and defining my purpose for the world. It’s been a lifetime of God working in my heart. I grew up as a foster child … not having my mom, not having my family, but living in lots of different households – I lived in about 10 of them.”
Remaining close to God, even through the trauma and drama, and listening to the Holy Spirit reaped rewards for Wheat, especially in this stage of her life. Her desire to help others, through being a doula and the executive director of Vita Choices, allows her to bring her various experiences in service to others, especially women who also experience, or have experienced, trauma.
“You get a personal relationship with the Creator and even that personal relationship grows over time, in layers, as you experience life,” she said. “You think you learn something and then it gets put to the test and … you learn some more. All the while you’re learning about God’s grace over your life, God’s mercy for you. To learn what mercy really means is amazing! There’s an evolution to the process of the relationship you go through in your journey with the Creator of the universe.”
As time draws closer for Vita Choices Pregnancy Center to officially open, Wheat and her team will serve as a lighthouse upon a shoreline, showing that grace, mercy, and love for God to women in need of material items, encouragement, hope, and a relationship with Christ.
“I have been able to be the person that these women in my community can talk to, to work out their childhood traumas, to work out present struggles,” she said. “You’re building a relationship along the way … and being a lifeline, the person that you can call when you’re struggling emotionally, physically, mentally. That person gets information for you, she points you to the right resources in the community because she’s well-informed and well-connected. I feel like, for my center, I want [us] to be able to be that lifeline. No one needs it more than the women who come to a crisis pregnancy center.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and reposted with permission.