Because our life experiences form our choices – here are some of mine:
My own mother had her first child at the age of 15, by the time she was 17 she deserted him (no nice way to put it) and by the age of 19 she was pregnant again. After her divorce from her first marriage was settled, she legally married my dad. Three and a half years later I came along. She did not obtain prenatal care for me prior to her seventh month of pregnancy. She told everyone I was a “tumor”. When I was born, her second born son (the brother that I was raised with) was in the care of my dads parents. It seems they raised him for the first several years of his life – so that my mother could travel with my dad who – traveled for work. He had race horses.
I was born in New Hampshire and a week later was living in a motel in New Jersey. There was no pediatrician for me. The summer I turned four, my mother and I visited her mother and family in Maine. Upon my grams and aunts insistence – my mother took me to a doctor to find out why my toddler waddle remained. I was diagnosed with having been born without hip sockets. I had several surgeries during my childhood. Being the later 1960’s when I was diagnosed, meant staying in the hospital for months on end. That is how it was done back then. When I was eleven I was back in the hospital, being told I would be in a wheelchair by 20 and “no, I’m sorry – carrying babies is not really in your future”. I had the last of my childhood surgeries that spring. I thought the doctors were all crazy (so did my Nana – so thankful for her, granddad – and God!!!).
It was this year also, the summer that I turned twelve that I very clearly overheard a telephone conversation of my mothers. I was sitting across the living-room from her. She and an aunt were talking about another woman they knew, pregnant at 40 and how she should “abort that baby – she is too old to be a mother” (really?) Yes. My mother also stated rather clearly – that she would have aborted me if she had the option.
Now in my early 50’s, mother to three very healthy young men, walking and plan on it until the day I die. I have awesome hips (that I need to take better care of!) that were built for me in an Operating Room, over three surgeries and many hours when I was in my mid-thirties.
If my mother had a choice – I would have died before I was born. I believe my oldest brother too would have suffered the same fate as she was only fourteen when he was conceived. Her second born? I think that pregnancy was a convenience for her and brought her a husband that she had big hopes of. That is my educated guess only.
Sharing life experiences with a close friend, I learned they too had been told by their mother that she wish she had aborted them. This friend was in their early teens at the time.
Can you imagine how devastating this would be to children – not even in their mid-teens. “I should have aborted you“. Thankful are we that God had other plans and we both came to live in this world.
When I was a young innocent girl of seventeen – unlike my friends I was in no hurry to “loose my virginity”. I wanted to remain pure until marriage. A night out with older friends, finding myself alone with a man of twenty-five (who was actually the cousin of my boyfriend, who had not been allowed out that night) chose to take my innocence, raping me. He would not take No for an answer. There are absolutely no words for how devastated and ashamed I was. I did not report it. I felt shame. I spiraled down. Thank God I did not become pregnant that horrible night. I knew after hearing what my mother had said when I was twelve, I knew I could not end a life.
When I was married and became pregnant with my own children they had standard tests at 15 weeks to determine the fetal health and if abortion would be recommended (down syndrome, etc.). I refused any tests that did not benefit the health of my children. Abortion was not an option. Despite my own physical challenges I did carry my first for 42 weeks, second for 40 weeks and youngest was a c-section at 38 weeks because of my medical condition (not having hip sockets does not fair well with pregnancy). All three were scanned at six weeks to ensure there was no dysplasia. All are healthy. Thank you God.
One of my cousins was told she should go out of state and have an abortion when she was six months pregnant. She was told her child was “retarded”. She chose life. Her daughter who did have some learning challenges, did develop just fine. I have a friend who’s sister was pregnant (married and planned) close to ten times, She miscarried many times. Eventually, she gave birth to two healthy girls. With her (third fullterm) preganancy, she too was told medical testing indicated an abortion as the child would have a heart defect and learning disability. Guess what? Healthy baby.
I will never forget a mom I “met” online who was pregnant with her fourth baby. They were so excited – a girl! Truly they were so joyful she, her sons and her husband. After medical testing she was told a diagnosis which meant their daughter would not live for one day if carried to term. Doctors were certain of this and strongly pushed for her to abort – to avoid the psychological trauma. With fellow board members (back in the “good old AOL message board days) she allowed us to traveled her journey with her. Cordelia Rose was born and died in one day. One this day, she was photographed, held, dressed, loved – loved oh so much by her family – that lost her long before she had a chance to have a pony tail or wear ankle socks. They celebrated her life, then they mourned her death.
These little stories are all about being born into loving families, despite worries, concerns and in the life of Cordelia Rose – knowing they would have no more than a day with her in their arms.
Psalm 139 One I often have, and often will quote, tells us How well our loving God – loves all of us. How well He knows everything and every part of us “13You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.e“
Here comes the part of my essay you probably have not seen coming. After some recent conversations, and reading about the Roman Catholic Church year of forgiving women for abortions I have spent some time in prayer, asking God to help me find the answer and how I should express truths.
We often hear the hypothetical stories of “what if” “would you say it’s okay then?” If you have been reading my blog, you are aware that I have a tendency to be very open, loving and accepting.
Last week a young lady I know came to me to share her sister is pregnant. She talked abortion. She was not dealing well with her sisters news. She shared more of her own background, which included being abused as a very young child and becoming pregnant by a family member. She had an abortion.
Now, she had concerns for her sisters choice of (long term) boyfriends and thought an abortion would be the right choice for her. After listening and sitting quietly with her for a few minutes I asked her if her sister wanted an abortion. She said her sister didn’t know yet what her sister thought. The older sister felt “little” sister was too young (mid-twenties) to be a mom. I sat there in mental prayer with my Father asking for help. I spoke up and said “I have to tell you I disagree with you, she is not a baby – she is not a teenager, she is a young woman.
I completely understand and respect you so much for what you have been through – but we are talking about a life here. A baby. A human and her circumstance is so very different than yours was. I took a few more minutes to offer comfort on her own pain and loss of innocence. I asked; would you support her emotionally when she has the baby? She said – “Yes, I would”. We talked some more – How will your mom react? Do you think she will emotionally support her? “Yes – she said she would”, they have a great mom and she herself had her first child much younger. We chatted a little longer, before we parted ways I asked her to remember there is no need for her sister to rush, let her absorb her news and talk to mom and whomever else – her boyfriend. Respect her feelings and give her time to formulate her own thoughts.
Over the weekend that ol’ Facebook post on one of the Catholic Christian Woman pages came through with an article written by a woman, A catholic who we remorseful for not speaking up when a young woman came to her pregnant, contemplating abortion. It was sad to read the article, especially just having the conversation that I had.
I waited until this morning to email the gal who shared with me last week, to check on her sister. She said that her sister asked her to come talk to their mom with her, she went and shared her mom handled the news well considering circumstances and supported life.
First, she said my mother is concerned that my sister :sic: “will be sorry for going through with it”. I said – ohhh – has she decided on an abortion? “No, not yet but she is leaning that way”. I countered with – Oh, well there is a place I know of that would be great for her to go to. I told her the name of the place then I said – wait I will send you the link. I sent her the link with a note to reiterate that I thought it would be great for her sister to have someone – outside of the situation, to talk to and work through her own decision with.
This place is pro-life but supports with counseling should one choose to end life. I also told her that I prayed for her sister and her sisters child in Mass this weekend and this morning before I corresponded with her. What came next filled my heart – she was grateful for the support, the information and the prayers and she asked that I keep them in prayer.
When I met this gal a few weeks ago she could not stand to hear the name “God”, after getting to know me better and learning that God is loving being she has softened and found some hope in this situation. I have done, I think all that I can in this particular situation. I will email tomorrow, in hopes of hearing her sister is receptive to contact this place (my church supports it). I don’t know the young lady myself.
I chose the verse from my favorite Psalm very carefully tonight; “13You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. While I am undeniably pro-life, I know in my heart and soul, that it is our Lord, God who forms us – and He is all knowing. I am sure He is aware of each and every individual baby that He creates. I know He will cradle each in His arms as only He can. I know He is there for these Mothers, as He is for everyone else – but for the asking. As Christians, it is our responsibility to God to love women going through this crisis. With kindness, respect and all the love we can muster.
I am Pro-life. Adamantly so. This includes respecting the mental health of a raped woman (or in this case very young teenager). Or the life of a woman carrying a tubal pregnancy which will result in death regardless.
Tonight I keep this young mother in prayer, knowing our loving God will be with she and her child – every step of every day.
2/29/16 Update: The young lady mentioned above, has chosen life for her child.
7/2/16 Family update: Shortly after writing this we learned that an unexpected miracle was taking place within our own family circle. Despite knowing there are medical considerations – baby “swimmie” (son calls baby “guppie”) is due to join the families mid December. This ultrasound photo is from June 1st. August 1st we’ll learn (if baby is being cooperative – mine were not always) if swimmie is a boy or a girl. Baby is developing well, everything is where it is suppose to be. Here you’ll see the left arm raised up by the head, right arm kind of waving around, right leg and foot and only partial of the left leg in this picture ♥. Abortion was never brought up or discussed between the parents or me.
The last week of November my first grandchild, a boy was born. There have been some complications and issues but we have faith that he will be fine. God is good and we place our trust in Him. Baby is thriving, growing rapidly and attentive. ♥