I will always remember the day I found out I was pregnant.
Part of me already knew I was, but I bought a pregnancy test praying it would prove me wrong. Sure enough, it was positive; I was pregnant.
I just sat there and stared at that test for how long, I don’t know. I stared at it until I went weak at the knees and slowly sank down onto my bathroom floor. I sat there in utter shock and panic. What was I going to do? I wasn’t married. I came from a good Catholic family, this was not supposed to happen to me. I had just gotten into grad school, but how was I going to go to school now? What would my boyfriend say? Where would I work? Would I even be able to work? I was already feeling sick all day. I felt myself crumble into a mess of fear and shame. I literally have never been so scared in my life.
Fast forward to now. As I look back on that day, I get it. I get how a woman can be so scared that she feels like she needs to get an abortion—something I thought I would never understand. I was raised very pro-life and I have always believed in the beauty and gift of life. But unless you’ve been there it’s hard to understand such an all-consuming fear. I see that fear as a gift now, a grace I have been given to really connect and be present to women that find themselves pregnant and alone.
I believe that fear is what drives woman to abortion, fear is what convinces them they have no other options. But fear can be cast out. Fear can be met head on, and fear can be conquered.
Rewind back to that week I found out I was pregnant and living in this fear. After I was able to pick myself up off my bathroom floor, I found myself driving to my parents house. I couldn’t breathe the whole drive over, I have never been so afraid and anxious. But as soon as the words were out of my mouth “I’m pregnant,” I saw how that fear could be conquered.
My parents did not make me feel any shame, they showed no anger, they did not demand any kind of plan for the future.
They simply held me.
They told me they loved me.
They breathed some strength back into me.
Then they did what we all have to do to be truly pro-life—they waded into my mess of shame and fear, and they sat there with me. They sat there until we were ready to talk, and then they offered me freedom from my fear. They told me they would help me raise this child; they would provide for us; we could live with them; they would do whatever they needed to; we would do this as a team. They are truly the pro-life heroes in my story. They loved my child’s life at conception and were going to keep loving that child for the rest of his or her precious life.
And that’s what I needed, what I think all women that find themselves in the same situation need. I needed someone not just to help me get through the pregnancy, but to help me get through having the baby, answering those questions of how we would live after the baby arrived. We have to be pro-life for that child’s whole life. We have to enter into that mother’s and child’s life and be Christ to them. We have to be willing to wade into their mess of anxiety and fear and be there with them.
The next few weeks brought all of my initial fears to life. I dropped out of grad school, quit my job (after throwing up all over my bosses front yard), and moved into my parent’s basement. I used to laugh at myself—I was actually that girl. The girl that got pregnant and then moved into her parent’s basement.
That was enough to make me feel like the scandal of the year.
Thankfully, my boyfriend was very supportive. He showed me what it meant to be a man and to be truly pro-life. He was completely selfless, he laid his life down in every way. He rose to the occasion of fatherhood rather than try and continue living his life how he pleased. He started living it for someone else, someone he didn’t yet know.
My unplanned pregnancy was the biggest struggle I have ever been through. But through the struggle I found so much beauty. I have never known a joy like that of feeling my son kick for the first time, or hearing his heartbeat, or the day we found out he was a boy. God had truly taken all of my fears and turned them into so much hope for our future.
Something that I thought was the worst thing that could ever happen to me was slowly turning into the greatest gift. There were still lots of hard times, but the sweet life I carried really did make it all worth it. There was never a day that I regretted being pregnant with him. He was my joy, my light.
I will always remember the day I started feeling like I had been given this huge gift, not a burden, but a gift. My parents allowed me to feel that. They gave me the freedom to feel that.
That is what we are called to give all women. We are called to meet them wherever they are stuck. It will take every single one of us to do this, to go to meet these women, to work to end this great tragedy of abortion.
To allow them to feel the joys of their child and not just the burdens. To be Christ to them. I will always be beyond grateful to my parents for being the people in my life who gave me this great gift, and I will look for every opportunity I can to be this to another.
Two months ago we welcomed our beautiful son into this world. I have never known a love like the one I felt for him when he was laid on my chest.
All of the fear, the anxiety, the illness, it was all worth it—more than worth it. When I looked into his face I saw so much innocence and beauty, and when he looked at me for the first time I knew that he knew me. And in his eyes was nothing but trust. He had trusted me to carry him, and now he was trusting me to do everything else. He was the light every day in the darkness of my fear and shame. He made everything worthwhile.
My parent’s were Christ to me, and my son, he was my light, my Luke.