I'm That Girl Who Chose Life
Sooo . . . I’m 22, and I’m a single mom, and I used to be “that girl who got pregnant.” After my crazy conversion story of scheduling an abortion, choosing life, choosing God, and choosing healing, I thought some of you might like an update as well as some insight on being pro-life. So, here it goes:
Yes, I chose life, and I gave birth to the most perfect little girl, AvaMarie Rose, on October 23, 2012 (right in the heart of “Respect Life Month” how perfect). She entered the world at 9:56 pm, weighing 6.8 lbs. and measuring 20 inches. She was, and still is, perfect in every way. I never knew how much I could love someone. It totally gives perspective on just how much God loves us.
I have been blessed with this beautiful girl, AvaMarie Rose, and I couldn’t be more in love. She is a constant reminder of how great God’s love is and how precious life is. “Ava” is a variation of Eve which means “life” and “Marie” is a variation of “Mary.” So, it is pretty apparent why I chose to combine those to create her name. It is the perfect representation of her story. She represents a choice of life, and I could not have done so without God’s perfect love, and without Mary’s perfect example of how to say “yes” to life. Mary had an “unplanned” pregnancy too; she had a choice as well. AvaMarie’s middle name, Rose, is after my own middle name, but it is also a beautiful representation of how beauty comes from imperfection, like a thorn bush producing roses.
This experience has given me so many countless blessings. Now that AvaMarie is already 7 months old, I have had some time to reflect on everything. First, I need to thank every person who prayed for me. I can’t tell you how much I felt your prayers covering me and protecting me throughout my entire journey. Because of your prayers and the support of my family and community, I was able to give birth to AvaMarie in October, graduate cum laude with my Bachelor’s in December, attend the FOCUS SEEK conference (with AvaMarie) in January, start working my job at the Pregnancy Resource Center in February, and now start pursuing my Master’s in School Counseling this June. Thank you. . .from the bottom of my heart.
Second, after going through this journey and now working at a Pregnancy Resource Center, I would like to give a little insight into the pro-life movement. Protecting and defending life is an all-encompassing call. It is not just about the babies, it is about their mothers, their fathers, and their families. Yes, people need to speak for the unborn when they don't have a voice, but if that is the primary focus, we are completely missing the mark.
I only realized this after going through my unplanned pregnancy.
Keep in mind, the mother is the one who ultimately decides the fate of her child, so if we aren't pursuing the healing, and genuine interest of her life, then we are utterly failing.
When we only focus on saving the life of the baby, we fail to acknowledge something very important, and that is that the mother's life needs to be saved, too. Did we already forget that the very women who find themselves in unplanned pregnancies and who are considering abortion are very broken, afraid, and alone? They need some serious, genuine love and healing. Quite frankly, when there is all this hollering for the babies, the woman in the crisis thinks she is forgotten. She thinks everyone just cares about the baby; no one cares about her.
She is desperately crying out, "No one cares about how traumatically my life has changed, no one cares about my future, no one cares about my dreams, and no one cares about helping me!"
We CANNOT forget about the mothers, fathers, and families of the unborn. They matter, too. They are the ones making decisions.
So how exactly can you be genuinely pro-life? I will speak on behalf of the mother, specifically, here.
I made a list of simple suggestions/ideas from the girl "who has been there" and as someone who works with these girls every day as an advisor at a Pregnancy Resource Center.
- Volunteer at or financially support Pregnancy Resource Centers. These are places that offer FREE services like pregnancy tests and ultrasounds to women as well as counseling. They typically offer parenting classes and provide real life resources for women who choose life. They are actively working to help the woman and her family before, during, and after the birth of her child.
- Offer up your home to single women who are pregnant and may need a safe haven. Some girls that choose life are kicked out of their own homes, or they are so ashamed and embarrassed that they need a safe place to be during their pregnancy.
- If you are capable . . . look into adoption. The girls that cannot raise their children because of their circumstances or finances need good families to entrust their children to if we want them to choose life. Pray about this and see if you are called to adoption.
- Change the language! A big reason women are choosing abortion is simply because they are afraid of what people will think or say if they find out they got pregnant. (This was my biggest fear!) We can combat this by creating a culture of life instead of death and gossip. Instead of saying "Did you hear who got pregnant?" say "Did you hear who chose life?" Wow . . . what a different way to approach the same topic. One is gossip driven, and one is life affirming and compassionate.
- Another simple thing to do is compliment pregnant women. Often times if a woman appears to be young, pregnant, and without a ring on her finger, she gets stares. Those stares are cruel. So, instead of staring, tell her how beautiful she looks. Single, unmarried pregnant women are not affirmed enough on their worth, which is why it is so challenging to choose life. One day when I was at the library I saw a young pregnant girl, and I wrote her a little note stating how beautiful she was and how great it was that she chose life and slipped it to her. Just little things like that.
- If you are parents . . . when you have "the talk" with your daughter, explicitly tell her something like this, "I hope you are never in this situation, but you NEED to know that if you ever found yourself pregnant, we will still LOVE YOU and will do everything we can to support you, don't ever be afraid that we won't be there for you if that happens." You can change around the wording, but the point is to explicitly tell her that if she finds herself pregnant you will support her and LOVE her. I "knew" that was the case with my parents, but they never explicitly said that, so the devil planted seeds of doubt and made me question whether or not they would support me . . . and when you doubt that, it makes it so much easier to rationalize an abortion.
- Support women who choose life by throwing them baby showers! My friends and family threw me showers, and it was the most touching thing that has ever happened to me. I have never felt soooo loved. It brings me to tears even thinking about it. Showering these women with love is the best way to offer them healing (not to mention helping them out with many of the expenses babies bring).
- Offer to babysit! Single moms need help!!! If we are pro-life we need to help moms by offering childcare so they can work, or finish school to provide for their family and get back on their feet. I know if my family didn't help me with watching AvaMarie, I would not have been able to graduate college and consequently would not have a career.
- One of the biggest tips is to seek out the single moms and affirm and encourage them. I often find myself so busy with work and motherhood, that I'm too exhausted to really invest in myself or to even maintain friendships. When my friends call me up, or even just text me words of encouragement it means the world. It lets me know I'm not forgotten.
- Finally . . . PRAY. Prayer is what changes hearts. Sometimes what we say or do means nothing if we are not praying.
I know this seems entirely "mother focused" but imagine if we coupled these actions with the pro-life discussion about the baby. Women would stop getting abortions because they would know they are supported and loved!!! They would realize that choosing life is just as much about them as it is about the baby.
I've seen and experienced the FEAR of being judged and unloved as the primary factor in abortion. These tips would hopefully eliminate that fear.
If we are to fight for the unborn, we are to fight for the mothers just as much!
I’m so thankful for all of those who fought for me. By saving me, you also saved my daughter, and we are eternally grateful.
Read more ponderings about the Pro-Life Movement, Catholicism, and Motherhood at Raquel’s Blog: Story of a Rose
Photos provided by Voboril Photography