I felt all my secrets were going to be exposed before I could “fix” them. How could I have a baby? I was the pastor’s kid who was supposed to lead by example, not just because of what I was, but who I had become as a Christian, and now, here I was pregnant, not married, and caught in a web of lies. I was living in a mess I was ashamed for anyone to know I was in. For as much shame as I already carried, I felt I couldn’t bear to take on any more. I never believed killing a baby in the womb was okay, and now I was faced with a life circumstance that would test me to great limits. My parents were already in turmoil over my relationship. I couldn’t bear to witness their knowledge of me being pregnant on top of it, much less all the other pastors and church district superintendents I knew. “They can’t know! I don’t want anyone to know!” I thought. I started to cry as the faces of all the people I had let down flashed through my mind, all the way down to the girls who I had been a counselor for at kids camp.
For once in my life, I wished I wasn’t known. I may not have been a celebrity, but in some ways, there was that limelight effect. You can be known, but never have really taken on accountability for actions, and in this case, I was one who was set up with a lot of accountability. To make it worse, when I had talked about breaking up, my fiancé told me if I did, he’d walk through the Bible college halls yelling everything I’ve done and say whatever he wanted. They wouldn’t know what was lie or not, so I would be at loss in whatever he’d say. Thinking back to that, shame filled me once again. I could barely face people knowing what I HAD done, how could I face lies of what I hadn’t done too? What if we DID break up? What then? With this baby on the way, I was thinking, “How am I going to do this at all? Mentally, emotionally, financially, relationship-wise”? I’d have the responsibility as a single parent and deep-pained memories. I waited until the cancellation of that semester (spring 2010) to be completed; I didn’t need the classes to graduate with an A.A. in Biblical Studies/Generals. The president, dean of students, office people, my parents, and staff were all against me ending the semester; they were baffled. It was true that I didn’t want to complete Elementary Education, so I didn’t want to spend money on the classes for a career I was unsure about. I was also lower on money from my fiancé “needing over $1,000” from my savings for rent. Beneath all the shame, agony, hurt, and knowing that in some way I was going to be tied to these psychopathic and hurtful memories forever, I knew that my baby was beyond it. The precious life within me, was worth more than all of it. To kill my baby to “cover” my shame, mistakes, preserve finances, look better, etc., would not solve the problem nor help it in any way.
My fiancé voiced how excited he was to be a father. He gave a speech on how good of a husband he wanted to be for me, and how good of a father he wanted to be for the coming baby. He apologized for not treating me as a treasure of a person I was, and how sorry he was that he failed to see that. Hope filled me. Maybe it’d all be redeemed after all; I could see the person I first dated returning in character. Then I was taken to a nearby field on a dark night and told to defend myself with a fiberglass rod he threw at me. I quickly picked it up and blocked his blow as he came after me. I was three and a half month’s pregnant and terrified. I am normally a very fiery, and aggressive person in sports, and a defender to other people, but it all changed when I found myself in a manipulative relationship with someone that my emotions were tied to in mixed ways. I also didn’t want to hit him, and make him full-out in rage; I was afraid of how worse it could get. I wanted to defend myself as I had before, but I was scared to leave my belly exposed during a block. So, I went the timid route, hoping he’d stop. I fell to the ground in a fetal position to protect my stomach, taking hits on my back, head, arms, etc. Finally, he stopped. There is so much more to this story, but eventually we got married in hopes all would change. I didn’t realize at the time how blinded and trapped I was, but I was just trying to survive and avoid issues. I allowed myself to just see hope and redemption.
When I gave birth to my son (January 15, 2011), my husband was not around. He was gone for about a month or more at basic training (which didn’t turn out). The first time my son, Adriel (AJ) entered the world, excitement and joy filled me! My parents were so proud and joyful to see him. They held him and shed tears. He was so precious to all of us. Little did we know, just how precious he’d be to so many people, even to strangers.
There are a lot of cute, sweet babies, but there was just something about AJ to us. It was nothing like everything I had previously worried about. There was no shame in looking at him. New feelings and new memories emerged. This was not pain and agony. This was a child who was such a dear, so captivating! I figured it was that effect of being a proud family of this cute baby with amazing brown eyes, but more and more I saw how he captured people of all types. AJ really breaks down the walls that say preciousness cannot come from rape and traumatic circumstances. Society says, "Who wants this child?", "Who wants these memories?", "Do you realize whose kid I'd be keeping?!", "I don't want that tied to me!" Even Christians have said these things and yet many have loved and wanted AJ; they can’t help but be drawn to him!
There are those who think abortion is okay, that absolutely adore AJ, and cannot imagine me not having him regardless of how he was conceived. He captures people's hearts in special ways, and his biological origins or how it happened don’t even matter. Pro-life and pro-choice people alike, who know me and who know him, would be horrified if I said about him what people say about the unborn babies. They know that my son is someone of great worth. Whether or not I wanted him does not define his character, value or worth. My emotions will never change who he is as a person, no matter what age he is. Who his biological father is doesn’t change that either. I am so proud of my son and the love he emanates. I am proud of how strong he is (and was in the womb). I am proud of the joy he brings into people’s lives and how inclusive he is.
I didn’t see it coming when I was pregnant and being abused by someone in premeditative, torturous ways. There is so much I didn’t see, but much I honestly feared and wanted to run away from. The problems, shame, and fear was all I could see at the time, but when I had my son, it changed. I changed. My feelings changed. My circumstances changed. I could see clearer how what I once thought before, wasn’t even applicable to me as I held my precious, sweet, baby. Oh how I loved him! And ever since he was born, he’s been like a magnet to people. One of the times my heart soared (and Papa’s and Nana’s too when they saw this) was when he was two and a half, and he was in a stroller at the county fair. There was a handicapped guy who may have been born physically disabled, and he was in a wheelchair that was sort of like a stroller too. AJ picked him out and eagerly waved in such a friendly and reaching out manner. The people pushing him were kind of surprised, and the guy gently waved back. Their family and our family were really touched by that moment. AJ tends to pick out people of all sorts who could use more inclusion and recognition, and tries to make them feel as great as he feels. I can’t imagine a world without him because he touches so many. And to think, he’s just getting started! Without AJ, all those moments would be gone.
The memories I dealt with after leaving my ex-husband, and deal with now, I would have dealt with anyway…baby or no baby. We don’t always know what the future holds but statistics have shown that having an abortion after being raped actually leads to a higher risk for suicide as well as even more pained memories (more so, if the mother had carried the baby conceived in rape to term). So, to make a decision on killing a baby in the womb because we think everything is going to turn out a certain way, or a better way, is often very misleading. When I look at my son, I see him. I feel the same love that any mother does. I don’t see the memories or the pain. I don’t feel regret or hurt. I feel freedom, and I feel blessed.
To the mothers who are debating abortion especially in a rape situation, please, hear my story today. There is support and guidance out there. There is also adoption. Adoption is close to my heart because I am adopted. Giving your child a chance at life is such a gift, not just to them, but for yourself too. For all the pain you’ve gone through and are going through, I want to encourage you. Your life is not over, you have future, and it could just be beginning. My son, AJ, was my beginning.
For the mothers out there who have had an abortion, I hold no anger against you. My heart weeps with you in the loss of your child. Some of you weep, some of you bury your agony. You can get through this pain of the past and the present. Also, I want to apologize on behalf of those who have been insensitive to your pain. Some of that pain began long ago, when you were a child, and has continued into these past life decisions. I apologize on behalf of those who have demeaned you, cursed you, condemned you to hell, and didn’t show compassion. Whether it was those who were supposed to love you the most, or those who didn’t know you. Some of you have never had someone tell you that they loved you and cherished you, and it’s so hard for you to love others, much less a baby, when no one poured that love into your life. They said you were nothing, and that you’d never amount to anything. They said they hated you and never wanted you in the first place. You were told you were worthless and stupid. I want to say, “I love you”. You are wanted. You are of worth. You are of value. You are in my thoughts.