My Planned Parenthood Story
I was 18. It was Mother's Day. And I was staring at two pink lines on a pregnancy test. Up until this moment I had thought I was invulnerable--that teen pregnancies only happen to other girls. I was wrong.
If I have this baby, my life will revolve around it for the rest of my life; I'm too young for my life to be over.
A million thoughts flew through my head. What would my church think, or my parents who had homeschooled me? What about my younger siblings who all looked up to me? I felt dizzy. My boyfriend would know what to do. Just wait ‘til morning and tell him in person. Yeah. He'll get us through this.
Sitting on the curb outside our community college the next morning, I told him the news.
"How far along are you?"
"I don't know." I started calculating.
"Figure it out. Abortions are more expensive the further along you are. I'll sell my Camaro if I have to. Just tell me how much it is and I'll get you the money."
I walked to the library, my head still spinning. I figured I was about two and half months pregnant, or 11 weeks. I searched the internet for "11 weeks abortion," but instead of prices I found pictures.
Gruesome, bloody, heart-wrenching pictures.
The next week was a roller-coaster of fights and loneliness as my boyfriend promised to leave if I refused to have an abortion. That Friday I found myself parked outside Planned Parenthood, paralyzed with indecision. Could I sacrifice my life for the life of my child? Could I give up my dreams of a successful career with world-changing influence? All that would surely die if I didn't walk into the clinic.
But if I do go inside—if I go through with this—I am sacrificing my baby on the altar of my dreams. Whatever I do, one of us dies.
And in that moment, I mustered every ounce of strength I had (and women have more strength, determination, and capacity to love than we get credit for) and drove away.
I can't tell you why I decided to drive away while another woman decides to go inside. But I know I've been grateful for that decision every day for the last ten years. It turns out my life wasn't over at all; the best part yet was just beginning. My boyfriend did leave, like he said he would, then came and left several more times, until eventually I realized I didn't need him (again: women are stronger than society thinks we are). I continued college, working two jobs, and finally landed a career I loved, all while being a single mom. Five years later, I met a wonderful man who asked me to be his wife.
My story has a happy ending, and so does Nathan's; he's nine years old and very much alive. He's brilliant and witty, he's thoughtful, resourceful, creative and so much fun to be around. He's an incredible person, and the world is better because he's in it.
I realize not all stories are like mine, but I know from my story that God is a God of redemption. There are a thousand things I should've done differently. I could've considered adoption more seriously. I should've accepted offers from friends who were willing to help. I should've cut ties with my ex much sooner... The list goes on. But for every failure, God's grace has abounded all the more.
Since then, I've had three more pregnancies. The most recent one ended in a miscarriage at 6 weeks. We were devastated. Of all the condolences we received, nobody said they were sorry for the loss of our "clump of cells." Because when a woman wants to be pregnant, it's called a "baby." A person. But you know what? I have a theory that it's a person either way.
Originally published on July 30, 2015