My Near-Abortion Experience: A Story of Forgiveness, Hope and the Love of the Father
Satan seems to hit hardest when we are weakest. Here's how my heavenly Father pulled me through.
I always thought I was solidly pro-life until I found myself pregnant as a 40-year-old recent divorcee with two preteen sons. I learned that it is during times of hardship and weakness Satan comes at us full-force. Sometimes it’s in thoughts of hopelessness or fear. Sometimes it’s in the words of our doctor.
I will never forget the day my doctor told me to have an abortion. “You don’t have to do this,” she told me as she wrote a prescription for antidepressants. “You should get an abortion.”
And it wasn’t just my doctor who wanted me to get an abortion. My therapist of two years told me, albeit gently, “You know, there are options. You don’t have to have this baby.”
I was struggling terribly with depression, anxiety and a relationship with a new boyfriend. My life wasn’t easy, and I had created a lot of the drama myself. I remember my mother agonizing over the news. “Your father and I didn’t raise you like this!”
I felt like a huge disappointment to my parents, my friends and especially God. I knew better. But here I was.
I was fired the day I told my boss about the pregnancy. In fact, I was walked out. No, it’s not that we’re firing you, we’re accepting your resignation. “But I didn’t resign!” I sobbed.
I was unemployed with children to support and had a fledgling relationship with my baby’s father. I called him one day to talk to him about what we were going to do. The recent words of my doctor and therapist rang in my ears. “I know we don’t know each other well,” I said. “You don’t have to do this with me, but I can’t raise another baby by myself. People are talking to me about options.”
There was a pause on the other end of the line. “If you’re talking about abortion, that’s not a conversation we’re going to have. If you don’t want this baby, I do.” I was surprised. That was not the answer I expected. But all was not well. It still seemed like the cards were stacked against me giving birth to this child.
Finances and Advice
I had to sign up for food stamps and government health care. I went to a food pantry at a local Catholic church, loaded up my luxury car that I now could not afford (knowing that I would lose it when enough payments had lapsed) and hoped no one asked me why I was there. The embarrassment and guilt not only over how I got into this predicament but also not being able to provide for my sons was overwhelming.
Anxiety and sleeplessness consumed me. Even the woman on the phone with Medicaid told me to relax because the baby would sense my apprehension. Still, she scheduled a prenatal visit and sonogram at a clinic that performed abortions. The thought of going into that clinic where so many didn’t come out alive (can you say internal conflict?) increased my anxiety. But I didn’t have to make the decision not to go. “I don’t feel comfortable going to that clinic,” my Catholic boyfriend said bluntly. “I don’t think you should go.”
On the other hand, my own sister was trying to get one of her friends to adopt my child. She would call me from time to time and tell me that so-and-so wanted to adopt my baby and wanted to talk with me about it. Or, she’d call and urge me to break up with my baby’s father and to just tell him “that you miscarried. He won’t know.”
The advice I received from all sides pummeled me and left me shaken, weak and confused. I knew what was right, but I had abandoned my godly upbringing. That there are consequences to every decision never hit me so hard.
God the Father
But God sustained me, even in the middle of my fear and desperation. I called to Him every day. Sometimes it was all I could do to sob and cry out, “GOD HELP ME!” I fell by the side of my bed on my knees day after day — grasping for hope, longing for love and a way to feed my boys.
And God was there. He was in the love of the priest at the local Catholic Church who prayed with me and his assistant who gave my boys school supplies. He was in the love of the volunteer at the food pantry who cheerfully suggested I take dessert as well as healthy food, for the boys. He was in the love of the volunteer at Gabriel Project — a Catholic Charities outreach for women in crisis pregnancies — who hugged me and told me everything would be okay. He was in the Christ-like love of the maintenance man at my apartment, who in halting English prayed over me by the trash compactor — then checked on me now and again to see how I was doing. He was there in the anonymous cards I received in the mail with a crisp bill or gift card tucked inside. But most of all, I discovered He was there when I saw that beautiful beating blimp on the sonogram screen.
The Love of the Father
My baby. This was my baby. A simple blood test at 10 weeks along showed that it was a son. I still struggled, but I cried out to God, too. And each time I spoke of the baby to my boyfriend, his face shone. He wanted this baby no matter what. He loved his child even when I was unsure and afraid. The father’s love for his baby that was so evident in every discussion or quiet moment touched my heart and kept me from making a mistake that I would’ve regretted immeasurably. Or was that the love of God shining through my baby’s father — sustaining me, holding me, protecting me and my baby boy?
The journey from new mom to new wife was incredibly winding and slightly bumpy — and that story must be shared another time. But I’m happy to say that my boyfriend asked me to marry him in July of 2014 and on a sunny, unbelievably hot, day — my 41st birthday to be exact — we were married at a beautiful park in Dallas, Texas.
What God Taught Me
I’ve learned a lot of lessons during that time of hardship, lessons I will take to whatever hardships lie ahead, somewhere in the distance.
- God is good.
- God never leaves nor forsakes us.
- Well-meaning people — even those who love us — don’t always give good advice.
- Satan will try to defeat you when you are already down, mentally, emotionally or even physically.
My battle was won with constant prayer, Bible reading and crying out to God. I would’ve worn sackcloth and ashes were I able! I clung to verses like 1 John 1:9 (still my favorite verse of all): “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” and Joshua 1:5: “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God’s Gift to Me
My son, whom his father named Caleb, is now 2 years old and (along with his brothers) the love and joy of my life. He’s talking in sentences, loves reading books and playing silly games with mom and dad. He’s an awesome eater and loves green beans and Cajun food. He loves his big brothers and calls both “Bubba.” But most importantly, he’s learning about God and what it means to pray. Each night before dinner, he clasps his delightfully chubby fingers together and closes his eyes tightly. His long eyelashes brush his baby cheeks as he begins to pray. “God,” he says, “AMEN!” That’s about all he knows right now. “God — so be it.”
One Bible resource says this:
The specific Hebrew word amen (’amen ) appears to be derived from a related verb — ’aman, which means “he confirmed, supported, or upheld.” This verb is also associated with the Hebrew word for truth (’emet ), which carries the idea of certainty or dependability (i.e., that which is true is that which is certain or dependable).
I like to think of it like this: “God … truth, certain, dependable.” And God is.
And for a baby that almost wasn’t, that’s enough.
Previously published June 17, 2016. Now Caleb’s prayer is even more precious: “Dear God, thank you for my food, thank you for my blessings. Amen.”