First, I would just like to thank you for reading my story. Although it may be like many of the stories, you have heard, it is my life and without StandUpGirl.com, my story would have had a very different ending.
It was very different for me to find myself alone again at such a late stage of life…38 and pregnant. My daughter’s father and I were together for around 3 years. At first he seemed excited about the pregnancy but then he decided that he was too old to have any children and he left our picture.
I was happy, then anxious, scared and sad and all the emotions that come with finding yourself alone with knowing you are bringing a child in to the world.. I started to doubt myself and my abilities. I started to wonder if having this child was something I was meant to do. I wasn’t sure and most times, I felt alone quite often, even among-st others. I had some positive people in my life, but I also heard some things that I never planned on hearing, “that God was going to punish my child by making it be sick or deformed because of my advanced age and or because I was having her out of wedlock”. I heard things like, “this is the dumbest thing you have ever done” and “I can’t believe you are going to do this.” Most everyone I knew had something to say that perhaps they meant to be supportive, or so they thought, but some of them cut to the very core of me. God… punishing me or my child for me becoming pregnant unplanned? I know better, but when you hear it… it makes you question yourself and what you know to be true.
I found myself turning to on line look ups for being a single mom at this stage of life. How much daycare was going to cost, who would watch her, all of those things. Then I decided to look at all my options and tried to imagine what my life would be like with a new baby, and what my life would be like if I put the baby up for adoption and or the alternative, not bringing my child into the world. I was scared.
I needed something, some guidance and some answers… and by the grace of God, I found it.
I found StandUpGirl.com… and I found Lisa, a volunteer on the site. We started chatting and emailing and I will have words for you to try and understand, but I will never have the right words or enough words to tell you what the support I received from StandUpGirl.com did for me. I wish more than anything I still had access to our emails and conversations. If I shared them with you, you would be moved beyond words. Lisa took me in as if I were her own. When I needed to talk, she listened…to every word. She heard my stories and always gave me a response. One of the things that I will never forget and sometimes even to this day hear so clearly in my mind, is the one day she told me that my child was meant to be here and that no matter the situation, and what people think or say, there is a purpose for my child and that God wasn’t going to punish her or me. In fact, God knew her before she would be born, He formed her and He knew what she was here to do. Even if I didn’t, He knew how many hairs would be on her head, how many hairs on her head…that just amazed me.. She reaffirmed to me that God loved her and me more than I could imagine and that when I was feeling down, I could count on Him and His love.
That was a defining moment for me. I needed my baby…even at my age and my experience level and being a parent already. I needed her to be there for me. I needed her support and her love and her non-judgment and her advice. I’m not sure what I would have done without such a loving place as a retreat to quiet the voices of the day and the doubters..
The re-occurring thought that comes through my head daily, if I needed this support, how many other women, girls and teens need this. What about those who have no experience in being a mom; what about those who have no one to talk to and no guiding light? What about those made to feel bad or punished about giving birth. What about those that don’t know the pros and the cons of every decision. What about those that will never find StandUpGirl.com and need them so desperately. I’m most scared for those who don’t know about this precious resource. What happens to them, and their unborn children?
On November 10th, 2005, I have birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl named Mia. She is my love and my joy and my inspiration. She is beautiful and strong and talented and every time I think about having her in my life, it fills my heart with so much love that I almost can’t stand it. Not only does my love for her make me even more thankful for StandUpGirl.com, but it just reaffirmed my faith in her purpose here in my life.
She has grown and blossomed into someone who I know was put on this earth to bless other people. She is kind, caring, and talented. I’m so blessed that I get to share her.
Two events happened that were just verification of her purpose in my life. The first came about 4 years after she was born, I went to the doctor for a regular check-up and they found a lump on my right breast. After seeing several doctors and several tests being done, it was decided that I was to undergo a double mastectomy, a complete hysterectomy and an ophorectomy. I endured a 12 hour surgery and then 3 separate reconstructive surgeries after that. Many things have changed inside and outside of me. I no longer have my natural breasts, and I’m no longer blessed with the incredible opportunity to have children with the man I was blessed to have love me at this stage in life.
Even through all that, I realize that I am fortunate and blessed by God. My oldest son is 25 and my daughter, Mia is 8. Together they are my life and my purpose in this life. I know inside that my other purpose is to share my story any time and with anyone who can hear it. To inform everyone that there are people on your side to help you. To show people that you can survive anything…being a single parent…being alone and giving birth, surviving cancer. It’s all about your support system. StandUpGirl is the most amazing support system I can think of.
I know, without a doubt in my mind and my heart or soul that God gave my Mia. He gave her to me because he knew I would never be able to have more. Even though the situation looked bleak at the time, he knew I was prepared to be a single mom..,to love this little girl enough to get thru anything. I fully believe that he gave her to me as a gift before I was diagnosed so that she could be my blessing and my opportunity to have another child.
Another verification came to us of exactly how God works in our lives at end of last year.. We started attending a church close to our house that we like very much. Mia is involved and decided that she wanted to give her life to the Lord and become baptized. We talked through it and it was a great evening. After her baptism we sat back with the congregation and even though she had changed it was a school night and she was cold and asked if we could leave before it was over. I agreed and we stopped right by the house to get something to drink. We have been to this store hundreds of times. That night as I got out of the car, I recognized the shape of the head that I saw in the store, although I didn’t say anything. We walked in and were greeted with a smile. I asked Mia if she knew who it was and as her little eyes watered up she said.. my dad? I said yes this is your dad.. and they hugged, laughed and had some time to talk.. since then they have started to form a relationship together. He has come to her birthday party, saw her at Christmas and they talk via text. I guess we can’t ask for more than that.
I am at this moment cancer free and I believe and have faith that I will stay that way. I have a lot of things to do and my family to live for. That makes me even more grateful for this organization and the wonderful caring people that give of themselves to run it. Had I decided to take another route with my pregnancy, where would I be now? What would my life look like without their support and love and guidance?
We can’t let anyone go through an unplanned pregnancy alone. Who knows what purpose their unborn children will serve in this life time? There has to be a voice of reason for those without a voice. Young girls need this guidance and support. It is a life changer.. literally!
I will never be able to express my gratitude and love and admiration for StandUpGirl and what they have done for my life. From making me strong when I was weak, comforting me when I felt alone, and renewing my faith when I was doubtful. Even now they help renew my strength when they so graciously allow me to share my story. Through sharing, I grow strong because in helping someone, I help myself.
And in closing, I would like you to read the verse from Jeremiah 1:5 that was shared with me that was the turning point in my life decision:
The Lord said to me, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you.
Before you were born I set you apart.
I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”
I answered, “Oh, Lord God, I really do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young.”
The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you.
Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, for I will be with you to protect you,” says the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me.
Know for certain that I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.