Choosing life does not end with the decision to keep your child. As a young mom I thought I was just going to keep my baby and everything would “fall into place” later. I figured, once I got to the end of my pregnancy and had a healthy baby I was home free. When my child was born pink & healthy, I thought everything was going to work out fine for us. I just knew that even though getting pregnant had happened to me, and having a child out of wedlock had happened to me, that God couldn’t give me anymore pain. I had gotten through my big life struggle and had my baby on my own at 19. Whew! Isn’t that a relief – now the rest of my life will be just wonderful.

HA! Little did I know that God doesn’t dole out “tests” and then quit. Just because you got through something major, like having a baby on your own, doesn’t mean the tests of your faith just stop. You didn’t fulfill your “good person” quota because you choose not to have an abortion. You may have lucked out and not contracted a sexually transmitted disease, or AIDS. That doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences for your actions.Having a child before one is ready emotionally, spiritually, and financially has life long consequences. You cannot even fathom the sacrifices you will make, even though there are many rewards. My son was diagnosed with Autism by 2 years old. I had just had my second  child unmarried, with an abusive man who chose to leave us when the new baby was 5 months old. I have never been married. I have been left to raise a child with special needs and another child on my own. Sometimes it is more than I can bear. I was so angry with God that I denied his existence for a long time. I thought, “I’m a good person. I never had an abortion. Now I have been ‘repaid’ with all of this burden and stress!” I was so angry with God that I thought even if there was a God, he hated me to ‘do this to me and my son’. It has been a long road back to believing. I still have days where I can’t get out of bed from grief, and where dealing with my son’s challenges break my heart so deeply that I can’t believe in anything. My friend told me a story about God being like a shepherd -if the sheep wonders away, the shepherd must break its leg and carry it on his shoulders until the sheep learns to stay near to the shepherd. That really stuck with me. I don’t think God will let my “leg heal” yet because I would reject God altogether. It is only these challenges that I have had to go throw in life that has kept my faith alive, even when it is as small as a mustard seed. Just remember that having a baby is just the beginning of your journey. It is being a single parent, and any other parenting tasks that will come up in the years to come, which will truly test you as a person and certainly test your faith.

Choosing life is just that – LIFE. Life isn’t a heartbeat.”Life is wearing a bra that is three years old with holes in it because you had to spend all your extra money buying your child’s shoes. “Life is meetings with the teacher about your child’s behavior problems. Life is watching  the look in a man’s eye fade from interest to disappointment or annoyance when they find out you’re a single mom. Life is trying to study for an exam with two screaming kids in the background. Life is having people stare at you because your 6 year old is having a huge tantrum and they don’t understand that he has Autism, they all just think you are a terrible parent. Life is being thrown up on at two in the morning. Life is doing everything on your own, including all that “guy stuff” like changing the light bulb, putting together the new vacuum, or checking the oil in the car because there isn’t a guy there. Life is choosing all of it, the ups and downs. Choosing life and keeping your baby means accepting so many things that you won’t even realize until you are raising a child alone. 

And yet no matter how bad it gets, there are the rewards of your children’s smile, the comfort  of their hugs and kisses, and the feeling that when you lay your head down on the pillow each night, you did not murder your own baby. There are many priceless rewards that a young pregnant woman has not even thought of yet. It’s a huge journey, and being pregnant and having the baby are little teeny tiny bips on the scale of how huge of a decision it is.

That being said, if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would choose life, and I would choose to keep my babies.