There have been a few unplanned pregnancies among my friends and family over the years. One or two were very close friends, and I got to share their journey in a special way. This was a privilege, because it opened my eyes to the suffering of so many girls of my generation. With one third of babies not surviving till birth, we may rightly be called the "Abortion Generation." A majority of us are from broken families. Many of us are single mothers, and the daughters of single mothers. We're not without our scars.

There have been a few unplanned pregnancies among my friends and family over the years. One or two were very close friends, and I got to share their journey in a special way. This was a privilege, because it opened my eyes to the suffering of so many girls of my generation. With one third of babies not surviving till birth, we may rightly be called the "Abortion Generation." A majority of us are from broken families. Many of us are single mothers, and the daughters of single mothers. We're not without our scars.

My friend Sarah got pregnant when she was working in Europe. She was alone in a foreign country, thousands of miles away from her family and the close-knit community where she was raised. Her baby's father was little more than a boy and they had only been together a short time. She was living on a temporary visa, and she didn't even have enough money to visit the doctor.

When she discovered she was pregnant, her first reaction was denial. "This isn't happening!" she told herself. She ignored for as long as she could. When her tummy began to show, she realized she had to face reality. Her next reaction was panic. What was she going to do? How could she go home and face her family? How could she possibly stay in a foreign country? How could she raise a baby by herself? How could she have been so careless?

She decided to come home. This was a brave decision, for Sarah's family was strict and rather controlling, and they lived in a small country community where everyone knew everyone else. To Sarah, this was the hardest part. She felt like a disgrace to her family, like she had let them down. As for her small-town community, she knew just how she would be judged. People would consider her an ignorant, teenage, welfare mom, cheap goods, a "burden."

Sarah had always been a sensitive, shy person who did not like attention. Her pregnancy made her feel vulnerable and exposed. Since no one knew her baby's father, she knew her hometown would be speculating about the circumstances. Was she raped? How long was she sleeping with him? How could her family have let it happen?

Above all, she felt guilty. My friends who have had crisis pregnancies all say that they experience terrible guilt. The guilt comes from feeling ashamed, from a feeling of letting yourself down, from letting down your family or friends, and from having made poor choices that led to pregnancy. But it also reflects the attitude of people around you-adult friends, family, health care providers, counselors, teachers, and even strangers-an attitude of surprise and disgust. Parents who didn't care what their daughter did after midnight are suddenly outraged at her "immoral behaviour." Teachers and counselors who encouraged students to explore their sexuality are astonished that it should end in pregnancy.

This attitude has always puzzled me, because, let's face it, we're all guilty. We all do things we know we shouldn't. Why pick on teenage mothers? Is it because they can't hide their guilt? Besides, it's a little too late for that reaction.

The solution, of course, is to bundle them off for an abortion, saying, "Here, this will fix your problem." This is the biggest tragedy of all, because abortion is not a quick fix. It inflicts damage, possibly life-long damage, on the young mother. The damage is psychological and emotional, and in many cases, physical.

If Sarah had been pressured into having an abortion, her life would be completely different. She would probably not have married the love of her life, her baby's father. There would have been no Lucas, her loveable little boy. She would have had to live with the ghastly memory of having aborted her baby. The solution would have been far worse than the problem.

But Sarah's story has a happy ending. After her family got over the shock, they rallied to help her. They welcomed her home and began to look forward to the baby's arrival. They helped her get a driver's license and brought her boyfriend over for a visit. He stayed until the baby was born. He became close to her family, and eventually, he and Sarah got married. Sarah is a completely different person from the shy girl who left for Europe two years ago. She is vibrant, loving, full of confidence and energy She is a beautiful mom. I call her for advice when I'm having trouble with my own baby.

While I was searching for some pregnancy statistics on the internet, I came across many websites about teen pregnancy. They were full of depressing statistics about the problems with teenage parents. Perhaps this information helps young men and women to make the right choices about their sexuality, but it is not the end of the story. You are not a statistic! Anyone seeing Sarah with her roly-poly little baby knows that she's not a statistic! She is a true witness of how you can pull through with a little encouragement, a true Stand Up girl!