I will always choose life…

Life is precious. Not just mine, but every single life. We only get one life and we need to be very careful about the decisions we make- they define us. 

The year was 2004; I was a freshman in college. While I was supposed to be enjoying my new found freedom, I was actually preparing for the biggest decision in my life. I lived in an all girls dorm with two girls to a room and a communal bathroom (I do NOT miss that!) down the hall. My original roommate asked for a reassignment and the girl across the hall was in the same boat. So, with permission, I moved across the hall. Little did I know what an impact she would have in my life. 

College life was fun! I was enjoying my freedom. I didn’t have to make my bed if I didn’t want to, or eat breakfast, or dinner. I could even have junk food for dinner because I could! Along the way my roommate/floormates noticed they had all gotten their cycle… several times. One of them asked me how I managed to not complain about cramping. ‘Oh crap!” I thought. I had been at school almost two months and not once gotten my period. That was pretty typical for me but when I sat down and thought about it, I hadn’t gotten it ALL SUMMER! That was not normal. 

I was pregnant. I took several tests to make sure, just in case the first few were defective. I was indeed pregnant at 18 years old and about 300 miles from home! 

My first thought was to run away. I couldn’t face my family and I certainly couldn’t keep a baby in my dorm, so I knew I had nowhere to go. My friends, however, were very supportive and even a little excited about the idea of a baby possibly living in the dorms with them. Even though it wasn’t an option, it was nice to feel loved when I knew my family’s reaction would be just the opposite. Before telling my family, I wanted to be sure. I truly believed there was a slight chance that all those pregnancy tests were wrong. “Maybe it was a cyst…”, I tried convincing myself. I called around and found a clinic that would take my insurance, made an appointment and with the support of my friends, I went. 

“That’s the heartbeat.”, the sonographer said. As I stared at the screen, with my friend holding my hand, I burst into tears. Even though I already knew I was pregnant, seeing it on a screen made it so real. I was 16 and a half weeks along! The sonographer excused herself and sent in the doctor to have a talk with me. Turns out that I was in an abortion clinic! He grimly explained that terminating my pregnancy, at this stage, could be life-threatening to me. The thought never occurred to me. Abortion was never an option. I left the clinic and cried the whole way back to my dorm. I worried about how I would tell my parents and how I’d move forward with my life. 

I finally mustered up enough courage to call my parents. They were divorced, so I had to have the difficult conversation TWICE! (Talk about pouring salt on an open wound). My mother cried. She told me how disappointed she was- that hurt me. Nobody wants to be a disappointment. My father didn’t seem to have any reaction when I told him. He asked me what my options were. I wasn’t sure what he was asking, then, very blatantly, he asked me about having an abortion. I explained to him what I’d been told at the clinic. Not because I had considered abortion as an option, but rather because I knew that he wouldn’t push the issue knowing my life was at stake. I wanted that baby, even if he was unplanned. My dad ended up not speaking to me until after my son was born. 

I was glad to be away from home because it would give everyone some time to adjust to the news before I came back home. I managed to finish my first semester at college and I was determined to not let this pregnancy deter my college career. I refused to be another statistic. 

Over the course of my short-lived time being away from home, I had so much time to dwell on what this pregnancy meant to me. I slowly realized that, while not the most ideal situation, I was called to be a mother. This baby… ALL babies, were a gift. I was being entrusted with the most important job ever. I was determined to prove to everyone who said I couldn’t, that I could! 

That’s exactly what I did. I moved back home with my mom, continued going to college (only one to two classes a semester, so it took a long time) and I held a full-time job to provide for my baby. I knew that being a mom at any age would come with its challenges, but when you’re 19, everyone is watching your every move. They won’t hesitate to criticize your parenting in a heartbeat because “you’re too young” or “you’re just a baby with a baby”.  It was hard, and many times I questioned if I made the right choice but knowing that I was choosing life just felt right. 

Twelve years later I thank God for blessing me with the most amazing boy and challenging me to make the right decision even in the most inopportune situation. I truly believe it’s made me a better me. For that reason, I will always choose life. 

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