My Daughter, Emma
Originally appeared in Imprint, a publication of the Sisters of Life
When I found out I was pregnant, it wasn’t a joyous occasion for me. I was scared to have the baby and scared not to have the baby. If you had asked me a couple of years ago if I was pro-life, I would have said, “Sure.” But when you find yourself in a situation where you could possibly lose your house, lose the ability to feed the three children that you already have — now suddenly, your morals are really put into question.
But I knew if I didn’t have the baby, I’d be left with shame and regret for the rest of my life. I have had an abortion before; it’s not something I’m proud of. I would often cry about the baby that I lost. I think it was probably out of guilt that I got pregnant again. I was hoping my boyfriend would be happy because he had told me that he wished we had kept the other baby. But there was also a lot of shame in having a baby, too. I was afraid of how the community would view me.
I asked my boyfriend, “What do you want me to do?” And he kept saying, “It’s your choice.” It just didn’t seem fair. [It was our baby,] but now it was all on my shoulders. I think what I really wanted to hear was, “I’ll be with you every step of the way, no matter what!” I felt that there was no good option, and I didn’t know what to do.
So I made an appointment at the abortion clinic. I begged them to let me take the abortion pills home because I wasn’t 100% sure what I was going to do. I put them in the cupboard, and I would take them out and look at them. I even took them out of the package, and I held them in my hand. But I just couldn’t do it.
What I really wanted to hear was, “I’ll be with you every step of the way"
I reached out to an online group called “I Regret my Abortion.” A man connected me with the Sisters of Life, who offered that support that I had been looking for. They called me every other day when I was scared and trying to make up my mind. They kept pouring life into me and saying, “You can do this.” But I wanted to know how, because on paper there was no way I was going to be able to afford to have a baby. They just said, “We can’t tell you how — but we know that God provides.”
I took a leap of faith and destroyed the abortion pills. I said, “Welcome to the world, little one. I don’t know how I’m going to feed you; I don’t know how I’m going to keep my house, but God does, and that’s all I need to know.” But in other moments I would think, “What did I just do? I just flushed my life down the toilet.” The anxiety was paralyzing. I still had bills to pay. I was still working 60 hours a week at a factory.