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Faith Formation Ink Slingers Loss Martina Motherhood Offering your suffering Prayer Respect Life Vocations

A Heavenly Lesson from St. Gertie

On Sunday, November 2, we confirmed our suspicion of being pregnant. Ah, seven kiddos. Downsizing just before number six was born, I started to doubt the size of our home. Six pregnancies and six live births, something in the back of my mind immediately jumped to “this one isn’t yours.” I’m not sure why I thought that. It might have been the rarity of having so many children without complication or loss, or just the urge to feel panicky, but there it was. I couldn’t shake it. Determined not to let it cloud my happiness, I started to size up the very real challenges of our current state of life. Our oldest, now a high school graduate from Seton Home Study School and working, our two-year-old son who would make the path of destruction of the Tazmanian Devil look like child’s play, and all the kids in between, I braced myself for the impending “mack truck” phase of pregnancy. How would I deal with the sheer exhaustion between weeks 9-16 and trying to scrape together something that gave the appearance of homeschooling, domestic chores, managing a blog, working with our parish Jesus Is Lord program?

EXCUSE ME, HAVE YOU SEEN MY BRAIN?

This was my third AMA {advanced maternal age} pregnancy and it showed right off the bat. I started to make dinner one evening and needed to run to the store for something. I mentioned it to the oldest that I needed to get something and would be right back. I never said what that item was. Sure enough, I arrive at the grocery store, put the car into park and promptly forget why I was there. Great, I think to myself. I text my daughter who informs me that I did not tell her what I was getting. Something for dinner? she suggests to me. No, I write her back. I mentally run through all the aisles at H-E-B and cannot remember that dadgum item. Convinced I will remember it if I drive home, I start to leave the store – and sure enough when I get to the light, I REMEMBER!! Safety pins. Y’all, I went to the store for safety pins. So I could make a creative pregnancy announcement. #pregnancybrain #gettinold #youdecide

I won’t bore you with details that the store was out of safety pins or that I spent an HOUR at Hobby Lobby looking for just the right safety pin sizes and doodads and whatnots for the picture I casually posted as my cover photo on Facebook. Nope. I won’t bore you with all that.

TieBreaker

Not ones to waste time, we announced baby safety pin within a few days of finding out ourselves, telling the children, and telling family. A friend once said she told people early on so others would be praying for them. We announce early for this same reason. This bebe was to be our tie breaker. We don’t just have three girls and three boys – we also have a ridiculous pattern of GBGBGB going on.

NOVEMBER 17

The Monday everything changed. Spotting. No cramping. Early texting with my husband, Neil. Called a friend who is a doula. I’m 6W5D at this point. I decide to lay low and step back from all my obligations for the week, including stepping back from working out. I ask for prayers on my Facebook wall. I e-mail my priests for prayers, the local Dominican Sisters, and even texted friends in Rome and begged that they please leave my intentions at the altars in Vatican City. No change. In-laws arrive that Friday. The following Monday is our son’s birthday – our car birth baby. He turned seven. The next day, I can’t take it anymore. Emotionally raw from no changes, I decide instead of going to the birthing center like we have for the past three children, we will see a friend who is our local NaPro doctor. By this point, it has been nine days – November 25. I have had plenty of time to pray about things and feel like I am ready to accept the outcome. I reason that it would be best to be surrounded by friends for this particular appointment should we find out we lost the baby. We are seen at 6 p.m.

I DIDN’T THINK I WOULD CRY

I’m not generally someone who is easily overcome or owned by emotions. Yes, I am Mexican American and, yes, I am pretty comfortable with being loud or angry, but sadness not so much. I didn’t even cry during Steel Magnolias or The Notebook! When Dr. K delivered the news, I had somewhat made my peace ahead of time. Remember the friend who is a doula? She works at the same practice and was working that day. She and the doc were in the room with me and my husband. Stricken with grief from the news, Neil excused himself from the room to get some air. Christine looked at me with tears in her eyes – likely recalling her own losses and sorrow – and said I’m so sorry for your loss. I really thought I could hold it together better than that. I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m not fine, I’m really not fine. HERE COME THE WATERWORKS! 

THE DRIVE HOME

7:30 p.m. Silence. 25 minutes of silence broken up only by stifled crying, staring out the window, dropping off my prescription at the grocery store, wondering how we would break the news to the children, how we would cope with the grief; personally, as a couple, and as a family. So much to consider and think about. The details of how to move forward were too overwhelming. Sleep sounded good. Better than having to tell the children. Better than having to see their expressions go from ones of hope to crushed from the loss. It was one thing to be mentally prepared for the news myself. What I wasn’t prepared for was the children’s reactions. The child we thought would handle it best turned out to be the one who was the most devastated. We gathered everyone in our bedroom. Neil handled it with such grace. Obviously very emotional himself from the news, he went on to tell them we had lost the baby. We both shared that it was ok to be angry, sad, feel fine one moment and then cry the next. We wanted the kids to know it was all normal and that we were going to be there for one another and to be kind to each other. We tried our best to let them know that despite our sadness, we should be glad because we had our very own saint to pray for us – and that it was important for us to name the baby so we could make that personal connection.

SHE HAS A NAME!

Mary Josephine
our sweet Josie

Not long after we broke the news to the kiddos, we all pretty much concluded that she was a girl. After all…birth order, right? The question was what is your name, sweet girl? I had the most amazing dream that evening {for days after I wished I could fall asleep and go back to where I left off} in which I was running in this golden field with this little girl. She looked a lot like our daughter, Josie – only blonder and more curls than our sweet Josie. She was wearing this beautiful emerald green dress and kept telling me her name was Gertie. I was so enamored with this beautiful child. I woke up and told my husband her name is Gertie! Her name is GERTIE! That means her name is…Gertrude. Oooooh, that is so not a name I would have chosen.

Neil looked at me and said he had a name come to him in the car ride home – Felicity. Neither of those names we would have chosen. But, without question, we knew that was the name she was to be given. Confirmation #1.

HEAVEN AND EARTH MEET

Thanksgiving Day we went to Mass, as has become the tradition for our family in recent years. It’s a bilingual Mass and it’s the only Mass of the day, so all friends who attend other Mass times and are in town come to this Mass. It’s beautiful. Before Mass, it’s not uncommon for someone to lead a rosary. It’s also not uncommon for the closing prayer to include a set of prayers for our Holy Father’s intentions. What is uncommon is for the lady leading the rosary {someone I am acquainted with, by the way} to finish the Holy Father’s intentions and then go on to say she would like to say a prayer to St. Gertrude, blah blah blah. I say blah blah blah only because I literally heard nothing after she said that. I began punching Neil’s leg DID YOU HEAR WHAT SHE SAID? The only other thing going on as irreverent as me punching Neil is my daughter, who was sitting on the other side of my husband who is whisper screaming MOM, DID YOU HEAR WHAT SHE SAID?  Confirmation #2.

To say I was a puddle throughout Mass would have been an understatement. Pretty sure I broke out the ugly cry, friends. The next trigger was the realization that our entire family was together – because heaven and earth meet when Mass is celebrated. So much to be grateful for. So much to be grateful for.

PROCESSING GRIEF AS AN INTROVERT

Online, it’s easy to appear as an extrovert. It’s even easier to fool people who share common interests because you have so much to say. My reality included asking for prayers, but not really looking for a conversation. I’ve never found myself go so deeply inward before. I spent a considerable amount of time processing the events, the details that still needed to be sorted through – burial, Texas law and where to bury, what on earth do you buy for a miscarried child?, the local cemetery or our own backyard – I had so many of my own thoughts that, between that and meeting the needs of my husband and children, I felt absolutely tapped out beyond that. Normally I like to stay and chat with friends after Mass while the children run around the trees, but not so soon after the loss. I couldn’t be trusted with my emotions. I communicated the best way I knew how to –  phone, e-mail, texting, Facebook messages – places where I could maintain my composure better.

CONFIRMATION #3

I look for things in threes and it was the evening of Thanksgiving when the third confirmation would reveal itself. Remembering that the woman who led the rosary wanted to pray to St. Gertrude, I decided to look her up. St. Gertrude’s feast day was the day before everything turned sour with the pregnancy, November 16. It was enough for me. It was enough for my husband. Her name would be Felicity Gertrude Kreitzer. Now, if you know the names of our other children, you would know without a doubt this was God’s chosen name for her.

BURIAL BRINGS CLOSURE

unnamed-16
The casket

Three weeks after the process of miscarriage started and on the feast day of the Immaculate Conception, we were finally able to say goodbye to our little one. Due to a series of conflicts of schedules, we were finally able to figure out a date that was compatible with both our family and our priest. Had it been any sooner than that, we would not have buried the baby. The baby passed the day before. As awkward as it was, I asked the kids if they wanted to see the baby’s home. Some of them were rightfully squeamish at the thought, but I posed the question think about how you might feel after the burial and you passed up the opportunity to have a look…will you regret not looking? And I left it at that. I wanted it to be their choice. All six children chose to look and many of them had a lot of very respectful and thoughtful questions. It ended up being very cathartic for them and made Gertie seem real vs. a concept or idea, which can be a real danger in early pregnancy.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Time is sometimes the only way things heal. Having a loss so early on in pregnancy, the holidays don’t feel sad or burdensome, but I expect our would-have-been due date to be a tough time. Since I can’t predict the future, I can only hope and pray that the God’s graces to move us through that time will be there. St. Gertie, pray for us!

RESOURCES

I have always had a heart for those who have suffered a miscarriage or infant loss, which is why we have tried to do our best at Catholic Sistas to highlight National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day on October 15 through a series of stories. We have also created a board on Pinterest dedicated to helping mothers and fathers move through lost parenthood. For those curious about the casket, a friend found theirs through Heaven’s Gain, so we ended up ordering through them, too, and were pleased with our purchase and experience.

Categories
End of life Ink Slingers Offering your suffering Patty Pro-Life Issues Respect Life Spiritual Growth

Three Deaths, Many Lessons

 

broken chains

I’m sure that non-Catholics find it more than a little odd that we believe there can be merit to suffering.  The history of the Church is rich with tales of suffering, both voluntary and forced, endured by saints beginning with the early martyrs to present day saints such as Padre Pio and Pope John Paul.

Suffering has the ability to purify the soul, unify us with the suffering of Christ, and unite us with our fellow Catholics here on earth and those suffering in purgatory.  The good that can be done by offering up suffering for our loved ones and those who have passed before us is boundless.

I haven’t experienced much suffering myself other than labor with my children and several horrible toothaches.  Overall, God has not seen fit to gift me with much pain. I have however, known the pain that comes with the deaths of immediate family members. These experiences have forever changed the way I perceived them and perceived the experience of dying.

 

cancerI was a senior in high school when my mother called me and told me that she had kidney cancer.  Fortunately, surgery seemed to have caught it in time.  Four years later when I was 23 and the mother of two young sons aged 4 and 3 months, she phoned me to tell me that she had brain cancer. It had metastasized to both her heart and lungs and they were expecting that she had less than six months to live.

My relationship with my mother was…unusual.  Due to neglect on her part, my father gained custody of my two younger brothers and me when we were very young. We had a sporadic relationship growing up because we only lived in the same area for a few years.  As an adult I realized that my mother probably had many emotional wounds of her own stemming from childhood which made it virtually impossible for her to mother in a healthy, normal manner.

When I received that call at 23 and she relayed to me what was essentially her death sentence, I had no idea how to react. During that conversation she sobbed, broken and lost.  She had been suffering debilitating headaches for months and finally knew the cause. I didn’t know how to console or reassure her.  I was as useless to her as the phone in my hand.  A few weeks later we spoke again.  I couldn’t believe the change in her.  She was now facing her death with courage.  There were no tears; she knew what was coming and was determined to face the inevitable with grace.  And she did just that.

My mother showed admirable traits in her last few months that I had never seen in her prior.  I had so many negative memories of my mother, but at the end she gave me the greatest gift- seeing her face her pain, overcome fear, and patiently wait for her time to meet God.   She died peacefully less than a day after I went to see her for the last time.

pattyEleven years later my youngest brother Tim, only 31 years old, called me to tell me he was fighting multiple myeloma. At the time I was living in Kansas and he was being treated in Montana.  While researching, I found that the mortality rate for young people with multiple myeloma was low. All was going well.  He would call me now and then to update me.  However, like my mother, he had made a mess of his life.  His three children were taken from him and he hid this from me.  I was furious because I could have helped him.

I spoke to him in the fall of 2006.  I learned he was divorced again. One cold winter day a few months later, I had a message on my answering machine from a doctor.  It was vague but he asked me to return the call.  Imagine my surprise when the person answering my call informed me it was the coroner’s office.  I was still baffled until the doctor informed me that he had Tim’s body.  He had died from his cancer.

I frantically phoned the hospital searching for any information.  The information they could give me was limited due to confidentiality, but Tim knew he was dying and chose not to tell any of his family.  He died alone in a hospital.  That crushed me, tore at my heart and made me rage in anger at my now deceased brother.  I would have been there for him; I would have gone and held his hand.  I would have told him I loved him as he took his last breaths, but he never gave me the opportunity.   Even now, eight years later, my heart hurts when I think of that last selfish act of his.  Yes, I believe it was selfish. What he did hurt me and my father in a way that I can not fully describe.  It left a wound that will never heal.

Speaking to the hospital staff, it was clear that they had offered to contact us but he refused.  He refused pastoral care as well.  The irony of him instructing them to contact me only upon his death was cruel and so unlike the sweet boy I had been a second mother to when we were growing up.  It’s so hard to write about this because my heart breaks all over again.

Two short years later my father received the terminal diagnosis of breast cancer.  Yes, men can and do develop breast cancer.  They can and do die from it too.  He had a lump in his breast that he had ignored for a very long time and by the time he had a diagnosis, it was too late.  Shortly after he received that diagnosis he had a debilitating stroke.  He went from living independently and hitch-hiking from town to town in rural Minnesota to losing the use of his right side. His ability to communicate through speech was greatly diminished as well.

young_old_handWhen I received the call that my father wouldn’t last much longer, I packed up my three older children and we drove up to Minnesota.  We stayed with one of my dad’s friends.  During the day my children and I took turns sitting with my father.  When it was clear the end was near, my children and I waited with my father. The nuns from the church had come to his room and were praying the rosary with us.  I held his hand as he took his last breaths.  He had endured the pain and refused to complain as the cancer had invaded his body.  He tolerated the indignity of having to have all of his needs attended by others.  I have no doubt he offered up all of this and in doing so his soul grew closer to God.

The lesson I learned from losing three people I loved so much was that one’s death can either strengthen or weaken those they leave behind.  It can break their hearts for years or leave them with peace.  My mother’s death caused me to develop a respect for her I had never had before.  My brother’s death destroyed me and the relationship I thought I had with him.  My father’s death left me with peace.  He died surrounded by people he loved the most, praying as his soul left his body.  He had received Last Rites the prior day.  I can’t think of a better way to end one’s days and I hope God grants me the kind of death my father had.

All three of them faced the pain of their respective cancers with courage and dignity.  They did not flee from the pain or end their lives prematurely by their own hands.  They conquered pain and embraced the natural culmination of their time on earth.  They taught me acceptance in the face of fear.  For that, I will be forever grateful.

patty 1

 

Categories
Ink Slingers Kerri Loss Respect Life

A Memorial to Our Children

oct15_bannerToday we recognize the children that we never got to know. Those that we only knew of for a short time, maybe held briefly, and loved with all our being. The women of Catholic Sistas are no strangers to miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. For Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day we thought we would take some time to memorialize all the children we as a group have lost. Following is the list of names of our children who are no longer with us but, through God’s mercy, are in heaven praying for us. Please share in the comment the names of any children you have lost so we can remember your children as well.

Baby names 1Baby names 2Baby names 3Baby names 4

Dearest Lord, thank you for giving us precious time with our children. We may never understand why our time could not be longer, but we trust in your goodness and in your mercy. We pray that our children are in Heaven and basking in Your heavenly glory. Help us Lord to continue to trust in You and to live a holy life so that one day we may be reunited in Your Kingdom with our precious children. Amen.

Please share in the comments the names of your children so we can add them to our prayers. Thank you and may God bless you today and always.

More stories for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day can be found HERE. And visit our Miscarriage.InfantLoss Pinterest Board for more links and stories.

Categories
Current Events Guest Posts Loss Respect Life Respect Life Month Testimonials

Mallory: God Had Another Plan

Mallory Grace
Mallory Grace

In the grand scheme of life, sometimes, it goes fast, sometimes slow. When you lose a child, or a pregnancy, time sometimes stands still. I know. Almost six years ago, we found out there was a good chance our unborn child would not live. We were in for our 19 week ultrasound. After years of infertility, we were so excited, as was our 6 ½ year old Megan. She wanted a sister, and I have to be honest, I wanted another girl. Byron wanted a boy, of course, but all we really wanted was a healthy baby. God had another plan.

We had one of the last appointments of the day. I was very well acquainted with the ultrasound room at my doctor’s office. Nothing romantic in the way we got pregnant! The ultrasound tech looked and looked. Of course the usual “I think it is a girl (YAY!) but I am not 100% sure.” Then silence. More quiet. And more measuring. And quiet. Then, “I will go get the doctor. Be right back”. That is never good. The doctor came in. More quiet. Argh. I was so not feeling the way I was supposed to. I was supposed to be laughing and joking, and HAPPY it was a girl! I was nervous, scared and freaking out inside. My mom was there. It was Friday, September 7, 2007. I will never forget that day, and I loathe it.

The doctor mentioned that the baby’s legs and arms were not quite up to the 19 week mark. About 1.5 weeks off. I did not think too much of it. Ultrasounds are not 100% right. She wanted me to see a perinatologist. She called the one in Topeka. He was booked for four weeks. I can wait, no big deal. She said “NO. You need to get in right away.” I freaked. This must be serious. She called KU Med. They could not fit me in for a week. She called St. Luke’s. They had an appointment Monday September 10. Right away. Byron got the day off from work. I had the day off. We headed for Kansas City. We saw Dr. Gibbs that day, and a wonderful genetic counselor named Susan. We heard the usual “termination is an option” – I think they almost have to tell everyone that. Being Catholic, there was no way that would ever be an option for us. I am grateful now that we ended up at the hospital we did. We knew from the start that we could never choose termination, and blessedly, they never mentioned it again. I have heard stories about doctors who ridicule women for NOT choosing abortions in cases like this. I cannot imagine being bullied by someone who is supposed to protect life to the best of their abilities. We were blessed with caring and compassionate doctors and nurses. They were respectful and helpful. We will always remember and appreciate that. He looked and looked, too. She was measuring about two weeks behind in the arms and legs, and was having problems measuring right on in the head and the chest, too. Her head was measuring about two weeks ahead. He could not know what was wrong by the ultrasound alone, so he asked if we wanted an amnio. I was terrified. I had heard bad things about those, but I am a Type A personality, and I could not take the unknowing, so we agreed.

The Fordham Family
The Fordham Family

It was horribly painful, and not a good experience at all. I found out while he was doing it that I did not have enough amniotic fluid, and that is why it hurt so badly. He had to use a lot of force to get enough fluid out. I could not stop shaking, and that was bad too. It lasted about four minutes. By the end, even my macho husband was crying, and so was one of the nurses. I calmed down, and we went home. I had wonderful church friends who were praying and one made us dinner that night, even though I could not eat. We had to wait almost a month to get the results back (they were thinking Trisomy 13-18), because they had to “regrow” the cells a few times, due to the lack of extra fluid. We went back on October 15. We saw Dr. Gray this time. He was awesome, too. He was caring, yet professional. It made it a little bit easier. Mallory Grace (the name we had picked out) was still fighting! She had not gotten any smaller or bigger, and he was optimistic that she had stayed the same. He thought that might be a good sign. We had gotten the amnio back, and it was inconclusive. It was not any Trisomy, and the types of dwarfism they test for all came back negative too. He was hoping it was a form of dwarfism that was not fatal. I could live with that. I would love any type of child. A disability meant nothing to us.

We left that day in a little better of a mood. I still was not feeling her move, but since she was on the smaller side, that was normal, the doctor said. We made an appointment for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (November 27) and went on our way, planning for the holidays. I was hoping that all of our prayers were paying off. We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving with my family, and I went shopping the day after as usual. We went in Tuesday. Megan and my sister came with us. I was trying to be positive for Megan. We went in. Megan and Emily stayed outside. He hooked everything up and started. He turned away. (Dr. Gray) Oh no. Not good. He turned around. He knew I wanted an honest answer. No sugarcoating. He had tears in his eyes. I started to freak out. Byron started crying. Dr. Gray said, “She is in congestive heart failure. There is water on her brain, and her kidneys are not working. It is only a matter of time now.” I only had the tiniest bit of fluid left. After pleading with him that he had made a mistake, I knew in my heart he was right. He hugged me for a while, and tried to comfort me. I composed myself, and asked what we would do next. He said we just had to wait it out, and to make an appointment for a heartbeat check in a week. I should say here that I was so SO blessed to have the care providers I did. I know I mentioned it above, but it bears repeating. I was never disrespected, never lied to. I was cared for and loved and I could feel it. I am forever grateful to my regular OB, and the specialists who cared for us in those months, as well as the nurses. They’ll never know how much they helped us.

That was the worst week of my life. I held my belly. I cried. I told her I loved her and I was sorry, even though it was all out of my control. I am so glad we chose life. I couldn’t imagine NOT having those precious months with her. It was some of the best times and the worst times and I would not trade it for anything. We went in to my OB on Wednesday December 5, 2007 for an ultrasound. She was gone. I was induced on December 6th, and at 7:54 PM, weighing 1 pound 12 ounces, Mallory Grace Santacroce Fordham was born into Heaven. (She shares a birthday with my nephew Jacob, who was born on the same day in 1996, and passed away shortly after birth.) I was blessed to have a wonderful “doula” (a friend who herself had suffered four losses) with me, my mom, Byron, and my brother. I relied on family so much in the coming years, as well as my faith in God.

I think without my faith, I would not have made it through what we went through. I relied on all of that as well, when we became pregnant again months later. Our rainbow child. A scary experience, given what had happened before. But all was well, as was God’s plan for us. Noelle Grace was born healthy, alive and kicking on November 28th, 2008. A blessing that we all needed, thank you Lord!  She is a spitfire who is constantly bringing us joy. I am amazed that I am a mom to her and Megan, as well as Mallory. I am blessed beyond measure. This December will be the six year anniversary. I know now why it happened. I can think more clearly. I love God wholly again. I have met so many caring wonderful women who have walked my walk. They tell me their stories, and some had not told anyone before. They can let it out, and share with someone who truly understands.  I am studying to become a doula, to help women who are going through what I did. I am making it a mission in my life to help others who are navigating this scary road in life. Mallory made all that possible. A tiny soul we never knew is doing great things. I am more passionately pro life than I ever was, although I always was. I am so proud to be her mom. It is so amazing to me how such a tiny perfect soul who never breathed a breath could change the course of so many lives. I am forever grateful for the wonderful, strong women I have met along this journey. They have helped me heal. Some of them, I already knew, but some I met only because of Mallory. I am in awe of how much better my life is because of her.

As we mark the 6th birthday of the child we only knew for a short time, I grieve for my loss, but rejoice in her peace, and the fact that she has brought me so many awesome friends and wonderful life experiences.  I wonder how time can feel so short yet so long at the same time. I grieve for my children who will never know Mallory, but I rejoice in the fact that her name can always be spoken in our home. She is part of us, and we won’t hide her. We will talk about her, and why we made the choices we made.  A part of me will always be missing, but the void is filled with love, blessings and hope for the future. We had the following saying on her prayer card for her funeral. It is one of my favorite poems:

Fordham Family hands

How very softly you tiptoed into our world
Almost silently…
Only for a moment you stayed.
But what an imprint your footsteps
have left upon our hearts.

 Love you always and forever Mallory, to the moon and back.

“She is precious in the eyes of God”

Mallory Grace: Born Sleeping on December 6, 2007

Story by Amy F.

Categories
Abortion Guest Posts Respect Life Uncategorized

Regret Still Knocks

A while back I wrote a post about my abortion called, Regret Will Inevitably Come Knocking. I wanted to write another post that went a little bit deeper in to the after effects of my story. There are a couple secrets that I’ve been harboring for a while, but I decided it’s finally time to share my story in its entirety with the hopes that I can save even just one woman from the emotional mess of an abortion.

 

I was a sophomore in High School when I got pregnant. My town was fairly small, so it wasn’t kept secret for long that I had an abortion. The website Myspace was becoming really popular around this time and when teenagers gain access to the Internet it’s usually not pretty. Girls online feel like they can say absolutely anything they want since they are hiding behind a computer screen. If there’s one thing I was called more than my real name it was, “slut.” The funny thing though, was that I was one of the least, “slutty” (for lack of a better word) girls at my school. My peers were having sex with just about everyone it seemed, and I had been with one person and gotten pregnant, so I was the slut.

When you get called a name enough times, you start to believe that it’s who you are. I really thought I was a slut. Looking back, I believe I was subconsciously thinking that I didn’t deserve to be anything other than that. I became so depressed over the fact that I killed my baby, and I had no friends that I truly believed the only way to feel good about myself was to fulfill the role everyone else already thought I was. I became more promiscuous than I wanted to be, trying to fill the hole that was made when my baby was ripped away from me. Nothing could ever, or will ever be able to fill that completely. I then became even more depressed because being promiscuous was not who I was, or who I wanted to be. Now I have to live my entire life knowing that I gave myself to people I didn’t care about. I so badly wish that I could go back and save myself for marriage so that sex can be something other than what it is to me. I don’t think it has the same meaning to me that it does to other people because I now associate it with something bad and un-meaningful.

When I met my husband I had just turned 17. From the very beginning I just knew in my heart that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. I know it sounds corny, but I just knew. My husband and I now have two children together, and we tell everyone that our first was an, “accident.” But that’s not true. We were trying to conceive when we did. A 17 and 18 year old trying to have a baby? Yep, it’s crazy. But this isn’t as uncommon as you would think. The amount of women who end up pregnant soon after their abortion is a lot higher than you may think. I was so depressed that I really thought the only way to be happy was to have a baby. My first child was conceived almost exactly 2 years after my abortion. I have to thank God every day because we went against the “stereotype” of teenage parents and live an extremely blessed life. I married the father of my child. We don’t live in poverty and we aren’t struggling to feed our children.

I often check up on the father of my child who was aborted. My mind plays games and thinks about the life I would have had if I had carried the baby to term. I feel like I have to see what he is doing because I want to re-assure myself that life with him, as the father of my baby wouldn’t have been a good life at all. I try to make excuses in my mind and tell myself that having an abortion was the right decision because my life would be awful now and I never would have married my husband and had my two beautiful children. The problem though, is that it never works. Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a reality where my brain starts to flip flop between real life and the life I would have had. It’s excruciating thinking about my baby who never had life on Earth. There is nothing I want more than to help save a woman from this.

I cannot stress enough what a blessing adoption is. With an open adoption the birth mother gets to be a part of her child’s life, but at the same time can do all the things she may not have been able to had she decided to parent her child. She gets to live knowing that she blessed a child with not only an amazing family, but with life itself. She won’t have to live with what I have to live with… wondering every day what my baby would have looked like, knowing that because of my selfish decision, my child will never get to laugh, never learn to read, and never even have a chance at success.

If you know someone who is contemplating an abortion, please send her to this post. If you are thinking about an abortion or you have had one and you want to talk, know that I am here! You can contact me through the blog and I will be more than willing to talk to you. You are not alone.

I know that I am forgiven. I have forgiven myself. But the pain is still there.