The opportunity to be born

September 24, 2015

This blog is a risk. It’s not something I normally blog about. I could get hateful comments, I could get people unfriending and unfollowing me. But I’m not here to please everyone.

The other day I became aware of the twitter hashtag #shoutyourabortion and it’s like the twitterverse is on fire. I normally don’t go on to Twitter, but I wanted to see what the fuss was all about and quite frankly, the hashtag makes me want to learn what these people have to say.

The two women who started it did so to let other women know they don’t have to feel shame in their abortion, and they want to break that silence and the stigma because not all women feel shame for having an abortion, and you don’t have to feel shame either, if you’ve had an abortion. Abortion is legal in this country, it’s a law that women have the right to access, I’m not here to argue that.

And I’m not here to shame you as a person for having an abortion, if you’ve had one. But my point of view is different. The unfortunate thing is when we have differing opinions on such a divisive topic, we can get nasty. I feel that’s why a lot of Christians might remain silent because they don’t want to be lumped in with the others who are shouting hate at people. Search #shoutyourabortion on Twitter and you can see how people talk to one another… you’re ignorant, go educate yourself, I’m right, you’re wrong. Just another religious nutcase, etc.

How can I be supportive to a woman who’s in a situation where she feels abortion is her best option AND also be supportive to the life that is inside of her? Do those who are in the for abortion category want people like me, who are not for it, to agree with you, even if it goes against every fiber of my being? I’ve never been in that circumstance, but if I feel strongly about something, are you asking me to remain silent? Just as the #shoutyourabortion crowd are not silent, why do I need to be silent because I feel we are #madeforlife?

If my daughter is going to harm herself by pulling on the stove handle, or by walking into the street, am I going to sit idly by and allow it to happen because she feels like this is what she wants to do? No, I want to say something, I want to protect her, I want to tell her there’s another way.

In the case of abortion, I firmly believe, there’s a human life inside of you with its own DNA, with functioning organs that are developing and that there’s a heartbeat inside of that tiny baby. I don’t just believe that, there’s overwhelming evidence that it’s true. Not only that, but through the advancement of sonograms we can see babies smiling, sucking their thumbs, and we also know that they feel pain because they recoil when a needle for a test is put into them. Another body, is inside of your body. There are two bodies here, the woman’s and the tiny, living, heart beating, brain receiving information body inside of the woman’s body. That tiny body is a person BECAUSE of all these things…it has DNA it has a fingerprint. That person will have dreams and a personality, if given the opportunity. Just please process that information and don’t allow it to wash over you like it’s not true.

The disheartening thing from reading the posts with the hashtags, for me, is that so many of the women seem to convey that the reason for their abortions was because having a baby was inconvenient. A lot of things are inconvenient, like making a return at the mall the day after Christmas. And children are a lot of work, but is inconvenience to what you want in life a reason to choose abortion? I’m sure as a child I wasn’t always convenient or fun, but life is not always about what’s convenient. Sometimes we have to do hard things in life. Having a baby you didn’t plan on is a hard choice. Abortion is a hard choice and so is adoption. Adoption is an alternative to not wanting to parent and I wish that more women would consider alternatives to abortion, like adoption.

When Rob and I adopted our daughter Reagan, she forever changed our life. Those who know our story, know that on day four of her life, our daughter was diagnosed with a rare genetic, metabolic disorder. This test is done on newborn screening, after birth, and it’s a fairly new test. It’s become standard just within the last 10 years here in Florida and I’m not sure if all 50 states have these as standard tests. At age 13 months our daughter would suffer a traumatic brain injury, due to her genetic metabolic condition; she lost all her skills, gained a g-tube and we’ve been working hard to help her regain her milestones and skills back ever since April 2014.

But when I look at her, I am so grateful that her birthmom chose adoption. In the midst of a very difficult life circumstance, Reagan’s birthmom chose to give Reagan a chance.

Reagan’s life and story has impacted thousands of people. Her life has challenged Dr.’s because every single thing she is able to do, she should not be able to do. Her brain was so severely damaged that she should not be able to walk, or move much at all. Her life matters. Everyone’s life matters.Balloons

Some people might choose abortion due to a potential disability. If presented with Reagan’s genetic disorder prior to birth, I can bet a lot of people might select abortion. The information on Glutaric Acidemia Type 1 is insanely scary when you look online. But then I look at my child’s eyes; she is not her disorder. She has a feisty personality, she is defying all odds given to us by the doctors in the hospital. She’s walking more, falling less and trying to talk, eat and drink more. Reagan goes to a regular preschool and is a pretty popular classmate because she likes to give everyone hugs. There’s no way I can know the full impact of her little life but I can guarantee you that anyone who has watched her life story unfold has never witnessed more determination or adversity defying by another person, let alone a two and a half year old. We can’t shield ourselves from pain all our life…pain will come, adversity will come, this is life here on earth.

The only way we know greatness, or great people, is because they were given the opportunity to become great. They were given the opportunity to be born.

Converse heel stretch

The reason we choose one decision over another is because we want to control our life’s outcome and we want it to be the very best. But we can’t control better outcomes. You’ll never know how that unborn life could have impacted you, your loved ones, or the world. You’ll never know how you could have grown as a person through a situation you didn’t think you could handle or didn’t want. You’ll never know how you could have become your very best self by overcoming adversity or seemingly impossible odds, you’ll never know.

If you’ve had an abortion, please hear me…I am not here to judge you or condemn you. And I don’t think you’re a terrible person. The purpose in me writing this, is to offer another viewpoint to a woman who might be considering abortion.

Through Reagan’s life and the difficulty we have gone through with her, one thing I have learned is that your current life situation is not going to last forever. We have mountains and we have valleys. Maybe you’re a woman who’s in a valley right now. You aren’t ready to be a mom, you are financially having a hard time, you have no family or friend support. Or maybe you’re on top of a mountain, and you feel having a child would fling you into a valley. I want to encourage you to make an adoption plan. There are SO many families who, like us, have never been able to conceive, ever. There are people who want to be a mom and a dad but haven’t been blessed in that way. You could bless them with the child you’re not ready to parent. Your life might be tough through the nine months of carrying that pregnancy to term, but you can give the gift of the life inside of your body to a family who will love and take care of that child forever. If you are considering abortion, would you please consider adoption?

Maybe you’re afraid that during those nine months you will feel the baby kick, you’ll start to feel emotions and love. You might catch yourself making dreams for that child and for you, you’ll see them smile on a sonogram and your heart will melt…you might start feeling like, you can do this mom thing to the child growing inside of you. Or maybe you don’t want to go through those feelings and you prefer to just end it with abortion. Can I ask you something? Is it possible to do something even though you don’t want to? Is it possible you could carry a child for nine months, for a family who would give anything to have a child? The #shoutyourabortion movement is really loud, like a clanging gong. But I pray you can listen to the soft voice that is inside of you, the voice who says “I created your inmost being,” and allow what is being knit together the chance to live.  What is being knit together inside of you is #madeforlife.

Psalm 139:13-18

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—


comments +

  1. Terry Lulfos

    September 24th, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    So well put Anne-Marie.

  2. Margarita Henry

    September 24th, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    This is an amazing blog, and I totally agree with everything you noted. We’re not here to judge, and the message is that there is another way. God bless you Anne-Marie and your beautiful family.

  3. Diane

    September 25th, 2015 at 2:01 am

    Thank you for posting this. I, too, do not want to condemn. I have also heard of more than one occasion when a doctor has told a pregnant mother that her child was going to be born with a defect and the child is born perfectly healthy.

    Today, I heard that politicians overwhelmingly voted that if an aborted baby lived, that the performing doctor had the right to end its life. I cannot come to terms with this in any way shape or form. What right does that baby have and shouldn’t it be protected at that point. I shake my head at decisions being made and wonder when did the people of this country become so callous and insensitive.

    Keep spreading this message and it may make a difference for someone. You could possible save a very precious life.

  4. Rach

    September 25th, 2015 at 2:31 am

    I think this is a very well written article and brings up incredibly valid points. However, what about the young girl who is raped? Should she have to carry a baby? Yes, maybe she will want to give that baby up for adoption, but shouldn’t it be her choice? Abortion in the case of Rape was not mentioned once in this article, and that is a big part of the pro choice movement. It is certainly an important stance to consider.

  5. Anne-Marie

    September 25th, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Hi Rach, Thank you for your comment. In observing the #shoutyourabortion movement on Twitter, it seemed to me that a vast majority of the reasons given for abortions were due to convenience. In the circumstance of rape, my question would be, is the life being woven together any less valuable? Does it have no purpose to serve? The argument given back is that “it’s not a life” but quite frankly, if what is being made inside of the woman already has DNA, a fingerprint, a heartbeat, all major organs and a brain that receives information, all before a woman likely even knows she’s pregnant, that is a life and it deserves to be given the opportunity to be born.

    Also, I really don’t know where to find accurate statistics on abortions due to rape, but I did find several articles online that suggest it’s a low percentage, Which leads me to believe convenience is probably a pretty large factor, that along with all the women discussing it on Twitter.

  6. Rach

    September 26th, 2015 at 1:13 am

    I just think it is incredibly closed-minded that women, CHILDREN who are the VICTIMS of the deplorable acts of rape or incest are not given the OPTION to decide what they want to do with THEIR bodies. They clearly taken those rights away from them when they were raped. A 12 year old, heck a 16 year old who was RAPED and becomes pregnant should not have to have a baby if they don’t want to. They are a child themself! I am not necessarily talking about the people who get abortions out of “convenience” but regardless, it is their decisions. More education on the matter is key. I myself have a chronic, life threatening illness, so I get it. When I have kids, I will pass it onto them. It’s genetic. So I have to take a different approach when I have kids. I will certainly pray that you and no one close to you ever are victims of rape or incest because I believe it would change your tune. I give you a lot of credit for standing up for what you believe in, but as a woman who doesn’t believe in basic women’s rights when they are victimized, shame on you.

  7. Anne-Marie

    September 26th, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Rach, thank you for your comment and for your dialogue. I think rape and incest are terrible, terrible things for anyone to have to go through. You are also assuming that an abortion on a 12 or 16 year old will be free of pain, turmoil, regret and depression…an abortion could further enhance the trauma and bring on new trauma. I have not been in that situation and I don’t want to disrespect anyone who has been, just offering an alternate point of view. I encourage you to check back to this blog tomorrow and read the abortion story that will be posted. Thanks for reading 🙂

  8. Rachel Cooks

    September 25th, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I have to chime in and say that I know a woman who was conceived in rape. Her mom planned to abort but decided to give her up for adoption instead. Does she not deserve to live? Why can’t something beautiful (a new life!) come from something so ugly? Who will look her in the eye and tell her that she should have been aborted? Not me.

  9. Anne-Marie

    September 25th, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Rachel!

  10. Kristin

    September 26th, 2015 at 7:03 am

    I also am friends with someone who was adopted and conceived from rape. Her adopted mom and dad waited for five years to adopt her and she was a VERY wanted and loved child!! She is now an adult and has a family of her own and I cannot imagine not having her here. Her biological mom lives close by, but has chosen not to have a relationship with her, which is respectably her choice. I have to think that, while yes her biological mom is a victim, at least she does not also have to live with a choice of death. From what I have read many women who have abortions struggle with that choice of death their whole lives and in cases of rape, it does not take away or help that scar either and in fact may just add to it. It seems choosing life is indeed the easier decision to live with. ( easier not easy ). Many times the right decision is not the easy decision.

  11. Emily

    December 9th, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I am a woman who has had an abortion. I was 29 years old at the time. I ended my pregnancy at six weeks 1 day, when it was the size of my pinky fingernail. I am aware that this was a massive decision. I was aware of it the moment I discovered I was pregnant. The father and I simply were not ready for a child. I have written a lot about it; I have a 50-page essay on this topic. The truth is that it isn’t something I should have to explain. He wasn’t ready, I wasn’t ready, and it was impossibly intimate and personal and intense and only my decision to make. Anne-Marie, my name is Emily, and I want to tell you these things because it’s awful to stumble across a woman’s blog — a stranger’s blog — and read her sentences saying “You’ll never know how that unborn life could’ve impacted you.” No, I won’t know. And that’s something I already have to live with for the rest of my life. But it was the choice I made. And your words are a slap in the face. I know I’m not your audience — you say that you’re writing this for a woman who is considering abortion currently. But I’m the one who read them. And they hurt. So please think about that in the future before writing more posts like this. –Emily

  12. Anne-Marie

    December 9th, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Emily, Thank you for commenting. I certainly took great care in the words I used in writing this blog, and in no way am asking for you or any woman in your shoes to explain their decision. I’m sorry if you felt my words were hurtful, this can happen when two people have a strong differing in opinions or beliefs. This blog was written in love and in no way intended to slap women in the face who have had abortions. I re-read it this morning for the first time since September 2015 when I wrote it, and I do stand by everything I wrote and I know in my heart how much prudence I took before I pressed publish. I hope that if you were to re-read the blog, you would see that. I would love to learn more about your story and if you’d like to share your essay, I would be honored to read it.

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