Wednesday, March 18, 2015

10 Things I Need to Tell You Before You Choose by Elizabeth Reed

To my best friend,

We’ve been friends for years -- through breakups, through laughter, through tears, through margarita Tuesdays and hangover Wednesdays. We’ve laughed so hard at inside jokes that we’ve both been laying on the kitchen floor and getting weird looks from the rest of our friends.

About a week ago, I took you to lunch.  I brought two pregnancy tests with me because you were "late."  Despite the severity of the situation, we were standing in the bathroom -- of a Chic Fil A, no less -- the irony of this does not escape me!  We were laughing to each other, joking about something from work, waiting for the results to appear.  I reached for the tests, flipped them over to read the results, and saw the glaring plus sign.  I looked up to meet your eyes, and saw your fear.  The words “you’re pregnant” fell out of my mouth, and I saw their impact as they hit you right in the gut.  I almost wanted to throw my body in front of the words, as if they were a bullet, and absorb their impact for you.

That was about a week ago.  For the past week, I am the only one who has known your secret.  I’m the only one you’ve talked to about it.  I’ve held you while you wept.  I’ve gone with you to a doctor to confirm that you are, in fact, pregnant.  We have discussed all of your options thoroughly.  I know all of your fears intimately, and I know exactly what you have ahead of you.

It seems that you’ve made up your mind to "terminate" your pregnancy.  When you told me of your decision, I remained solid, wanting to be supportive and loving.  I wanted you to feel unjudged.  You told me you thought an abortion would be the best choice for you.  I hugged you and told you that everything would be fine, and that we would get through this together.

But I want to tell you some things -- things that are bursting within me, things that I NEED to tell you before you go through with having an abortion, things that you need to know before you make this decision, things which I don’t need to say just because I am pro-life, but because I am your best friend, and I can’t let you make this decision without you knowing these things.  So, before you go this Saturday to have your abortion, please know:

1.) You are strong.
I know that you have rebuilt your entire life more than once from total ruin. You have walked through fire and have come out stronger and better than before.  I envy your courage and your stamina.  I envy that you can laugh through things that you struggle with.  Your smile is beautiful because of the things you have been through.  Your eyes shine with courage and experience beyond your years.  You are one of the strongest women I know, and I know, without a doubt, that you ARE strong enough to go through an unplanned pregnancy.  The most anti-feminist thing I’ve ever heard is that a woman is not strong enough to go through a pregnancy which she didn't plan.

2.) I will be here for you.
No matter what it takes, I will support you, I will hold your hair when morning sickness comes; I will help you find pickles and ice cream at 4 am; I will help you consider whether you’d like to parent or place your child for adoption; I will throw you a baby shower; I will help you plan for the baby; I will help you pick out names; I will help you pick maternity clothes that don’t make you feel fat; I will make virgin margaritas and bring them over every Tuesday; I will show you pregnant tricks like tying a hair tie around the button of your too-small jeans so that you can still wear them because you’re not ready for maternity pants yet; I will hold you when pregnancy hormones make you weepy, laugh with you when they make you goofy, and share in your irrational outrage when the hormones make you a little loopy; I will help you choose a doctor you like; I will listen to your fears and celebrate your successes. “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16  I will not leave your side through this entire process, nor will I leave after. My friendship and love for you are here to stay.

3.) You don’t have to choose yet. 
I know you feel that you’re not ready for the responsibility of a baby, and I understand your fears.  Let’s just take this one day at a time.  Once you decide that abortion is not for you, you have plenty of time to decide if adoption or parenting is the best choice.  You don’t have to make this decision yet.  But when you are ready for it, I will be here to help you process whether to parent or to place for adoption, like I did with my first child.  And I will help you reach out to an adoption agency and choose a family; or I will help you prepare a nursery and stockpile diapers and take Lamaze classes. The best way to handle a crisis pregnancy is to remove the crisis, not the child.  I know you feel a sense of urgency to make a decision, but stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and let’s just move one step at a time.

4.) You are important. 
I hear often from our pro-choice counterparts that pro-lifers only care about the baby, and that we don’t care about the mother at all.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  You matter.  You are important.  God has plans for YOU.  He has had you in the palm of His hand from before your birth.  He knew every breath you would take before you took your first.  He is jealous for you.  He loves you more than any love you’ve ever known.  He is not like men you have known.  He cannot disappoint you or lie to you.  He IS who He says He is, and He does what He says He will do.  He died a horrific death on the cross so that you could spend eternity with Him.  Life has not been a walk in the park for you to this point, I know that well.  But I know that life doesn’t have to be that way.  Life doesn’t have to be about hate and anger.  It doesn’t have to be about bitterness or revenge.  It can be about love.  It can be about new beginnings.  It can be about freedom.  There is freedom at the foot of the cross, hope resides at the opening of the empty grave.  There is grace.  Do not ever believe you don’t matter.  There is nothing you could possibly do, no sin big enough, to separate you from the great love God has for you.  He knit you together in your mother’s womb, He has called you by name and you are one of His children!  How precious you are to Him is beyond measure.  “…but God shows His great love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 

5.) Your baby already has a heartbeat.
Before you even knew you were pregnant, the baby growing in your womb had a heartbeat -- heartbeat which will probably be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard should you have an ultrasound.  Your baby also has measurable brainwaves, little arms and legs, little fingers, and even eyes and eyelids.  Not only does your baby have a heartbeat, but he or she has a purpose.  You may not have planned this baby, but God did.  And He has enormous plans for him or her.  The same love I just told you that God has for you, God has for the child growing in your womb.  He is knitting this child, YOUR child, together with His hands.  Do you know how painstakingly dull it is to knit??  How detail-oriented and love-filled that task is?  He lovingly and patiently takes the time to build our frame in the secret place and breathes His breath of life into our nostrils.  Life is such a gift!  You may not see it now, but you are blessed among women to be given the gift of life stirring in your womb.  I cannot put into words the wonder and joy that will fill you when you feel the first flutters of life in your abdomen or the awe that will overcome you when you look upon the face of your baby for the first time.  “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 

6.) Abortion isn’t safe. 
Please remember that this is by law your choice and that, no matter what, I will love you, support you, and be your friend; but also remember that abortion is not safe.  Women who have had surgical abortions have died, been rendered infertile, have had perforated uteruses, and suffered serious and debilitating depressions afterwards.  Women who have had medication abortions have suffered serious side effects as well.  As many as 491 women have died since the "abortion pill" became an option -- probably more still that have been unreported.  But hardly anyone talks about it. It’s not on the news, it’s not bragged about so that women like you and I can easily find it. The abortion industry doesn’t care about you as a person in the least. They claim to be champions for women and I’m calling "B.S.!"  They want your money and your silence.  I have talked to many women who regret their abortions, but I have never once spoken to a woman who says she regrets choosing life for her child.

7.) Adoption is loving and selfless.
Some of the arguments against adoption I’ve heard are absolutely preposterous, such as: “You made your bed, now you should lay in it" -- as if a child is a punishment for sex.  Children are not punishments. You are not being punished for a careless mistake.  God is not a mean bully with a magnifying glass, sitting atop an ant hill.  This child is beauty from the ashes of the way your life has been up until now.  There are 1.5 million couples in American waiting, right now, to adopt a child.  Now, I am not pushing adoption on you in any way, shape, or form, but please do not discount it and think that you *have* to choose to parent if you choose life for your baby.  If you don’t believe you are ready for a child, and feel strongly that someone else could provide a better life for your child, then please consider adoption.  It is such a selfless, loving choice which you won't regret.  And if anyone ever tries to tell you otherwise, I will show them to the door and present them with a pretty gift bag which will consist of strong words and a complimentary black eye!

8.) This is not the end of your life. 
I know, from experience, that this is scary.  I know just from seeing your face when I told you what the tests said that you are terrified to your very toes.  You carry the knowledge of your pregnancy like a heavy burden and you cannot stand up straight under the enormous weight of it.  You’ve probably prayed a few times for a miscarriage.  And you’ve probably felt guilty for praying such a terrible thing.  Darling, you are not alone.  I was in a crisis pregnancy once, and I’ll tell you a secret: I prayed the same thing.  You are not alone.  This is scary, it is overwhelming.  But, this will not break you.  This is not going to last forever.  This is not the end of your life.  Look at all that you have overcome. Look at the frightening hurdles you have jumped over with ease.  Looking ahead at them, you were terrified and thought maybe you wouldn’t make it, but looking back you see it wasn’t as hard as you imagined, and you overcame.  This is will be the same.  No matter what you choose, you will look back on this unplanned pregnancy as something you handled, overcame, and that has refined you into the woman you will become.  Do not throw in the towel.  Do not give up.  You can do this.

9.) You are not alone.
One of your biggest fears is going through this pregnancy, and raising this child, alone and without any financial/emotional help at all.  That is one of every woman’s biggest fears, unplanned pregnancy or not.  But you will not be alone.  There are government programs to help you with the costs associated with giving birth and prenatal care.  There are programs, churches, pregnancy resource centers, women’s groups, etc. which all are made for women in your situation.  I have tons of pro-life friends who have children, and would love to give you their gently-used items. They want to help you.  They want to support you during your pregnancy, and after the child is born.  During your pregnancy, they provide free or very affordable maternity clothing, free classes on maternity and parenting.  Should you choose to parent, they will help you get all of the items that you need for rock bottom prices or even for free in some cases; and should you choose to place your child for adoption, they will help you through this process and offer emotional support groups and free counseling to help you sort through your emotions afterwards.  Not only are all of these programs and people there to help you, but I am here to help you find them and navigate through them.  This process doesn’t need to seem so looming and scary.

10.) Your baby needs you. 
God is into details.  Nothing He does is by accident or coincidence.  He gave you this baby for a reason.  We can’t see that reason on this side yet, but we will.  Your baby has only one line of defense from the world, and it’s you.  You alone are the defender, protector, nurturer, and home of this baby.  Whether you choose to parent or place this child for adoption, your baby is counting on you.  Your childhood was not easy, as your friend I know this secret of yours.  But now is your chance.  Now is your time to break the cycle.  You have a choice to give your child things you never had.  You have a choice, right this very minute, to choose to love, to choose to live in victory, to break the chains of generational sin, and to become instead of just be. You ARE strong and courageous.  You are called to a purpose.  You are not called to have a spirit of fear.  Your baby is at the most defenseless and vulnerable point possible right now.  You are the only thing standing between your baby and a violent death.  I beg you, with everything within me, please reconsider.  I cannot make this choice for you, it is yours alone to make.  While I can't support a decision to abort, I will love you and support YOU no matter what you decide, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.  I have been in your shoes more than once, and at no point will I ever judge you for anything you feel because I have felt the same things.  I am confident that you can choose life.  I am confident that you are strong enough to handle the road ahead.  And I am confident that God will reveal a great purpose in this trial if you put your faith and trust in Him and choose life.  In Philippians 1:6, the Word tells us that ‘He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion’.  Your baby, and this pregnancy, are a good work.  And God will help you navigate this road.  You can trust Him.  You can trust me.  You can choose life.  You can choose Love.
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose LIFE, that both you and your children may live…” Deuteronomy 30:19 
Your friend who loves you and your baby.
By Elizabeth Reed, Executive Director of Georgia Businesses for Life. and pro-life speaker  and blogger for Save The 1, sharing her story of being a birthmother out of rape.