Thursday, February 18, 2016

I'd Endure The Rape Again To Hold My Child Alive, by Kaitlin Westbrook

At the age of 19, I was a very happy, vibrant young woman, excited about what the future had in store for me.  I was a freshman attending college in San Antonio, excited about meeting new people and swimming on the university’s swim team.  However, I had no idea that my freshman year was going to be the worst year of my life. 

October 8th is a day I will never forget.  Someone who I thought was a really good friend at the time, came to visit me at college, with plans to hang out and go to dinner.  What was supposed to be a pleasant evening turned into a nightmare.  On this particular day, all of my friends who lived on the same dorm floor as me left to go to the college soccer game, including my RA – Resident Assistant.  When everybody left, it was just me and my friend.

As he locked the door to my room and turned on the music loudly, I knew something was seriously wrong.  At 6:15 pm, the man I thought I knew so well as a friend, revealed himself to be a monster.  He brutally raped me in my dorm room, punching me in the head, throwing me into the bed post, choking me, and ultimately raping me with a knife pointed at my ribs.  I screamed and screamed, but no one came, and he knew no one would be around.

He told me I was worthless, and threatened to kill me if I told anyone about his actions.  He also told me he would rape other women and I wouldn’t be able to stop him, then saying these rapes would be my fault.   On top of that, he told me that if I got pregnant, he would come and cut the baby out of me.  Terrified, I didn’t report the crime. I believed his threats and I was afraid he would come back and kill me, because I’d already heard that there’s very little justice for rape victims, and I felt hopeless.

Just a few weeks later, on October 27th, I found out I was pregnant from the rape, and of course, I didn’t want anyone to know, for fear that the rapist would find out, then come after me to kill the baby, just as he’d threatened to do.  

When I went to the doctor, I told him what had happened and the first words out of his mouth were, “It’s still early in the pregnancy, so you still have options.”  Options?!!!

Having been adopted myself, I told the doctor I wanted to have the baby and place the baby for adoption.  I felt a very close connection with my birthmom, being the same exact age she was when she had me, and I wanted my child to have a family like I had.  The doctor didn’t even let me finish talking and said, “Who is going to want a rapist’s child?  The child will always remind you of what you have been through.  It’s still early enough to get an abortion.”   I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!  This is my child – a child of God.  Despite his horrible attempts at fear-mongering, I stormed out of the doctor’s office and didn’t look back.

The way the doctor reacted threw me into years and years of silence.  I thought, “What would people think if I told them I was raped and was going to give birth to this child?  Would they blame me for what happened?  Would they call my baby a ‘demon child’?”  I thought that the only way to protect myself and my child was to not talk about it and pretend it didn't happen.  In fact, I never even disclosed the rape to the prospective adoptive parents, until just last year, out of fear that what the doctor said would be true – that they’d change their mind about wanting the baby.

I was very excited about this new life.  I knew I could turn this terrible situation into a positive one by giving my baby up for adoption.  I had already decided to ask one of my friend’s mom if she would be willing to adopt my baby because I was aware that she recently suffered a miscarriage.  Sure enough, this couple did want to adopt my baby!

I felt so blessed that God would give me this sweet angel growing inside of me to help me heal.  I have always considered my child to be my beauty from pain.  Even though what happened was horrible, a sweet little baby was conceived. 

About a month after learning I was pregnant, I suddenly began experiencing sharp pains and bleeding.  Fear came over me that I might lose this baby – my light in the darkness.  One of my friends rushed me to Urgent Care, and they informed me that I was in the process of miscarrying.  This news was devastating and I was completely heart broken.

After that, I became more depressed and more distant from my friends.  I didn’t tell any of my friends about my pregnancy or the miscarriage until two or three years later.  Thoughts of hurting myself to end the pain engulfed me.   I even called the rapist to scream at him, telling him that I’d become pregnant from the rape, and that the miscarriage was his fault.  But all he did was blame me more, telling me I miscarried because I would be a bad mom.  I felt empowered by having called him, because my voice was heard.

A week later, God saved me yet again.  He sent me a message in a dream.  In my dream, the Virgin Mary came down from Heaven holding a red-haired, blue-eyed baby boy.  Mary said, “Katie, your child, Michael Jude is safe and loved.  He is in the hands of God.  He loves you dearly and so does God.  Please know that your child is always watching over you, now and forever.”  The dream gave me so much hope and I truly believe that my child has been with me this whole time.  Michael has been with me through my panic attacks, flashbacks, nightmares, and constant emotional abuse from my rapist who stalked me for years. 

I have PTSD and depression -- not just from the rape, but from the miscarriage.  I experienced two traumas that mashed together.  I constantly have nightmares and panic attacks because of both traumas. 

Being adopted myself, I take abortion very seriously.  After going through this, I feel a very close connection to my birthmother.  She could have aborted me, but instead she gave me the most beautiful gift -- my life!  I understand what it’s like to lose a child whether it’s through adoption or miscarriage.  

I hate when people make the rape exception.  Women are stronger and more resilient than society gives us credit -- we don’t need to kill our children to be emotionally healthy.  Just because I was raped doesn’t mean I can perpetrate violence upon another and take away a life.  My child is a blessing and I honor him every day by speaking up and telling women abortion is not okay.  

Honestly, if I had had an abortion, my healing process would have been very slow and even more difficult.  Not only would I be having nightmares about the rape, but I would also be dealing with the guilt of the abortion.  To help you understand even more – I want you to know that I would endure the rape all over again if I could hold my child alive and see that sweet face. 

Even still, Michael Jude has bought me such healing.  Last year was the first time I spoke up about the rape, pregnancy and miscarriage seven years ago.  I reported the crime to the police last year, and I believe all of that was possible to do because of God and my sweet Michael.  

On October 8, 2008 – the day I was raped, God stayed with me in that room and told me to hold on.  He calmed me down and helped me survive.  He saved my life on that horrid day and gave me a beautiful gift -- my beloved son. 

I have decided that every year on October 27th – the date my baby left this Earth, I will send a balloon into heaven with a note to Michael Jude.  It warms my heart to know God is watching over my precious angel!  I know I have a long journey towards healing, but as long as I have God’s love and my child watching over me, I can do anything! 

I began to discuss the loss of my child with my therapist, and my desire to somehow connect with other women who had conceived out of rape.  My therapist turned to her computer, searched the term, “conceived in rape,” and Rebecca Kiessling’s story popped up, with a link to Save the 1.  I watched the short Save The 1 promo video and was amazed to see all of these beautiful people who were conceived in this way, as well as the mothers like me, who became pregnant by rape and love their children.  I knew that this was a means for me to honor my son, by advocating for my son’s right to life, and others like him.  I’m grateful for what Save The 1 stands for and does for women who have experienced this trauma.  And now I’m bearing witness to the truth -- a child conceived in rape is the mother’s beauty from her pain.

I love you Michael Jude.  I hope you know how much I value your life.  I honor you!

BIO:  Kaitlin Westbrook is a swim coach, certified teacher, pro-life blogger for Save The 1, residing in Texas.  She is available for speaking.
Read her poem she wrote to her son:  By Your Side
Monday, February 8, 2016

Children Conceived In Rape Take a Beating From Bush and Christie at GOP Debate, by Rebecca Kiessling

Children conceived in rape – like me – took a beating at the GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire Sat. evening.  Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. Jeb Bush had some harsh words regarding the treatment of the innocent child conceived in rape, and I think their rhetoric demonstrates that they're not really committed to ending abortion, but merely doing the bare minimum to win votes from those who identify as pro-life.

For starters, Gov. Christie said, “I believe that if a woman has been raped, that is a pregnancy that she should be able to terminate.”  What does he mean by “terminate?”  It may come as a surprise to many of you, but I voluntarily terminated three of my pregnancies.  My daughters are doing quite well now, after having labor induced.  You see, you can terminate a pregnancy and still have a live baby.  Normal delivery of a baby is the termination of a pregnancy.  Inducing labor or performing a C-section is the premature termination of a pregnancy.  But that’s not what Christie is talking about, is it?  He’s talking about the termination where you have a dead baby – because he or she is killed.  So what Gov. Christie is saying is that my birthmother – a woman who had been raped – should have been able to kill me.  Ouch!  That’s not pro-life, and it's not at all compassionate.

Then he went on to say, “The fact is that we have always believed, as has Ronald Reagan, that we have self defense for women who have been raped and impregnated because of it or been victims of incest and been impregnated for it.”  Since he used the tactic of invoking President Reagan, let’s take a look at what Reagan actually said:

Let us unite as a nation and protect the unborn with legislation that would stop all Federal funding for abortion and with a human life amendment making, of course, an exception where the unborn child threatens the life of the mother. Our Judeo-Christian tradition recognizes the right of taking a life in self-defense. But with that one exception, let us look to those others in our land who cry out for children to adopt.  I pledge to you tonight I will work to remove barriers to adoption and extend full sharing in family life to millions of Americans so that children who need homes can be welcomed to families who want them and love them. 
 – Ronald Reagan, State of the Union address, January, 1988
If you’re going to invoke Reagan to bolster your position, you’d better be sure you got that right.  But in case mischaracterizing Reagan’s position wasn’t bad enough, Gov. Christie outdid himself with his next statement:  “I believe that they do not have to deliver that child if they believe that is an act of self defense by terminating that pregnancy.”  “An act of self-defense?!”  This is the kind of rhetoric you hear from abortion rights advocates – suggesting that the innocent preborn child is somehow continuing to rape the woman, and therefore, she needs to kill the baby to stop the rape.  Gov. Christie, since you recognize my right as a woman to engage in an act of self defense, let me clear up your confusion:  I was NOT raping my birthmother!  I was not attacking her.  I was innocent.  I’m pleading my innocence!  So here’s my advice to you – punish rapists, not babies.  It’s not a difficult concept.  This is my own act of self defense – quit picking on innocent children like me by suggesting our lives weren’t worth living or protecting, because I fight back and I will defend my life!
Since his remarks Saturday evening, I’ve been inundated with suggestions from people that I need to talk to him and to share my story with him – just like with Gov. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich four years ago when I changed their hearts during their presidential campaigns.  Well, I DID share my story with Chris Christie, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida in August, 2012.  But he’s a different character and hard-hearted.  Like in the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew Chapter 13, the seeds did not fall on fertile soil.  But then Jesus explained:

This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.”

As if the shots from Chris Christie weren’t enough to dehumanize and demoralize my people group, Gov. Jeb Bush had insults of his own:  “I am pro-life but I believe there should be exceptions — rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger.”  Any time a politician starts off with “I am pro-life but,” you know he’s not committed to ending abortion.  He may do the bare minimum to get pro-life voters to think he’s pro-life, but he’s not someone who is reliable to end legalized abortion, he’s not dependable to appoint Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Roe v Wade, and he’s clearly willing to discriminate and to leave the door open for all abortions through gaping loopholes.

Then Gov. Bush issued the most telling remark – “That belief and my consistency on this makes me, I think, poised to be in the right place — the sweet spot — for Republican nominee.”  OUCH!!!  Okay, please keep in mind that I’m biting my tongue as I respond to his “sweet spot” remarks.   I looked up the definition of “sweet spot,” just so everyone understands how callous his words were, and the first definition to come up is sexual in nature -- “a spot on the body that responds pleasurably to a caress or touch,” and then there’s the sports reference – “the area from which the cleanest shots are made.”  Whether Jeb Bush is climaxing at the thought of denying a child conceived in rape her right to life in order to gain him victory as the GOP nominee, or if it’s that he finds the rape victim’s child to be the perfect whipping boy for taking shots at, his remarks are offensive, dehumanizing and demoralizing.

Lastly, Bush said, “Others may have a different view and I respect it.”  This isn’t about respecting mere political views -- this is about respecting not just my “view,” but my life!  I deserve to be alive, I was worthy of the protection I received pre-Roe v Wade, and others just like me deserve the same opportunity to be born.

If you call yourself pro-life, if you say you believe that the pre-born are persons and therefore, have a right to life under the 14th Amendment due process clause, then you cannot be willing to violate the second part of the 14th Amendment – the equal protection clause, which says that “No state shall deny a person equal protection of the laws.”  To do so is not only hypocritical, it’s unconstitutional.  And that’s precisely what Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are proposing – to deny persons equal protection under the law.

Recently, Sen. Lindsey Graham has made hurtful remarks calling children like me “the child of the rapist.”  I am sure he has no idea how offensive that is to the majority of rape survivors who not only choose life, but choose to raise their children.  After everything she’s been through and had to overcome, he has the audacity to suggest that her child is the rapist’s child.  We don’t call President Obama “the polygamist’s child,” so stop trying to demonize us in such a manner.  Give us our dignity and call us who we are – a rape victim’s child, a child of God, a person with a right to life.

Right now, the only two GOP presidential candidates who support overturning Roe v Wade and who refuse to discriminate against the child conceived in rape are Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Marco Rubio.  I’ve met Sen. Rubio in person, and would love to meet Sen. Cruz some day.  But I’m also willing to meet with any other candidates, and I do hope that by putting a face, a voice, and a real-life story to the issue, their hearts and minds would be changed so that they’d no longer support the killing of innocent children.   There are over 300 of us through Save The 1 who were conceived in rape, mothers from rape, birthmothers from rape and post-abortive after rape.  We are thankful for the gift of life, we deserve our dignity, the mothers love their children, and we want our voices to be heard.

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is a wife, mother of 5, attorney and international pro-life speaker and blogger.  She shares her story of having been conceived in rape and nearly aborted at two back alley abortions, but legally protected.  She’s the founder and President of Save The 1, co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception, and co-founder of Embryo Defense.
Thursday, February 4, 2016

By Your Side -- Poem by Rape Survivor Who Miscarried Her Beloved Son, by Kaitlin Westbrook

I became pregnant by rape and miscarried my child – a loss which many don’t understand.  I have been writing a lot lately and it really helps to get things out. I want to share this poem I wrote with you, from my son’s perspective.

(This poem is for you Michael Jude. You will always be my son, my child.  I am thankful God gave me you. – Love, your Mom)

By your side

I am here,
present with you in this moment.
as blood streams down your forehead,
as tears emerge from your hazel eyes,
I am by your side.

I am here,
present with you in this moment,
as the devil engulfs his soul
and strips you of your innocence
I am by your side.

I am here,
present with you in this moment,
as God shows me the truth,
the truth of what happened on that horrid day,
I am by your side.

I am here,
present with you in this moment,
when the devil told you,
you were worthless and that you didn't deserve God's love
I am by your side.

I am here,
present with you in this moment,
as the doctor tells you
you're pregnant,
pregnant with the devil's child,
I am by your side.

I am here,
present with you in this moment,
when you choose life,
life for your child,
God's child,
I am by your side.

I am here,
present with you in this moment,
as you struggle to understand
what happened
I am by your side.

I am here,
present with you in this moment,
as you love your child
with your whole heart
I am by your side.

I am here,
present with you in this moment,
when you lost your baby,
the light of your life, your beauty from pain,
the love of your life who brought you healing,
I am by your side.

I am here mom,
present with you in this moment,
as your guardian angel, as God's gift to you,
as your guiding star,
I am by your side.

I am here mom,
present with you in this moment,
to tell you I love you,
to tell you I will never leave,
to remind you,
I am by your side,
Now & forever

BIO:  Kaitlin Westbrook is a pro-life blogger for Save The 1, and a swim coach, residing in Texas.