As the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade dawns, my friends that have adopted children have been posting pictures on Facebook of their beautiful families and thanking the birth mothers for their courage and sacrifice. These adoptive mothers asked everyone to choose adoption over abortion. As I contemplated praising my friends for telling their story, I remembered I had a story to tell as well. I had forgotten.
This month, my husband and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. Our oldest daughter turned 17 a few months ago. You do the math.
Eighteen years ago, I was staring at two blue lines in the bathroom, and I felt my world crashing in around me. I was a senior in college, but, because of my year abroad, I had three semesters left before I could graduate. I had just received a grant for research in organic chemistry with toxic chemicals that no doubt would cause birth defects. My now husband was nowhere near graduating, and I feared my conservative Catholic family would never forgive me for getting pregnant out of wedlock.
It was the textbook definition of a crisis pregnancy. My situation was exactly the hard case that everyone talks about when they say they are “pro-choice.” I would have been the poster child for Planned Parenthood.
It would have been so easy to make that appointment. My life could have continued on as it had before. My sin could have stayed hidden. No one except God would have had to know.
But I would have known. I would have known that it was my decision that ended my daughter’s life. It would have been my decision that denied my husband the opportunity to be a father to her. I may have gone onto graduate school and done all the things that everyone expected of me without the “burden” of a child, but that decision would have destroyed my life. Knowing myself, I would never have been able to recover from the guilt. With my history of depression, I shudder to think what abortion would have done to my mental health. It would have been a crisis that never ended.
Instead, my husband and I chose life. My family fell in love with our daughter. My organic chemistry professor helped me with my research, minimizing my exposure. The rest of the faculty helped me juggled my schedule around. I graduated magna cum laude with the top chemistry award. I got a job days after I graduated at a prestigious medical school and I supported my new family while my husband finished school.
Today we have four beautiful children and a house full of love and laughter. All made possible by choosing life. My daughter is the apple of my eye with her contagious smile, her silly sense of humor and her gorgeous voice.
You might wonder how I could forget that I had a story to tell. It is because, nearly twenty years later, that crisis is no longer a crisis. It was crushed, then forgotten, under the weight of the love and joy that choosing life has brought to me.
So, like my friends who have asked all of their friends to choose life in the name of their adopted children, I ask all young women faced with the same situation that I faced to choose life. Choose life not just for your baby, but for yourself as well.