Young Woman with the Growing Belly, Feeling Damned If You Do and Damned If You Don’t

I love you. I love YOU. Not just your unborn child. Your “fetus”. I love you. And my heart aches for you. To know that you are cornered by your fear and desperation, limited by your means. Forced into no real decision at all. I love you.

I see you. Whether your eyes be downcast or defiantly lifted to hold my gaze. Daring someone, anyone to question you, all while hoping to sink into the invisibility of the background. Still, I see you.

I hear you. I hear your stories of poverty, of shame, of the three hungry children already at home, of the boyfriend or husband that demands it, of the disappointed family that can never know. I’m listening. I hear you.

And I weep for the emptiness you will feel when the sterile lights are gone and you are home again.

But I don’t have the answers. I can just love you.

Someone will tell you that your life and your choices don’t matter. That only the life inside you matters.
Someone will tell you that your life and your choices are all that matter. That the life inside you isn’t life.

Someone will tell you that your child is a cherished child of God. But will anyone tell you that you are, too?

They–whoever “they” are–will all throw around concepts like pro-choice and pro-life, and pro-birth and murder.
But will they look at you? Will they see you? Standing alone while the rest of the world debates over you.
Or will you be a pawn? A political pawn to push the self-interests of the liberal or conservative base.

Young woman with the growing belly, feeling damned if you do and damned if you don’t. “Use birth control,” “Face the consequences,” “It’s your life–live it freely,” “Don’t be selfish,” “Now is the time in your life to be selfish.”

Young woman with the pounding heart as she watches the ultrasound wand, hear this.
I was you.
I was pregnant, scared, ashamed, still financially dependent on someone else; young, in professional school, ignorant, and blindsided by the future now before me.
So I see you. I hear you. I love you.
Maybe our circumstances are different–But our fears resonate the same.
Dear one, I chose life; and it made mine better.

And that is why I need to tell you this: The decision you make now will define your life. The decision to terminate or mother this child will walk with you forever. And above all there is this–no matter how far you feel from grace, it is there. No matter how alone in this world you feel–you aren’t. No matter how uncertain your future seems, it is not. No matter how far from the reach of God you seem to be, His arms are long enough.

To the conservative, evangelicals determined to focus on the justice of the unborn, I applaud you–now do something. Care for the future of this family past the first nine months. Now is the time to be the hands of Christ. When Jesus walked this Earth, He did more than preach the word of God, He acted on the word of God. Instead of demanding young women choose adoption over abortion, you choose one of the 400,000 American children in the foster care system. Instead of volunteering your time to shout criticisms, volunteer your time at a crisis center to job counsel and educate. Instead of spending your money on petitions, spend it to support a family on the edge.

To the liberal nation that demands equality and civil rights, I say good for you; but I urge you to consider the rights of the women and men yet to be born. And instead of using these scared, young women as a platform for votes, consider their emotional wellbeing past today. Consider the long-term effects that an abortion will have. Don’t use them up and cast them aside–they’ve had enough of that.

Taking away the option of abortion in the United States will do nothing to alter the mindset of the country. But I know what will. The Church being the Church as it was intended to be. The Church carrying the burden in service to the care of the window and the orphan, and of the young, single mother at the end of her rope who may not fit your agenda.

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.

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