I Choose Life

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Daughter of Life -I Choose Life3

[Trigger warning: Language around miscarriage and abortion. ]

By Anonymous

I developed the armour of independence early in life, convincing myself I was fine on my own. As the only Asian kid in my class, my classmates labeled me as teacher’s pet. I was familiar with the pang of being on the margins of the social bubble, uninvited to the cool kids’ parties and unchosen for teams in gym class.

So I suppressed the part of myself that truly was needy of love. I secretly judged women who were desperate to be married. I questioned what kind of mother I would be.

My ambivalence to having children kept me from worrying about any regrets or biological clocks. Even though most of my life had not turned out how I imagined, God knew what I needed to thrive. I figured I would leave to him the question of marriage and kids.

Imagine my surprise when I found myself pregnant at 40. Oh, and unmarried. This isn’t what I expected! How did my path wander here?

Over the years I developed another shield to protect my sensitive heart. Physical indulgence became my drug of choice and my coping mechanism. I struggled with emotional overeating. I escaped to excessive napping when life overwhelmed me.

And let’s talk about sex, shall we? While my independent walls and fear of rejection protected me from the painful fruit of promiscuity, I had little will to resist long-term boyfriends who weren’t committed to purity.

To a 40-year-old single woman who’s never been married, the lack of safe spaces in the church to dialogue and struggle with sexuality was deafening. I was surely not the only one struggling. A “just don’t do it” approach that focuses on external behaviour lacks the wisdom and care required to truly address the longings and wounds deep within the heart.

My first instinct was to hide behind the fig leaves. Just exercise my right to choose abortion and keep it a secret. I felt guilty for the thought, and for wishing for a miscarriage.

I was slow to jump into the abortion debate. While I had convictions, I feared what people will think if they label me as a pro-lifer. Polarized moral debates often lack nuance. In the name of principle and truth, we hurt people who most need compassion. We forget that life on this side of heaven is full of brokenness.

I can truly empathize with why someone might feel abortion is their only response to an unwanted pregnancy. If I did not believe in a God of love who redeems and brings light into the darkest of situations, and if I did not have a supportive community who would help me to raise this child, I too might choose a different way.

***

At my first ultrasound, a young, unfeeling technician told me I would miscarry. I was flooded with relief, and deeply curious to research about what was happening in my body.

The early loss pregnancy clinic called. I had to choose to either induce the miscarriage with pills, intervene surgically to terminate, or let my body naturally miscarry. Afraid I would start to miscarry at a most inconvenient time or place, I decided the other two options would leave me feeling more in control.

I spent the week obsessively on Google. I unexpectedly discovered hundreds, if not thousands, of stories of misdiagnosed miscarriages and how ultrasounds can be too early to be conclusive.

I wrestled with ignoring the stories, and wondered if mine was misdiagnosed.

During my second ultrasound, I prayed for the doctors to have the wisdom to do an accurate scan. A few moments stretched on.

“Congratulations, we found a heartbeat,” she told me. “It’s weak, but it’s there. Come back in a week so we can see if it remains viable.” A confusing mix of emotions overwhelmed me—fear and hope all bundled together.

After another week of waiting and camping out on Google, I became aware of how the medical system can subtly be stacked against life. Once diagnosed, the language becomes cold, directing you to schedule a procedure to expel the contents of the uterus. Some doctors are known to advise all their patients to schedule the surgical option so they don’t have to deal with calls at inconvenient times.

In my own case, I was surprised they did not automatically offer me a second ultrasound before I had to make my decision. I had to request it. How can I make such a big decision without being absolutely certain?

When I went to my third ultrasound, I had some hope in my heart. Somewhere along the way, I wanted to choose to fight for this little life, even if it would complicate my life in the grandest of ways.

This time, the doctors were abrupt and lacking in bedside manner when they told me the unfortunate news: they could not find a heartbeat. I was filled with a bewildering mix of relief, grief, and undying hope that maybe they were wrong again.

Along with the hope, something else changed inside of me. Instead of intervention, I chose surrender; I chose to wait on the Creator of Life to determine the life of this child. After three weeks of waiting and obsessively reviewing my charts, looking for reasons to believe, I began to lose the baby. Another four weeks later, I was empty.

My heart was sad. The procedures for abortion and for intervening to help miscarriages along are technically the same. The only difference was whether the pregnancy is declared viable or not.

The relief and guilt I felt for suddenly having my single life back left me reeling. I am surprised how ready I was to to do anything to make a life for that child.

But God drew near, showing me how He gave his life completely and infinitely more for us that we might have life in him.

As he led me back to my childless life, I had a new sense of devotion to Life. I now want to invest my life into the lives of others around me, to comfort those suffering loss and offer compassion to those making difficult choices.

Though I doubt I will ever be a radical activist, I know I must advocate for Life.

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  • You have shared your story with such beauty and sensitivity — and courage.
    Thank you.

    • Anon Writer

      Thank you so much Michele for your kind words of encouragement. I so appreciate it.

  • Anon Writer

    Just wanted to officially say thank you to all of you who together with your beautiful brave hearts and courageous souls make this SheLoves community a safe and open space to share our stories and hear one another. As part of my healing process, I knew I needed to write this story, and this was the first place I thought to do so. I am humbled at God’s attention to detail, because today is the day my baby would have been due. Thank you for reading and honouring his life.

    • Dear sister, thank YOU for trusting us with your story. I’m seeing this a day late, but I honour your child today. Reading your story has opened my heart wider. Thank you. <3

      • Anon Writer

        Thank you Olive for reading and honouring my story and child. I love that your big heart just keeps getting wider.

    • Wow. Thank you so much for trusting us with your story. You have honored us … thank you.

      • Anon Writer

        Thank you Idelette for leading us to live fearlessly from our hearts. <3

  • Oh gosh, what an honest and important experience to share with the Body. I am so sorry for your loss, and so touched by you words. Thank you for sharing your story — it is important.

    • Anon Writer

      Thank you so much Beth for reading, and for your kind words.

  • Thank you for bringing us into this space and for expanding your story. You’ve made me think about loses in my own life and how they can push me toward advocacy.

    • Anon Writer

      So encouraging to hear, Annie. I’m a strong believer that our places of pain are not wasted by God and can bring light to someone else. For every season of pain I’ve experienced, God has brought a clear purpose out of that pain. It’s tempting to just shrink back from the losses, but I know that is what the enemy wants, and that that is not the way God works. <3

  • Meagan Gillan

    Dear Anony,
    I too am grateful for your story, as you’ve shared with candor and clarity from a very difficult and confusing time in your life. I am sorry for the loss you experienced just as hope was beginning to grow. Thank you for calling us to talk about situations and moments like yours in the Church. We need to, and your words help pave the way. Grace and peace to you in the next chapter.

    • Anon Writer

      Thank you so much Meagan. I am grateful God has given me a few safe friends in the larger Body of Christ I could come to who walked me through the time, but I felt it harder to open up beyond that, partly because of the noticeable lack of dialogue on the topic. I am sure that God is stirring within me through this experience to think of what I can do to change that in a real flesh and blood way in my local community. Thank you for being a part of the conversation.