We have a new sonogram law here in Texas and, as expected, it’s come under massive scrutiny in the state and around the country. Women choosing an abortion must receive written materials about the risks of abortion and then undergo a sonogram. If in the first trimester, it will usually be done with a vaginal probe, because an “over the belly” sonogram isn’t too helpful in early pregnancy. To avoid seeing the heartbeat or image, a woman must sign a waiver. Almost every woman, though, must listen to a detailed description of the physical characteristics of the baby seen via the sonogram.
You want to know what I think? I think if you’re going to end the life of something you helped create, no matter how hard it is, you have to do it. You must do it. And I say that because I’ve been on the end of that sonogram stick hearing devastating news about my own pregnancy.
Nearly three years ago, I was 20 weeks pregnant and of “advanced maternal age”, therefore, I was required to visit a perinatologist to undergo a routine ultrasound. In that appointment, we learned our baby had many “soft markers” (doctor speak for questionable areas of concern) for a chromosomal abnormality. I had given birth to four healthy children and suffered one miscarriage in the first trimester. To receive this news was a shock. It was devastating. It quite nearly removed my heart from chest and then laid it on the floor for all to trample.
I’ve never seen abortion as an option. But I know some people do. I know that if my son, Luke, had been given to another mom, he might never be alive. He was given to me. I believe he was given to me so I could share his profound effect on our family, on the sanctity and beauty of every life and the difficult decisions we had to make as his parents.
You see, we’re a single income family with four children in private school. We were terrified of what Luke’s condition might do to our family—financially, emotionally, psychologically and physically. Would he need a lifetime of care? Would we be planning our infant child’s funeral before he turned one? In our efforts to help him, would we go bankrupt through therapies, surgeries and specialist visits? Could our marriage weather this new storm? And ultimately, what had I done wrong, as his mother, to cause this horrible thing? Yes, mommy guilt starts early.
I don’t consider myself superhumanly strong. I’m just a mom who loves her kids, adores her husband and enjoys the vocation of motherhood. No superhero items of note there. I do, however, trust and rely on a higher power to get me through the moments of despair, anguish and pain.
When I arrived home from the doctor’s visit that sunny spring day, I stood in front of my mirror, held my belly and sobbed–big, fat, uncontrollable tears. I knew that I would need a miracle and an army of support to make it through the coming weeks, months and years. And you know what? God delivered. Not because I’m a super fantastic prayer buddy, but because He loved me. I articulated the words he already knew I had in my heart. “God, help me.” That’s all my heart could muster.
So to the woman who sees abortion as her only option, I ask her this. In ten years, will you regret saying “yes” or saying “no?” If I’d said no to life, there would be no sweet kisses from our Luke, no funny laughs, no sibling affection. If I’d said no, we would still have thousands of dollars in the savings account, no dozen specialists to see, no half a dozen surgery expenses or hundreds of therapy appointments.
If I’d said no, I would never have come to realize that I AM strong enough, our love IS enough and road is NEVER certain. If I’d said no, I’m not sure I could’ve coped with knowing that I ended the life, not God. If I’d said no, what kind of mom could I be to my children? Could I really look them in the eye and say, “Oh honey, I can only love you if you fit my definition of perfection?”
You see, the secular world tells us what clothes to wear, what celebrities to venerate, what things we must buy and who is worthy of love. Some women say they abort out of love, yet I say a woman aborts due to a lack of it. When one loves with her whole heart and gives it to her Maker, broken and bruised, God never disappoints. It just takes one look in the eyes of our youngest miracle to know that God had it right all along.
He. Is. Love.
Kathryn, author of Team Whitaker, is the mother of five children, ages 11 to 2. Her youngest, Luke, was born prematurely due to IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and contracted a life-threatening case of necrotizing enterocolitis where he lost several centimeters of bowel and colon. While life with Luke has its challenges, she has never regretted her to decision to say yes to life.