An open letter to the young woman considering abortion

To the young woman considering an abortion,

A mountain range of emotions is likely rising within you right now. You’re growing weary, getting lost in the valleys and peaks. Perhaps you feel as if you’re the only one who has ever traveled this untamed range, and you must endure and escape it alone. The hypotheticals barrage you with the mercilessness of a hailstorm. You want only to find shelter in a cave, black as night, hidden from the world. There, you might even be able to hide from the truth of your new reality. But then you realize you cannot hide, for that reality is growing within you, forming fingers and toes and eyes that may one day be the same hue as your own.

You see two possibilities unfolding before you. One appears quite simple. A phone call, an appointment, the dissolution of your “problem” — of the tiny being who will change everything forever. Life will go on as it always has. Plans will not need alteration. Relationships can remain the same. Your body will not grow and stretch and become a home. No, it too will remain the same — at least for all appearances’ sake. Stability. You breathe. It sounds so easy. You hear the whispers: Go ahead. That’s the way. You’re not prepared for this, anyway. No one will know. Nothing will change. Everything truly can remain the same.

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Oh, but you know that everything won’t. For, if you choose this way, your heart will never be the same. It will carry the sadness that spreads from the shadow in your womb. All of those what-ifs that you tried to silence will reemerge, but they’ll sound quite different: What if her freckles danced across her face, just like mine? What if she loved ballet and the color yellow? What if she taught me to love? What if she was here with me? You’ll see that you were never able to just erase her existence. No, she may not be here, but she’ll always be a part of you.

So, what is the other way? A phone call, an appointment, the sound of a tiny heartbeat, the beautiful promise that life will never be the same. Plans will need alteration. Relationships might not remain the same. Your body will grow and stretch and become a home and, though there will be growing pains, you’ll glow like you never have before with pride and strength and boundless joy.

There may be times when you think, “I can’t do this,” but I promise you can. You were, in fact, made for this. There will be struggles, and sometimes they may seem ceaseless. But they will peel back the layers, revealing to you a selflessness, a determination, a beauty and a goodness that you never knew you possessed. There will be change and lots of it. But it will be the kind of change that the world undergoes when early spring rains wash away all the debris and chill of winter, unveiling miraculous shades of green and tender blooms that unfurl in the sunlight.

You ask, “What will this new life look like?” I’ll tell you, and I won’t sugarcoat it one bit. This new life will be filled with wakeful nights of consoling and feeding and rocking and staring up at the slowly fading moon. It will be learning how to do simple tasks with one hand and going to most places with a new companion in tow. It will be scrubbing bottles and folding blankets and changing diapers and trying to find the pacifier you swore you put down on the kitchen table. It will be cheering as she rolls over for the first time and shedding tears when she outgrows her newborn onesies. It will be walks in the park, listening to her coo in harmony with the birds. It will be reading your old childhood books and singing nursery rhymes and dancing to your favorite tunes with her on your hip. It will be spending hours cradling your new love in your arms, staring into her eyes, wondering how you ever could have imagined life without her. It will be difficult and messy and more beautiful than you ever dreamed.

You will change. You will grow. You will feel as if you’re becoming someone new, but you’re just becoming who you were made to be. You will do things you once deemed unfeasible. You will sacrifice in ways you didn’t know you could. You will love in a way you never thought possible.

The emotions you’re feeling right now will rise and fall and come and go. Don’t let them silence the truth that whispers within you. You are not alone. There are people who will walk with you on this new journey. More importantly, with God’s grace, you can do this. Life is beautiful — and you’ll never believe that more than when you meet your child for the first time. So, be not afraid. He is with you always.

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