My daughter, Olivia, experienced an unplanned pregnancy when she was 18-year-old. Before she became pregnant, I thought an unplanned teen pregnancy was a negative outcome of foolish choices. I had never imagined this would happen to my daughter. As Christians we believe that God wants us to keep sexual activity inside of marriage. We had been intentional about teaching and modelling this for our children. We did know she was choosing to be sexually active before she became pregnant. So, I had already been working through the heartbreak of that choice. Olivia was in a very rebellious state at the time and had been unwilling to give up a relationship we clearly saw as unhealthy. When she told us, she was pregnant my heart sank, and I felt sick. I knew this was going to change her life forever and make it more difficult.
This created so many questions. Olivia was registered to attend a one-year Bible school in autumn. Would they still let her attend? Would that even be wise or possible given the fact she would need medical care and support throughout the pregnancy. Should she keep the baby and raise him herself or perhaps give him up for adoption? She was not continuing a relationship with the father of the baby as the relationship was dysfunctional and he was not someone she should marry. I felt like a failure as a parent. I felt like I hadn’t done enough to enable her to make good choices. Like all parents I wanted the very best for my daughter.
It took me about 3 months to work through the grief of loss. The loss of Olivia having a healthy, stable marriage and family before having children. Instead she was starting out life in a “divorce” situation, dealing with child visitation and bringing all the hurts and scars into her next relationship. It was hard to see all the pain she was experiencing and would experience in the future. She considered adoption for a short time but decided that wasn’t right for her. She had the support of her family as a single mum. After about 3 months my feelings started to change. I could move from the hurt of the past into looking forward to the future and all the joy and blessing a grandchild would bring.
We were in between churches at the time Olivia got pregnant. Our church of 7 years was joining another congregation as we had gone through a lot of upheaval with one of our pastors. We decided to find a church closer to home, so we didn’t have church support at the time and were also dealing with the loss and grief in that area. The church would have helped if we asked, but we didn’t. Everyone has been loving and gracious toward us both in the old and new church. There has been no judgmental attitudes or actions. This isn’t always the case. I think this is the most helpful thing the church can do.
We had a good experience with the church which definitely isn’t everyone’s experience. Olivia did end up going to the school for the first semester and received much support from them.
We did not need financial support, but that is another way the church can help single mums to make the choice not to abort the baby. Free counselling and financial support allow a single mum who finds herself in this situation to know she isn’t alone and may be what she needs in order to choose life for her baby. As the church we can’t just say that we are pro-life and tell young women not to abort and leave them alone to deal with the overwhelming circumstances. We need to come alongside them and love them as Jesus does.
In my daughter’s case I see this baby who was unplanned and definitely brought into the world through poor decisions as the means God used to save my daughter both spiritually and physically. She was very rebellious toward Him and us. Her heart was hard, and we fought a lot. She was depressed and even suicidal at the time she got pregnant. I was terrified she would kill herself. Her baby gave her the reason and motivation to live.
So, I am thankful for the situation Olivia is in. It was what she needed to bring her back to God. As a Christian, I still see unplanned pregnancy outside of marriage as a result of making choices outside of God’s will for us. He doesn’t want us to experience the hurt and difficulty it brings. For us and our family, He is faithful as in all areas of life to make all things beautiful for those who love Him. Babies are always a blessing.
Being prolife means being pro ALL life no matter how it occurs.
*Olivia’s name has been changed for the purposes of sharing her story.
I felt like a failure as a parent. I felt like I hadn’t done enough to enable her to make good choices. Like all parents I wanted the very best for my daughter.-
Free counselling and financial support allow a single mom who finds herself in this situation to know she isn’t alone and may be what she needs in order to choose life for her baby.-