Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Mother's Love: Choices.

I had the honor and privilege to sit down and have quite an interesting conversation with a woman I have known for many years. This is her story. Her very true, very sobering story. I did change the names and some identifying features to protect the identity of the family. This is the story of a single mom who finds out that she's pregnant, her daughter has been sexually abused, and her baby will not likely make it to term, and the choices she was faced with, and how she handled them.

I was a recently divorced, single mom to one beautiful, 18 month old little girl, Casey Jo. I just found out I was about four weeks pregnant with my second child, it wasn't the ideal situation, I wasn't married, or in a very stable place, this new baby's dad was also my daughter, Casey's baby sitter. It was a complete shock to my system to find out I was pregnant, I had been told for years, even before I had Casey that I would never be able to have children. I had an incredibly rough pregnancy and delivery with Casey, and was told I would never have another child, and so when I found out I was pregnant again I was absolutely shocked. Two days after I found out I was pregnant again I was in the bathroom with Casey, who was potty training at the time, she was sitting on the potty, and chatting away, as she always did. She had only ever been around adults, and always been spoken to like one, so for an eighteen month old had quite the vocabulary. As she was chatting away, playfully and happily, she suddenly asked a question that I will never forget for as long as I live, a question that completely flipped my world upside down. 

"Why do boys pee white?" she asked, innocently, in her broken toddler language, as she looked at the color of her own, I was completely stunned by this question, and no idea where it came from. "What do you mean?" I asked, trying my hardest to maintain composure and a calm, collected demeanor for her. "They pee boogers in your mouth" the universe fell in around me at that moment, their was only one man she had ever been left alone with, her baby sitter, the father of the child I was now carrying. I didn't know what to do, or where to turn. I called my mother immediately and we contacted the police and went from there. It was a long process, and one I hated to have to watch my baby go through. She saw doctor after doctor, and therapist after therapist. I thought I could trust him, he was recommended to me by several people, and very well respected, I had no idea. 

I felt like the worst mother ever, what kind of a parent doesn't realize what is going on in their home? To their baby? This was worse than if he had done it to me. You can ask any mother, we never want to see our child go through any kind of hurt, and will move heaven and earth to protect them. I prayed to God so many times in the weeks and months, and even years after to wake me up from that horrible nightmare, to take away the pain that little girl had gone through, I would take that pain and suffering a hundred times over if I could, I would do anything to spare her that hurt. 
Here I am, single, alone, scared, the mother of a child that has been hurt beyond imagine, and pregnant by the one that inflicted that pain on her. People all around were pressuring me to abort that baby, telling me that "this child will be evil like it's father"  and "do you want to be reminded of what he did to Casey every day?" I didn't know where to turn, I didn't know which way was up. I just wished it would all go away. I decided that I would not abort this child, after all it was just as much me as it was him, I couldn't kill this child anymore than I could  kill Casey. I still didn't know if I would keep the baby, but I had made up my mind not to kill him or her. 
As the pregnancy progressed the doctors told me that I should have an abortion, they told me that IF this baby made it to term, it would be severely brain damaged, and would not live long after birth, and if it did, would have a poor quality of life. They told me that carrying and delivering this baby could kill me, and take away the only parent Casey had.  I thought about abortion a little more, how could I leave my little girl without a mommy? After she had been through so much? But, what would she think of me, as her mother if I killed her sibling? Could I even look at her after murdering her brother or sister? 
No, I couldn't. This baby, though conceived out of wedlock, and with a man that I believe to be pure evil, was still a baby. A baby that didn't ask to be conceived  a baby that did nothing wrong, I couldn't punish this baby. Against the advisement of my doctors and everyone around me, I decided to carry the baby, and deliver it.   Even though we were going through so much with Casey, I knew that it was the right thing to do, I decided not only to let the baby live, but to raise it. 
Three weeks before my due date I went into labor, the baby was breech, and they had to do an emergency C-section. I expected the baby to be born dead, or severely disabled,  but to my amazement my little boy, Micheal Anthony was born screaming his little lungs out, with not a problem to be found, other than of course being born early, he was otherwise healthy.
I fell in love with him immediately, and hoped Casey could too. I let her pick out his name, she wasn't very excited about him, we tried all we could to get her used to the idea, but she would just continue to say that he was bad because his dad was bad. Even at her very young age she recognized that this baby, her brother was a part of the very bad man that had done things to hurt her. She knew that part of him was in her brother. I wondered if I had made the wrong choice for Casey. Not allowing him to live, I have never questioned that choice, but not finding a better family for him. Did I hurt Casey more by keeping Michael? Was it harder on her to have him around? Was I being selfish?
I thought this for a long time, I saw how affected Casey was, I beat myself up over it for the first few years of his life. Then, I noticed as Casey got older she was able to love Michael, she was able to separate him from the evils of his father. She will always have the lasting scars of what that man did to her, even though she is all grown up, and has a family of her own now, I can see that in many ways it still haunts her. I still wish I could take away the pain, the hurt and the tears, I still hold that what he did to her was far worse than if he had done it to me. She is my child, it was my job to protect her. 
I hear so many people say that abortion should be okay for rape and health of the mother. If I had used either of those excuses, and I could have, I know that I wasn't raped, but that pervert hurt my daughter, and Michael is a result of him, that I wouldn't have my beautiful, charismatic  funny, challenging, intelligent son that I adore, and the grandchildren that he has given me. If I would have used either of those excuses, I would have to live with more than the guilt of allowing something awful to happen to my daughter, I would also have to live with the guilt of murdering my child. 

This story brings tears to my eyes. I know this entire family personally, and that makes it even more difficult for me to write this, but I feel it is a story that needed to be written. I think we need more first hand accounts of struggles with choice. So often (and I am guilty as well) we just say "that couldn't happen to me" or "it would be an easy choice, I wouldn't struggle" that's not true. We would struggle, we would wonder, and it would be hard. The thing I think we can all learn from this story is that no matter how bad a situation may seem, God can turn it around. I really think He did, she thought she would die, her child would die, and her daughter would be left without a mom. She and her daughter had to overcome a lot, and they did, and beautifully. The love and the bond of this family is awe-inspiring.

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