I feel like I’ve told my Shelby story over and over again. Even though I’d love to dive into it again and share the differences that I’ve felt having a child alone and having children in a loving marriage. I want to share with you the feelings of being a mom when I thought my entire world was rocked. I want to share with the grace and loving support I received from some amazing people. I want to share with you how my relationship with Jesus grew during my pregnancy with Shelby, but today I feel like I am called to share something different. Something more.
During one of our nightly walks (I call them therapy walks) Matt and I were talking about where my stories will go next - what I will share with you next. It’s correct that I continue and share with you how I found myself to be a single mother at 23. But as we walked Matt presented a question to me
Why did you have Shelby? If you were single and this was unplanned why did you follow through?
This may sound shocking coming from a Pastor’s son, but bear with me for he knows more about the paths my life has led then you do at this moment (I am planning on getting into those areas today).
I am not sure if he was thinking I would say because of my beliefs I kept Shelby, because I would not even imagine doing anything, but having and keeping Shelby forever.
That humid night as we rounded the corner to the lake I laid a pretty heavy load on my sweet husband.
I kept her because I terminated a pregnancy when I was 14.
I think with that sentence a lot of things became clearer to him. I do plan to write later about how this journey of me sharing my stories has affected my family - just wanted you to know. I do have to give you a spoiler - me sharing my stories has made me see Jesus so much more through my husband. It has reaffirmed over and over again that God planned for me to be right here, to be Matt’s wife.
Matt doesn’t hesitate to show me love even when I’ve said “that’s my entire story”, but later am able to release more hurt and share. It’s a trust thing and I strongly think that Jesus is telling me that not only can I trust Him to lead me through this journey, but I can trust Matt with my hurts, with the spots that are not completely healed, that still hurt 23 years later.
You see, I’ve given these hurts to others, but have not received the same response. I’ve been shamed, not forgiven. So, I lived a life where I remember in silence each July that I would be celebrating a birthday - this year my child would have been 18, this year my child would have been 21, this year my child would be 23. It’s not easy and I don’t think it’s supposed to be.
I was so so young when I became pregnant by my second boyfriend. I kept the secret for a long time before it came out. And a decision was made and my pregnancy was terminated.
I beg you to not judge, but listen for understanding - can I ask that of you?
So, when I became pregnant with Shelby termination was an option, but it was not something I was going to go through again. You see, I am not sure how others’ experiences were, but it was a horrible experience for me that has yet to leave my memory. I had a sonogram technician who strongly tried to sway my decision by showing me my child. This did not help the situation, but is ingrained into my head - not sure if she realized or maybe she did. The extent of my sedation was something similar to laughing gas therefore I felt every scrap and every tug. I screamed in pain during the entire process begging for it to be over. It was horrible and I would not wish it on anyone. Also, looking back I probably needed after care - not for my body, but for my soul. I needed to understand what just happened and how it would affect my life.
We are told that God knows our beginning and our end, that he knows how our life will play out - does this mean that he knew I would walk this path? I feel that if I got a do-over I’d change many things in my life, but feel (and I may be wrong) that God had a plan for this. Not that He planned it, but He had a plan for me afterwards. Am I making sense? I am not trying to sugar coat this at all. With the way we rate sins in our society, I’ve broken a big one. I am thankful that with Jesus our sins have no rating system and I’ve been redeemed.
I spent years, I mean years saying I would NEVER terminate another pregnancy. I would always say I was pro-life for myself, but pro-choice for others - I really dislike those terms, there is so much more to this than those two labels. I can say, I strongly suggest avoiding the word, “never” in your life. Because what I am about to tell you has been stopping me from writing, but is the entire reason why I’ve been on a mission to share my story. And I normally wouldn’t put this much (over a span of so much time) into one post, but I have got to get this out. I’ve got to get this done.
When I was thirty, I left my marriage of almost four years (I’ll get into more of that later) and started a relationship with a guy I had known from South Texas. He was freshly out of prison and I fell right back into co-dependancy. I found out I was pregnant and at first it was the greatest thing in the world, because we were in love. Shortly after I became pregnant it became perfectly clear that this guy that I put so much of my life into had developed (or restarted) a strong meth addiction. In a period of a month things got seriously worse, I had things stolen from me, I was put into harmful situations for me and for Shelby. I was trying everything to find a way out then he was arrested. I was pregnant and single again. I didn’t think I could do it - raise another child on my own. I didn’t think I could afford it, I didn’t think I could mentally handle it especially since I was already being treated for suicidal feelings by a doctor due to the situation I was in (more on that later). I did the only thing I thought I could do to get out of this mess I created, I terminated my pregnancy. At thirty, I did what I said I’d never do again. There is no way to sugar coat that, I can’t blame it on being a child or having another person make decisions for me. I can only say that I was painfully far from God and I so did not see clear path back. I acted out of fear - fear of the unknown - of what my life would look like.
So, that’s my story. I’m broken - broken more than most, but I’ve been redeemed. Redeemed - that’s not a token word that I throw around to make myself feel better. It’s taken me awhile to get here, to understand grace. To know in my heart that I am not the person I once was - that I am not my mistakes. Yes, I said I am still healing mainly because writing brings back all the feelings again. I’ve sat quiet for so long with these stories that I have to scrap off scabs to get them out.
I’ve sat through many, many discussion about abortion or shall I say I’ve sat while others have had discussions. They talked the laws, the prevention, how we can stop this from happening. I know people who march, who stand in front of clinics, who have strong feelings on this subject. All along I’ve sat quiet because I have no words for where my life as led. All I can say is that when you have those discussions today you now know someone who has been through this, who lives with the pain and wishes things were different.