Harper’s Story

I got married at 20 to a man who had said he didn’t want any kids.  I was okay with that.  I liked having our freedom and kids are SO expensive.  I was on the Pill for years with not so much as a late period, and then four months after our wedding, I started throwing up.  A lot.  Like ten to fifteen times a day.  I ended up in the ER just before New Year’s Eve.  They thought I had appendicitis because I was on the Pill and had not missed a period.  During the ultrasound of my appendix, they found a fetus instead.  My due date was August 13th.  Or I could make an appointment for termination.  We had no insurance.  My new husband said, “You know what *I* want you to do.”  We were living in an apartment with my dad.  I had just lost my receptionist job when I called in sick for 3 days in a row due to near-constant vomiting.  My husband was working odd jobs and we were very close to broke.  This was an UNWANTED baby. I cried and cried, not knowing what I wanted to do.  I was raised by religious, pro-life parents.  I considered myself pro-choice, and pro-women’s rights.  But this was my child, half my DNA, created with a man I loved.  We were married.  I was afraid he would leave me if I didn’t abort.  I knew had the support of my family, even if I didn’t have the support of his.  But how could I love this baby when it was going to RUIN my future?  I would resent it.  I would mistreat it because it was taking away all of my freedoms and possibly ending my marriage.  But it was a helpless BABY, who didn’t ask to be here.  And I couldn’t deny that it was here.  It was making me sick, 24 hours a day, every day.  Diabetes, Type 1 & Tyoe 2, run in my family.  It was possible this could negatively affect my health.  My mother almost died giving birth to me.  I was terrified.  What should I do?  My best friend had aborted a pregnancy, and she seemed okay enough.  She never talked about it.  But I was married.  I was not in school. I had no career.  The justification to end this life was missing, and I made the decision before I even left the hospital on New Year’s Day.  I was going to keep this baby.
I had a baby girl on August 23rd.  My husband did not leave me, and we eventually had a son together before we divorced years later over issues unrelated to our children.  He still loves his daughter, as do I, with all my heart.  She will be 19 soon.  She is beautiful, brilliant, kind, funny, and I fully believe she saved my life in a way.  Prior to her birth, I was a weak-minded girl.  I was an adult, but I was childish, selfish, and easily-led by people who did not always have my best interests in mind.  It was a big reason I married a man who was not good for me, nor I for him.  But once I had my daughter, I had to grow up, to be strong, to be brave, to make smart decisions because they didn’t just affect me.  I couldn’t float with the current anymore, I needed to paddle, HARD, in the right direction.  My ex husband damaged my self-esteem to the point that I once considered suicide, but the thought of what it would do to my children stopped me cold.  So you could say that my kids saved my life literally, too.  My concern for their future happiness also gave me the strength to leave their dad.  I did not want them to grow up thinking that a husband and wife should be the way we were.  I did not want them to be unhappily married, or mistreat their spouse, or accept mistreatment as the norm.  But for them, I might still be in a sad, dysfunctional marriage.
I have been remarried for almost 7 years to a man who is my best friend, who loves me with all my faults, who lifts me up AND keeps me grounded, and who created two more amazing, beautiful children with me.  He is a wonderful father and stepfather, and he is my fairy tale happy ending.
While I was pregnant with my third child, I was given an illustrated book on prenatal development.  It had pictures of what the fetus looked like from the point of conception through birth.  It described symptoms, emotional and physical changes, and offered advice to pregnant moms.  I saw in that book how UNBELIEVABLY quickly my child went from a blob, to a blob with a heartbeat, to a barely-visible BABY with fingers and toes and bodily functions.   And that was when I realized that there had never BEEN any actual justification for me to end a pregnancy, no matter how unwanted, unplanned, unexpected, disruptive, expensive, difficult, or even dangerous it was for me.  Because this was a person: my child, my flesh and blood.  She had just as much a right to be here as I do, from the moment she popped into existence as a single-celled new human being.  Her right to life extends from her near-invisible beginning to her natural death, as is the right of ALL of us.   And the world is a better place because of her.  It will be a better place because of her children, and her children’s children.  And the truth is, she is so incredibly loved and wanted and important to so many, even in the moments she least realizes it.  I’m just sorry it took me so long to understand that this apples to everyone, everywhere, at every stage of life.

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