There are so many milestones met during pregnancy that women celebrate and cherish: from receiving the positive pregnancy test results to hearing their child’s heartbeat for the first time, from seeing the baby on ultrasound to feeling his or her first kick and everywhere in-between, pregnancy is full of milestones. For women who experience complications in their pregnancy, making it to a certain week of pregnancy is a big milestone to meet.
For women like me who have survived failed abortions as children in the womb, progressing to the point in pregnancy with our own children in which we know we were aborted unsuccessfully during our own mother’s pregnancy is a huge milestone, and this week, I am grateful to have done just that. I am now 31 ½ weeks pregnant with our second daughter, now putting me past the 31 week mark at which my birthmother was forced to abort me nearly thirty-seven years ago.
As I have experienced the development and growth of our daughter, Ava, I have tried to focus on the beauty and the miracle of life, just as I tried to with Olivia. Yet no matter how much I try to focus on the positive of my pregnancies, of our daughters’ lives, some days, the reality of my life, of abortion, smacks me in the face. Today was one of those days.
It came out of nowhere, as the painful reflections about how abortion has affected my life and the lives of my family for generations often do. I was engaged in some of my classic nesting behavior, organizing under a bathroom sink, when Ava danced a jig that rippled my stomach, and suddenly it hit me. “I’m 31 ½ weeks. She was 31 weeks. Ava is 31 ½ weeks gestation. I was aborted and survived at 31 weeks gestation.” Out of all of the milestones that women reflect upon during their pregnancy, making it past the point that they were aborted shouldn’t be one of them.
As much as it pains me to think about how much I must have been like our Ava is, in terms of development and growth, about how my birthmother must have felt me dance a similar jig, leaving similar ripples in her stomach in its wake, it pains me even more so to think about how we were both robbed of further milestones throughout her pregnancy with me and our lives, due to her being forced to abort me. (Although I certainly am grateful for the gift of my adoptive family and all of the milestones that I have met in life with them by my side).
And just as these thoughts go for me, one leads to another, and I began to reflect today upon how many other women and their children have been robbed of further milestones throughout pregnancy and their lives, due to abortion. I know that the sheer number is enormous, yet there are days like this, when the reality of that number and the effect of abortion on women and children are still staggering to even me. With Father’s Day just happening, I can’t help but also reflect upon the reality of how many men have also been robbed of the milestones of their children’s lives due to abortion.
As difficult as it is to live with the reality of my life as an abortion survivor, with the truth of all that I know about abortion and its effects, I still choose to focus on the beauty and the blessing of life, of our daughter’s lives, of all life, while still battling for the truth about abortion to be made known and lives to be saved and transformed. And keeping that focus on the beauty and the blessing, while engaging in this battle for life, is what is going to ensure that more women, more men, and more children, experience milestones in pregnancy and throughout life.
Happy 31 ½ weeks gestation, Ava! Today and every day, our family will celebrate you and all of your milestones, and it is for you and all of the other children like you that I will continue to give of my life so that others may live and meet milestones of their own.