Zoey Pardo has experienced more than her share of struggles.
She has struggled with an alcohol addiction, weight problems, homelessness and rejection by some of her own family. Nearly a decade ago, her cousin raped her in his home, a place that she thought was safe, according to Live Action.
But when she realized she was pregnant by her cousin, Pardo made the courageous decision to choose life for her son.
Pardo was 25 and living in North Carolina when her job took her out of town for a few weeks, she wrote at the blog Love What Matters. She said she was staying with a friend in the city, but some of her cousins also lived there. One evening after work, she said she decided to visit them.
They began to drink and reminisce about the past, she remembered. Then, suddenly, she said she began to feel “a little woozy.”
“I initially credited it to the fact I had been working overnights and my body had just had enough. I told my cousin I needed to lie down and he offered his bedroom to me,” she said. “I was safe. I was with family.”
Pardo said she fell asleep, but woke up to realize that one of her cousins was raping her.
“I just kept thinking over and over, ‘Did he just rape me?’” she said, remembering how she was too shocked to move after he left.
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The next morning, a friend took her to the hospital where they contacted police and gave her a prescription for Plan B, according to her blog post. Six weeks later, she discovered that she was pregnant.
“Being pregnant was very difficult. Initially I wanted to have an abortion, but life did not fulfill that desire,” she said.
On June 5, 2012, her son Caiden was born weighing 6 pounds 8 ounces.
“He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and in that moment I knew he was God’s gift to me. My life would be and has been forever changed,” Pardo said.
Today, she believes her son’s life saved hers. She said she kicked her addiction problem and lost more than 100 pounds of weight. Though some of her family accused her of lying, she said she found support among friends.
“I do not see my son as a negative product, but as a blessing. He SAVED my life. He taught me love, patience, kindness,” she wrote. “… He’s not my assault, he’s not my enemy, he’s my beloved.”