Sunday, May 13, 2012

…And Bless the Fathers, Too

By Heather Mathews for PPSIMMONS

A lot of us think of pro-life as being primarily a women’s issue, and certainly it is apt to be, as it is particularly draining on a woman’s body and emotions to be carrying that precious cargo inside.  To make the decision to keep a baby when the parents are financially unstable, ill or disabled, or when the father is uninterested or unable to commit to his responsibilities to that child, is likely one of the most difficult decisions that a woman will make.  Many women, even those who have always thought of themselves as pro-life, will find themselves in a spiritual battle and feeling as though they have no one (outside of the life growing within!)  One of the principal factors in the decision to obtain an abortion is the fear of being a single parent (51% in the U.S.)1 For those (often young) women opting to get an abortion, their partners frequently break off the relationship because of the stress and/or guilt following the procedure.  Yet, for every man not willing to stick around to support their partner and child, there are men that challenge the status quo and impress us with their (sometimes sudden) maturity, insightfulness, and humility, and sometimes even remorse at the lost opportunity of fatherhood:

I was 18 years old, when my high school sweetheart told me that she was pregnant. Her mother was furious, even though she did not know her daughter was pregnant. She just thought the daughter had a pregnancy test. The mother said, "If she is pregnant, she is going to have an abortion." However, my girlfriend never told her mother she was pregnant - at least that I know of. I passed the decision off to my girlfriend, and her friend gave her the money for the abortion. To this day, I still feel regret - tremendous, unrelenting regret. What if I had been man enough to take responsibility? I have had six children of my own. Every time I think of that girlfriend, I think of the other child I have in heaven.2

I recently began to seek out people who were willing to share their pro-life stories with this ministry, and the world, to encourage others to choose life via my Facebook page.  I made up flyers to pass out to local churches, and even posted an ad on a local Craigslist community page.  Within, I think, 20 minutes, I had a brief conversation with a man I’ll call “Paul.”

Paul is a staunch pro-lifer, and in fact had arranged a large pro-life rally at a federal building in California more than 25 years ago called “Walk for Life.”  President Reagan was among the many celebrities in attendance. 

Last September, at the age of 60 (!) Paul found out that his girlfriend was pregnant.  He never thought it could happen, and he (they?) did not want children.  He says, “…what could I do? There was never a question that I had to see this through. She doesn't believe in abortion either.”  They are now engaged to be married and little Silas was born last Wednesday.

Paul doesn’t think that his story has much interest, but I beg to differ.  At an age when most men are empty nesters, preparing for retirement and waiting for the grandkids to stop in for a day-trip, he is just starting out- gleefully- with the all-night diaper and feeding-frenzy, and has 18 more years to look forward to the love and care of his beautiful new son.  In his own words, “He's the most beautiful little boy, in my eyes, that was ever born.”  He is a rare gem.  His fiancée is a very blessed young woman. 
Another inspiring story of an unborn child’s father stepping up to the plate:

“I was 18, just graduated from high school and planning on going to a top Christian college in the fall when I found out I was pregnant. I had big plans and I was going to make them happen. I didn't want my parents or friends to think badly of me. So, I was dead set on abortion. My boyfriend was shocked that I was pregnant, but even more shocked that I had decided on abortion because I had always been a "pro-life" Christian (and a pastor's kid). I hesitate to call myself truly pro-life at that point in my life because it was more of a political belief than a true conviction of how awful abortion really is.

“My boyfriend begged me not to have an abortion. I ended up going to a crisis pregnancy center to humor him. I expected them to be judgmental and condescending, however, there I was treated with more compassion than I had ever imagined. They didn't treat me like I was just a host body to the fetus they were trying to save. One of the nurses said something to me that almost made me change my mind. She said that another girl who had chosen to have her baby said this: "I thought about when I'm 80 and what decision I would be proud of when I look back at my life." Like I said, it *almost* got me to change my mind, but it didn't. I made an appointment at the abortion clinic. I wanted to get in the next day so that I could use my full-time summer job as a cover story for my being gone all day (the abortion clinic was in a town 100 miles from my home town). However, because of a mandatory wait law my state has, I wasn't able to get in until the next week.

“I'm telling you all of this so you can see what led to me ultimately not having an abortion. That week gave my boyfriend the time and the courage to go behind my back and tell my dad what was happening. That led to an outpouring of love, support and forgiveness from my family. Because of that, I now have a beautiful almost 2-year-old. I married my boyfriend, not out of obligation, but out of love. I came to love him even more after seeing his courage and strength to stand up to me and save not only our daughter, but myself as well. I'm now a junior in college, graduating on time and I have a life full of love. Seeing how God watched over me and intervened to prevent me from a life of regret and hurt when I was so willing to seek sin to cover sin has renewed my relationship with Him. That relationship is now the foundation of my marriage and my parenthood. God is so merciful. My life is more complete now than it ever has been…”3

I know that it is Mother’s Day this weekend, but should it not be every day that our mothers are respected, honored, even revered for the sacrifices that were made on our behalf?  Because of our mothers’ decisions to choose LIFE- whether they were married, divorced, widowed, or single, whether rich or poor, ready or not- are we all here fighting for the next generation.  In addition, in a marriage-relationship built around God’s patience, grace, mercy, and love, husband-wife (father-mother) have been inexplicably intertwined and have become “one flesh.”  It takes two, so to speak, to create a family, so ideally, both Mom and Dad need our support and encouragement in the rearing up of Godly children who will be willing to defend the Kingdom.

To the fathers who stuck around, who allowed moms to take on their God-ordained role without having to function also as “dad”: THANK YOU!  And to the mothers, whether you were forced or chose to tackle parenthood alone: we salute you and surely God has blessed YOU for choosing LIFE, and for your hard work and dedication in taking on multiple roles to keep your family strong and healthy.  I can only hope someday that I will have the patience and tenacity you’ve displayed to take on the role of “Supermom.”


No comments:

Post a Comment