Working with women all over the nation facing unexpected pregnancies, the common challenge that many have is finding their courage. Being brave looks different for many women. It could mean you need to find your brave to tell your parents or find your brave to reach out to someone and ask for help, or maybe it even means being brave and choosing life. This can be uncomfortable, but you won’t regret being brave.
Being brave: my story
When I was 19, I was pregnant and unmarried. The shame and guilt that I felt were crippling.
Growing up in church, I knew to save sex until marriage, but I still messed up. My boyfriend and I loved each other so much, but we had begun looking to each other for validation instead of to God.
I believed abortion was wrong. Even as a child, I would prayerfully march outside abortion clinics with my family. If anyone ever asked me about that topic, I would adamantly say that I could not understand why someone would make a choice like that. But when I found out I was pregnant, fear took the wheel and being brave was the last thing on my mind. I convinced myself that an abortion would be the easy way out. Ryan and I would never have to tell a soul; we would never have to disappoint our families. We planned to pretend that this little “bump in life” never happened and continue going to church every Sunday.
Being brave can be hard
I came within moments of having an abortion, having made it as far as being in a medical gown and sitting on the cold table. While the nurses described how they would perform the abortion and what was about to happen, I had an anxiety attack, hyperventilated and passed out.
Then, as the nurses were fanning me and trying to get me to drink some water, one of them looked me in the eyes and said, “You’re too emotionally distraught to make this decision today. You can come back another day, but today you’re not getting an abortion.”
I walked back out to the waiting room, and Ryan saw that my eyes were red and my face was swollen from crying so much.
“We’re still pregnant,” I said.
Being brave is a moment by moment decision
At that moment, we decided to see what would happen if we tried being brave. We were nervous about our future and how our families would respond to the news. But we were determined to figure it out.
We were so close to losing our amazing son because of fear, shame, and feeling that no one would understand. Fear lies to us and paralyzes us. In a crisis moment, it’s hard not to only focus on the worst thing that could happen. Yet, we can lose sight of what we know to be true – that God will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 12:5b). All we have to do is turn to Him and ask for help. He is our Rescuer and Savior. He can help you be braver than you think and find peace and confidence – even when things seem chaotic all around.
How to be brave
- Tell someone
It’s time to tell your family and friends. You might feel nervous about this, and if so, bring someone with you that you love and trust. It probably took you some time for the reality to sink in, so give them time, too. If they react and say things they might regret later because of hurt, just remember the truth of who God says you are—your new name. If you are concerned for your safety or think someone might try to harm you, seek a safe environment and wise counsel. Surround yourself with people that believe in you and care about your well-being.
- Take good care of yourself
You and your baby are valuable and important. So, make an appointment right away to begin prenatal care. Here are some good ways to begin:
- Start making a plan
- Fall in love with Jesus
When you first fall in love with someone, it usually starts by spending time with that person. The more you spend quiet time with God, talking and listening and reading His Word, the more you fall in love with Him. He changes you from the inside out and He fills your heart with unexplainable peace, joy and hope. Find a church and get connected to a spiritual family. Raise your kid in the church. Start a new legacy for your family.
- Find community
Build a support system of women who believe in you and believe in the God that lives in you. Get plugged in. Find parenting information and classes at your local pregnancy center. In addition, find a church near you that offers support groups for women with unexpected pregnancies such as Embrace Grace. Go to EmbraceGrace.com to find a group near you!
- Get outside counsel
Sometimes getting outside Godly guidance from someone can help you see your circumstances from a different perspective and shed light on an issue you maybe haven’t thought of regarding your current situation or your future. Whether it’s talking through topics like relationships, school, job or the father of the baby, having Godly people in your life can help process your thoughts and pray through your circumstances.
My son is 22 years old now, married and even writes for Focus on the Family sometimes. I can’t imagine my life without him. God chose me to bring this life into the world out of all the women on earth. Finally, He helped me be brave as I raised my son. He will help you too.