I wasn't going to actually write anything about this, but I felt moved to add my story to the plethora of others as hundreds of thousands attend the March for Life in Washington, DC. I won't lie and say my hands weren't trembling as I hit publish.
My story isn't unlike thousands upon thousands of others.
Indeed, on the surface, there's nothing even remotely remarkable about it.
I found out I was pregnant two months before my high school graduation.
It certainly wasn't what I was expecting to hear when I went to see my doctor for a LEEP procedure to treat my recurring cervical dysplasia. I had an inkling as I sat in my paper gown waiting for the nurse to return with the results. But I was hoping I was wrong.
When the nurse walked in and announced that I was indeed expecting, I began to cry. And not just silent tears rolling down my cheeks. Full on sobbing, head in my hands, crying. I sobbed all the way through the doctor calculating my due date. I sobbed all the way through them giving me a big, white plastic bag full of prenatals and that stupid American Pregnancy magazine with the glowing, happy face of an expecting mom. I sobbed all the way to the front desk and through making a follow up appointment. When I got to my car, I laid my head on my steering wheel and tried to catch my breath from all that I had just learned. Every single plan was changed. How could I have been so stupid?
And then it crossed my mind.
I don't have to have this baby.
I gave that thought about three seconds of my time and then I remembered everything I had seen.
When I was a preteen, my mom taught confirmation class at our Catholic church. As part of her teachings, she would talk to the teenagers in her class about the realities of abortion. So, she had in her possession pictures, pamphlets and writings about early fetal development and abortion factoids. Now, my mom was careful about not letting me see these things, hiding them away in a dresser drawer, since I was young and impressionable. But I was also sneaky and a bit of a digger.
I read through the every pamphlet. I looked at every picture. I remember the distinct sadness I felt at learning that something like this really did exist. Suddenly the rosy picture I had of the world was shattered.
I decided right then, in my car, in the parking lot of my OB's office, that it wasn't up to me to play God. The tiny speck growing inside of me had a full set of unique human DNA. And that child deserved every chance and opportunity that my own mother had given me.
I didn't even try to hide my pregnancy from my parents. I couldn't. I called my mom on the way home from the doctor's office, and between big choking sobs uttered out the words, "I'm pregnant."
My mom responded in a way that will stick with me forever.
She stifled a laugh and then said, "It's not the end of the world, Jess. It's a baby. We're going to love it, and you'll see that this will be the best thing that will ever happen to you."
In April of 2003, I chose life.