Thank You, M

Today is Life Sunday. Today, we remember the estimated 54 million Americans who have died from legalized abortion. Today, we also remember and thank God for the brave, selfless M’s out there.

Thank you, Sandra, for sharing your M’s story with us:

M is probably the bravest woman I know. She has done something I know, without a doubt, I could not do. She gave me her child.

She was twenty-two and already a single mother of an 18-month-old daughter. The result of poor judgment, she readily admitted. And then she did it again. She wasn’t even dating the guy, just a hook-up.

He wasn’t going to be any help, he barely knew her. She knew what this was going to be like, she’d already been there, done that, and had the spat-up-on, peed-and-pooed-on T-shirt that goes along with it. An abortion was the simplest solution. Lots of women get them, multiple times. Just get it over with and move on with your life.

At the clinic, they did an ultrasound to see how far along she was. I guess it was to figure out which type of procedure to do. I don’t know if she watched. But after that first part was over, she realized she just couldn’t do it.

She got up off the table and walked out of the clinic. She had NO IDEA what she was going to do now, but she knew one thing she wasn’t going to do. On the way back home, she saw a billboard placed by a pro-life organization. On it was a firefighter who rescued dozens of people from the Twin Towers on 9/11 – thanking her birthmother for choosing life and placing her for adoption. Because of that decision decades earlier, many other lives were saved.

That was it. Adoption. But how? That’s just not what you DO as a young, pregnant, black woman. You take care of your own. You don’t give them away. Or you just don’t have them.

Knowing her family and friends would try to talk her out of the decision, she told them she had taken a job in a far-away city. She made excuses why she couldn’t come home for holidays. In reality, she moved 15 minutes across town with her young daughter to a pregnant women’s home run by an adoption agency. She essentially went into hiding for the better part of nine months. She was sticking to this decision and no one was going to change her mind.

She got to pick the people who would raise her baby. The family she picked was great – so loving and happy. Everything was going as planned. Right up until month 8, when the wonderful adoptive mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgery and chemo would have to begin as soon as possible. There was no way she could take care of a newborn and go through treatment and recovery. They had to back out.

Just a few weeks to go and everything had just fallen apart. But no. M was presented with a few other potential adoptive families. After meeting us in person, she made her decision. She chose us. She chose me to replace herself in her baby’s life.

It was easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of baby preparations, giving notice at work, etc. We had just finished our homestudy a couple of weeks earlier. To be placed so quickly was just unheard-of. People asked me if I was worried she’d change her mind. No. That was something I have never worried about. Not once. Not for even a moment.

She called a week after we had gotten home from meeting her, 6 days actually. She was in labor and on her way to the hospital. We quickly packed and hopped in the car and hadn’t even made it from Minneapolis to the Iowa border when she called to say that she had given birth to a healthy baby boy.

The hospital, very thoughtfully, had moved her to a general surgery floor rather than the maternity one, and had even given her a private room. She walked us down to the nursery, and the nurses brought the three of us to a family waiting room. Another nurse wheeled in the bassinet holding the tiny boy. M walked over and picked him up.

And then she handed him to me.

M had gotten pregnant so easily. Twice! I had been through every humiliating test and procedure, being poked and prodded six ways to Sunday. Repeatedly. I took pills, gave myself shots, barely knowing from day to day which way was up from all the hormones coursing through my system. All in the futile attempt to accomplish what she did without even trying, even while trying NOT to.

It’s easy to say, “I’d never have an abortion,” when you’ve never faced an unplanned, unprepared-for, unwed, unsupported pregnancy. And maybe the decision to at least not have an abortion would be an easy one to make. I wouldn’t know.

I do know, that even now, if I should happen to suffer from a serious lapse in judgment and miraculously become pregnant as a result, I would not be able to give that baby to another family to raise. I would not be able to do what M has done.

She not only chose life for her baby, but she chose what she hoped would be a better life for him than one she could provide. She gave him life, knowing she wouldn’t be the one he spent that life with. And that makes her the bravest, most admirable woman I know.

Sandra Ostapowich