I want to thank all of you who have prayed for our family. I also want to thank those of you who have given a gift in memory of our Anna Grace to the Pregnancy Resource Center of Milton. Altogether, almost $3,000.00 has been given to pregnancy resource centers in memory of our daughter. Because of these donations, every woman who enters the PRC of Milton and has a positive pregnancy test leaves with a gift. Her gift bag contains a Bible with a special introduction to help new mothers, a packet of information about adoption, a baby blanket, and a letter from me.
As I wrote the letter, I felt overwhelmed by the importance of my task. I felt that these young ladies–many of whom have just experienced the most devastating moment of their young lives–deserved honesty. I decided to be as real as possible. Though there may be some disappointed by what I admit in this letter, I felt that admitting how frail I felt was essential in connecting with these women. When I tried to avoid it, the Holy Spirit reminded me that hiding truth is the same as lying. After I accepted that, the letter came quickly for me. I hope my words were as inspired as they felt at the time. After some consideration, I decided to try to reach other women by posting the letter on the blog. Here is the letter those new mommies will receive:
A Letter to You, a New Mother
Congratulations. Within your womb, a tiny little baby is taking shape. A heart is beating. A child—your child—is depending on you for every morsel of food and for protection from the elements outside your body. He’s also depending on you to make an important decision: Will you carry your child, safe in your womb, so that your child can live the life God has planned for him or her?
Let’s be honest. All pregnancies are not equal and moms are not equally prepared. Sometimes moms are praying for a child. Sometimes moms are praying for a negative result. If you are in the latter group, you may be overwhelmed, afraid, unsure about your next step.
There was a day in my life when I had to make a difficult decision, a decision that may be a bit different from yours but similar, too. I was pregnant with my fourth child. I had a daughter, a son, a baby who had been miscarried, and I was expecting again. Our family was so excited. Then, in one day, our lives were forever changed. We went to the doctor, looking forward to an ultrasound that would reveal the sex of our baby. Instead, we found out our baby had a rare kidney disease and could not survive outside the womb.
I hate to admit this—it’s not something I usually share—but abortion went through my mind. My two children had suffered the loss of a miscarried sibling already. How would they survive watching my belly grow, all the while knowing that their brother or sister would not survive? It was more than I could take. I asked my doctor, “What are my options?” And while I have tried to tell myself that I was only asking this from a medical standpoint, that’s a lie—a lie I have told myself and a few others. I was thinking about those options.
But even as I asked the question, I knew I could not go through with it. I had seen our baby’s heartbeat. I knew there was a life inside me. In Psalm 139, now one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, God’s heart for the unborn is shared. David, an imperfect man but a hero of the Bible, says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them,” (Psalm 139:16). He knew me before my body even began to take shape in my mother’s womb! He had planned out my life before I was conceived! If this was true for David and for me, it had to be true for my unborn child, too. I knew that my child’s life was not mine to take.
We found out days later that our baby was a girl. We named her Anna. I began writing a blog, Carrying Anna, found at www.carryinganna.wordpress.com. I shared honestly about our struggles and about our journey. Many people started writing me, telling me how my sharing our raw emotions had helped them in some way. Anna’s story was affecting people before she was even born. God was using her mightily from inside my womb!
On Anna’s day, March 27, 2012, our family embraced our little girl. Anna Grace McMath, 4 lbs, 11 ounces, surprised doctors with her ability to cry (doctors had said she would probably not be able to take more than a breath) and with her fighting spirit. But she was still a very sick little baby. We did not get to take her home. We said goodbye after only five hours. I wish with all of my heart that we could have had her longer, but five hours was a miracle, in itself. The truth is that Anna’s life began long before March 27th. Anna made and continues to make an impact in people’s lives that far exceeds what many 83-year-old adults ever make. In fact, my prayer is that my other two children will live a life that impacts as many as our sweet little baby Anna. Hers was a short life. But it was an important one.
And your child’s life is important, too. God created your child and gave him or her to youto carry. Children are a gift from God. Maybe you aren’t prepared to be a mother and you don’t think that will change over the next few months. Maybe a very difficult situation—one you are not even responsible for—brought you to this day. You may be in a terrifying situation—one that I cannot even begin to imagine. But your child is no less worthy of life because your circumstances are difficult. Your child can be a gift to a mother who cannot have her own biological child. Your child, full of potential and God-given attributes, can be a gift to the world. Your child can impact people, and that impact can reach far beyond what you could ever imagine. Through our blog, www.carryinganna.wordpress.com, people from every continent except Antarctica have read our Anna’s story. Over 100,000 visits have been made to the blog.
The Pregnancy Resource Center of Milton is ready to stand with you. They are ready to help you through your pregnancy and beyond. You are not alone. I am not saying it will be easy. But choosing what seems to be the easy way out will only lead to heartache. I cannot imagine the remorse and grief I would have felt had I chosen to abort our Anna. Do what you hear in your heart you should do. Take care of that baby growing inside. Choose life for your child.
There is someone else who is willing to walk through this with you. God will not leave you alone. After all, you are carrying a child He created. And He knew, before He ever formed youin your mother’s womb, that this day was coming. He has a plan for you and for your child. The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” That promise is for you and for your child, too.
I hope this small gift given in my daughter’s memory encourages you in some way. You were chosen to be your child’s mother. And whether you feel deserving or not, our Father in Heaven saw you as fit to carry this child. I am praying for you. I am praying that you will sense God’s purpose in this and that you will take care of yourself and that child who is depending on you.
P.S. If you are not a Christ follower but want to know more about who Christ is and how He can offer you an indescribable peace, please ask the kind staff of the Pregnancy Resource Center to share the good news of Jesus Christ with you. And please, always feel free to contact me through Anna’s blog.
The PRC of Milton is an incredible resource in our community. They don’t just encourage women to carry their babies; they help prepare them to do so. Then they walk with them through the steps. If a mother chooses adoption, the PRC helps them decide the best route and offers prenatal education. If a mother chooses to keep her child, the PRC offers prenatal education courses and parenting courses to better equip these young mothers. They help meet physical needs as well as spiritual ones. It is an incredible ministry. Those who work and volunteer their time at the PRC of Milton aren’t just encouraging women to choose life and then walking away. They are there after a woman makes that decision and after that precious baby is born. They are truly God’s servants, ministering to women in their greatest time of need, and I am so proud that our family has been able to be associated with this great organization.
You can find out more about all the good they do at their website: www.prcofmilton.org.
By the way, there is a song our family loves to rock out to, especially Josiah. I loved it before Anna, and I love it moreso now. Here’s a link to “There’s a Life Inside You” by Matthew West: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMSs5WsYdsI.