No words for how blessed I am

Claire- 4I came from a great family. My parents have made mistakes, just like they all do, but they have always provided me with everything I’ve ever needed. My dad even set up a college fund for me when I was a baby. I’ve always lived in good neighborhoods. I drove a nice car and went to a good school. With that being said, when I got pregnant, I had nobody. I made choices prior to getting pregnant that put me in that situation. I couldn’t even actually believe that I was pregnant. (That’s why you see so many positive tests in my Flipgram slideshow!)

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

My baby’s dad and I had a rough relationship, and it only got rougher. But he was all I had. We eventually broke up when I was about 7 months pregnant. Even without a job, car, or money, I knew that I wanted to keep my baby, and I was going to work as hard as I had to to make sure that happened. “Where there’s a will, theres a way” was my favorite thing to say to people when questioned.

There were so many days when I cried my eyes out, thought, and sometimes said I should just get (or have gotten) an abortion. I begged God to help me. My pregnancy sparked the most beautiful friendship with Anja (a pro-life student leader at Mississippi State), and when I was 11 weeks 6 days pregnant, she took me to the Center for Pregnancy Choices, and they gave me a free sonogram. (CPC is such an amazing place!) I saw my little bitty baby. I saw its heart beat. I did my nervous laugh, attempting to hold back my tears, as I watched my tiny baby jump and dance around. That’s when I knew that I was going to do this, whatever it took.

“Out of the hottest fire comes the purest gold.”

And yet, I still doubted myself daily. I dropped out of college and lost my two jobs when I was 5 months pregnant, still not knowing what I was going to do or how I was going to provide for my baby boy with only a little bit of savings. I prayed that God would lead me to do what was best for my son.

I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I’m going to be real. I still had times where I wished that I had aborted my baby. Through it all, Anja was there: therapist, mother, boyfriend, baby daddy, whatever I needed her to be. She loved me and loved my baby. And I felt that love every time that I called or texted her, crying for help.

I told my mom when I was 16 weeks, after I found out that I was having a baby boy. My still tiny, growing baby boy sparked a brand new, better than ever relationship with my mom which we desperately needed. What a blessing it was when my mom decided to let me move back in with her on my 18th birthday; I was 8 months pregnant. My mom bought my sweet Taylan his first blankets, burp cloths, onesies, etc. It took a long time, but she finally accepted my pregnancy and was officially excited to be a grandmother for the first time. My aunt threw me a baby shower, and I was so thankful! I finally knew that my baby was accepted and loved.

“The pain you’re feeling now is nothing compared to the joy that’s coming.” (Romans 8:18)

On July 30th, Taylan was born. It was so hard. So terrifying. Every second. It was all unknown, and that’s my biggest fear- the unknown. I remember the first time my mom left me alone with Taylan. I called Anja; I was crying. And she just talked to me and calmed me down.

Taylan is almost 3 months old now, and it’s easier. There are still challenges and hard moments, but my life without him would be nothing. I’m sharing this because I don’t know what others are going through, and I know so many pregnant women. Everybody has a different story, especially every young mom, and some aren’t as lucky to get out of such a bad situation and into a better one before the birth of their baby. But maybe hearing about how it’s been for me will give somebody that ounce of hope they need to make it through today.

My pregnancy was filled with some of the hardest times of my life, but it’s had the best outcome. I do about 98% of it on my own with little help. But it’s so worth it. I’ve never loved my life so much.

“The pain you’re feeling now is nothing compared to the joy that’s coming.” (Romans 8:18)

 

We thank Claire for her courage to share her pregnancy and parenting story. If you have a story that you would like to share, please contact Beth Rahal at brahal@studentsforlife.org

St. Gregory’s Pro-Life Team brings hope & support to campus

St. Gregory's Pro-Life TeamWe love celebrating the wonderful projects of student groups across the country! That’s why we asked St. Gregory’s Pro-Life Team to share with us their awesome Pregnant on Campus outreach efforts on campus. This group is bringing hope and support to their community through new outreach efforts and heartfelt projects.

What motivated you to engage in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative?

Every year after returning from the March for Life in DC, our group has a brainstorming session to focus our efforts for the upcoming year. In 2014, we started talking about things we could do for pregnant and parenting students on campus. That semester, we bought a diaper deck with the Knights of Columbus and donated it to the school. In the fall, Darian took over the committee and started coming up with ideas and doing stuff.

How did you come up with the gift bags idea?

We wanted to do something to celebrate new life in our campus community. (We try to take as positive an angle as possible on every outreach.) So we had baby beanies Baby bags- St Gregory'sembroidered with our team logo to give to faculty, staff, and students who had babies. Then we realized that we could buy an embroidery machine for a few hundred dollars and make our own baby beanies, blankets, onesies, etc. to give away via Project Gabriel of Shawnee, OK. We were able to get the machine partially funded by SGA and cover the rest with proceeds from a raffle. Now our baby bags/baskets typically include a beanie, blanket, sticker with our logo, card signed by the team, photo brochure about prenatal development, and similar small gifts.

What other similar outreach/resources plans do you have for this year (or simply this Fall)?

Pregnant on Campus is primarily concerned with helping pregnant and parenting students and secondarily concerned with celebrating life in the community. Last year (our first year with a Pregnant on Campus committee), we did a lot of social media outreach. YikYak got really popular at St. Gregory’s and at another university down the street, and every so often someone would post about being afraid that they were pregnant. So we would reply with encouragement and local resources. We also put resource bulletin boards and flyers up in the student union, rec room, restrooms, residence halls, and common areas. This year, we have had a few students approach us, and we’ve been able to connect them with local resources and free on-campus babysitting during classes. We’ve also given out baby bags to professors who had children over the summer and printed custom drop cards with local resources. Later on in the year, we’ll have a week where we give away free cupcakes in the student union under a huge banner that says “Celebrate Life,” which is always a huge hit.

Why is this effort important, and why should other students (on other campuses) get involved?

Something that gets talked about at conferences and in pro-life group event ideas is making people aware of abortion and especially of Planned Parenthood. That’s important and very good, but it’s easy to fill up a year with 40 Days for Life/Silent Day/March for Life/graphic displays/expose Planned Parenthood/Q&A about abortion, etc. and forget to talk about why life is so important. We put on a ton of events like those every year on top of member education and development, fundraisers, team meetings, fellowships, and bulletin boards around campus, but in my four years on the team, I’ve noticed that other students are exponentially more likely to engage in conversation and be open to all of our messages if we’re positive. So when we create a display about abortion, we also put up pictures of fetal development. When we put up cemeteries of the unborn or chalk thousands of hearts, we ask people to pray for the deceased and their family instead of attacking those who caused the death. We never seek to avoid difficult and grave issues, but we always seek to avoid attacking anyone, because the people who would feel attacked are often the ones we can help the most. This translates to Pregnant on Campus really well: our message is that we will help, there are options, and you are not alone. People know we exist and feel comfortable approaching us because we celebrate life publicly. We’re excited when professors have babies. We can be found making tiny pro-life shirts and playing with babies while their parents are in class, and we know where free resources are because we do fundraisers to replenish their supplies every year. If your pro-life group isn’t doing this (and especially if your group isn’t well-regarded by others on your campus), Pregnant on Campus is an excellent way to celebrate life instead of just decrying death.

 

Great work, St. Gregory’s Pro-Life Team

If your group would like to share a successful project, contact our Pregnant on Campus Coordinator at pregnancyresources@studentsforlife.org