“No, not again! Not now!” I cried out in the bathroom. I’ll call Marisa. She’s always been strong. She has it together.
I reached for the phone and dialed her number. When she answered, I blurted, “The test is positive! I’m pregnant.” She’ll lift my spirits.
“Mary . . .” she began. “How in the world will you care for another baby?”
Then again, maybe not.
“What are you going to do?” Marisa squealed.
I thought, If I knew that, I wouldn’t have called you. Wasn’t I the one supposed to get some reassurances, some guidance, some support here?
“I . . . I don’t know, I thought–”
“Mary, what were you thinking?” she shot back. “You can’t possibly have another baby! You’re only twenty-one; you already have three children, and now number four on its way? Your husband drinks too much, he works only when he wants to, you have a child with special needs, you guys don’t have enough money . . . !”
My mind swirled. I hung by a flimsy strand, all hope was slipping. Okay! Tell me something I don’t know. Marisa’s right, whom am I kidding? I. Can’t. Go. On.
Then, she added, “Listen, I’ll help you. If you will get an abortion . . . I will help you pay for one.”
So, that’s it? The quick-fix solution to the problem . . . to end an innocent life?
“I . . . I’ll have to think about this,” I muttered. “Let me sleep on it and get back to you.”
Did that answer come out of me?
I placed the receiver down, heavy with conflicting emotions. My world came to a halt. My heart felt heavy. I cradled my belly, thinking: I can’t have another baby. But can I truly consider this the way out?
The girls slept in their room. Their father was—Lord only knows where. I sat alone in the dark, crossed-legged on the bed. My head ached. My stomach was tied in knots. Overcome with waves of hopelessness, memories churned to the one security blanket I had ever known: the home of my grandparents. And I realized I was sinking. Fast.
What happened to my anchor of faith? My hope? Isn’t God big enough to handle the mess in my life? I have to admit, I’ve been too busy for Him. Now that I need Him, does He still care? Then it occurred to me: If I can’t trust God now, then what’s the point of going on?
That instant I prayed like never before, and pored over my Bible. The Book of Psalms always comforted me, and that night before sleep overtook me, my “Ah hah” moment came after reading Psalm 139:13: For You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I wasn’t about to take the life of my unborn child, believing that God gave that life to me.
Come morning. A new day. A fresh start. Resolute in my decision, faith sparked. God had always taken care of me before. I determined to trust Him to carry me now. I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Give me the grace to endure…
I reached for the phone and dialed Marisa’s number.
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
“Mary, think about what—”
“No!” I shouted. “I’m going to walk on and trust God. You knew my convictions. I thought they were yours too.”
“Mary, I was only trying. . .”
“How?” I interrupted, pacing the floor. “By offering me an abortion? I came to you down and out for encouragement and prayer. I needed to hear ‘hope’ beyond my pain, but you didn’t—you wouldn’t—give me that!”
“Look, Mary, you’re still so young. I’ve been around longer than you. . .”
“You never had children,” I protested.
“I married a jerk once too. They don’t change.” Marisa went on to give one reason after another about how she was looking out for my best interest.
After long seconds of dead silence and nothing else to say, we hung up.
I thought of a lesson in Sunday school about Job who called his friends miserable comforters, even his wife told him to “curse God and die.” They were supposed to be his friends; yet, those comforters increased his trouble by condemning him.
Marisa and I parted ways. Our friendship ended that day.
Days, weeks, and months overlapped one another; my past troubles were behind me. With my heart overflowing and my eyes drowning in tears, I reached down to kiss my newborn. “Hello, Daniel Michael,” I whispered. “I’m your Mommy.”
Before long, my little curly-lock hair boy is running around with deep brown eyes touching my heart each time he looks up at me.
The next thing I knew I blinked, and the little boy is now a strapping young man and I am gazing up at him.
(An excerpt from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace)
Note: Please understand I share this story not to condemn, criticize, judge or belittle anyone who for whatever reason may have made a different decision than I did. Everyone has their own story to tell; this is mine. I may have made a lot of mistakes in my life. This was one example when I was strong enough to make the right decision for me. I believe that strength came as I prayed to my Heavenly Father. While it’s true that I may have my share of regrets in life, not giving birth to my one and only son thirty-six years ago is not one of them.
Happy Birthday, son! I love you with all my heart!
© M.A. Perez 2018, All Rights Reserved