I wasn’t actually pregnant, was I?
As I stared at the results of the pregnancy test, I leaned back against the wall and slid to the ground. Sitting on the bathroom floor, my situation felt more like a scene from a movie than my own, real life. It was the end of my senior year of high school. I was only 17.
But I wasn’t interested in having an abortion. That didn’t go over so well.
“No offense, but really, why don’t you have an abortion?” one of my classmates asked.
“Why won’t you just consider an abortion?” a friend told me.
It was as though they couldn’t hear their own words.
I grew impatient as I gave the same reply over and over, “Because this is my baby!” In all the abortion discussions I had, I felt I was defending my daughter’s right to live.
When I worked up the nerve to tell my parents, it felt more of a relief. I knew they would support me in choosing not to abort my baby.
Looking back, I have never once regretted or even questioned that decision. What boggles my mind, though, is how incredibly sure I was. Though young, I was unwavering in my resolve. What I didn’t realize until years later was that God had been preparing me for this event long before I was born.
In May 1980, my mother was 25 and had a 2-year-old and a newborn. Her community proposed building a “women’s clinic” that would perform abortions. My mother was in favor of it.
But one day that month, while flipping through the channels, she stopped on a Christian television program she hadn’t seen before. She listened as a preacher shared about Jesus. Much of what he said was new to her. Following the program she called the number on the screen to pray with someone. That afternoon, she gave her life to Christ and received the Holy Spirit.
Something instantly changed within her. As if a fog lifted, she immediately understood that abortion was wrong. Of all the things the Holy Spirit might have opened her mind to understand, His first priority was to protect the life of my mother’s granddaughter.
My mother spent the next decade heavily involved in the pro-life movement. By the time I came along six years later, she was attending rallies and events and passing out information. She didn’t just do it alone—she brought her children.
Abortion, Parenting, Adoption: An important Decision
My mother never shied away from teaching me about the reality and tragedy of abortion. More importantly, she taught me, “Adoption is an option.” My mother had no clue what I would face at 17. She was simply following the convictions God’s Spirit placed in her heart. As a result, the truth was crystal clear to me too.
Abortion was not an option in my mind, that was final. The only question that remained now was adoption. Over lunch one day, I told my mother I would probably give the baby up for adoption. In fact, I had already considered my older, married sister as a good candidate.
“Well, adoption is an option,” she said, “but it isn’t to be taken lightly. You need to be sure you’ll be okay with someone else raising your baby as their own.”
Next, my mother shared something that shifted the trajectory of everything: “You can do this. If you want to raise your baby, you can. And I’ll be here to help.”
I had been so concerned with defending the life of my baby, it hadn’t dawned on me that I could raise her. From that day on, I prepared to love her as my own.
On a cold January day in upstate New York, my daughter was born at a healthy 7 pounds, 15 ounces. The June following her first birthday, I married a handsome young man from church.
Fourteen years of marriage and four more kids later, we are now a happy family of seven. By God’s grace we also have a wonderful relationship with my daughter’s birth father and his family.
My daughter recently turned 16. I reminded her that her story didn’t just begin with her birth. It didn’t even begin with my birth. God was preparing for her that day He spoke to Grandma all those years before, and we are all so very glad He did.
Copyright © 2021 by Erica Renaud. Used by permission. All rights reserved.