Our cultural gaslighting of women who miscarry before 20 weeks

In early 2019, I miscarried one of my twins. I had already known how common miscarriage is, and I suspected that when I began talking publicly about my miscarriage, people I’ve known for years would quietly let me know they had also had pregnancy losses. It was bittersweet for that prediction to come true; their understanding and support meant a lot to me, but I was sorry to learn of their own heartbreaks.

It helped me process to talk about my lost babe with others who have been through it. I joined some online support groups for pregnancy loss where I found additional consolation and connection. Miscarriage is common, but people don’t speak about it much publicly. As I talked privately with so many other women about their losses, I began to see why. 

First, many women feel guilty that they miscarried; they worry that some action they took caused their miscarriage, even though there’s usually no reason to believe that’s the case. Some even think the miscarriage is some kind of fate—a punishment for some past mistake or a reflection of their inability to parent. It’s terrible. Grief is hard enough on its own, without added layers of guilt and shame.

Second, many women worry their grief is stupid or irrational. They experience a lot of gaslighting—nearly all of it, I think, unintentional—from medical personnel, friends, and family. And the lack of compassion seems to get more pronounced the earlier in pregnancy we miscarry.  

Research has found that “gestational age was not shown to affect the degree, intensity, or duration of the grief, anxiety, or depression” for mothers who had miscarried, and yet one of the hallmarks of early miscarriage is “the minimization of the loss by others.” My pregnancy loss groups regularly feature posts lamenting when loved ones make well-meaning but dismissive comments (“You can always try again.” “At least you weren’t further along.” “At least it wasn’t an actual baby.”)

Even therapists don’t always react appropriately. I lost my babe around 6 weeks. The first counselor I saw commented about how that gestational age is “super early.” During our session she mentioned more than once that I may find my grief over miscarrying is a surface emotion for other, deeper issues—seeming to imply losing a baby, on its own, wouldn’t normally warrant this much anguish. At the end of our session, she said “Well I’m glad to work with you, and we can work on processing your… well I guess it’s like a miscarriage, isn’t it?” (I did not continue seeing her.)

These responses are tragic but not especially shocking. Thanks to our fiery, never-ending national abortion debate, there are countless voices loudly and incessantly insisting that human embryos and fetuses are not babies. Worse, they often go further and imply that viewing preborn humans as children is ignorant or superstitious. Example:

Original tweet here.

This kind of condescension insults and silences people (pro-choice and pro-life alike) who grieve their miscarriages as the deaths of their children. 

Original tweet here.

In an article about miscarriage and post-traumatic stress, the BBC interviewed a woman whose reaction underscores the problem:

Toni Edwards-Beighton, 36, says she felt she was losing her mind after a miscarriage in 2016. “I felt my grief was wrong because it wasn’t a real baby – but I was in complete shock,” she says. … “It wasn’t ’tissue’ to me, it was our baby,” Toni says.

My miscarriage broke my heart, but stories like the above make me grateful I have so many pro-life friends and family. I have people in my life who affirm the value and significance of my lost babe not merely as a potential child who will not come to be, but as my actual child, once living and now gone. I have never felt my grief is misplaced or irrational. I have never struggled to reconcile my overwhelming instinct about the reality and value of my child with cultural messaging or social circles persistently arguing otherwise. I have had four children; three of them are with me now, and one is gone. The grief is difficult, but I’m thankful I don’t have to also navigate the gaslighting.

Unfortunately, in addition to dealing with dismissive comments in their interpersonal relationships, people struggling through miscarriage often also encounter insensitive responses from the medical community.

In her recent article “Hospital attitude adds to couple’s heartache,” Sarah Terzo highlights these themes. Lindsey and April Woods lost their daughter through miscarriage in the second trimester, and their grief was only compounded when medical staff repeatedly referred to their baby as “tissue” and—only after persistent requests—provided their daughter’s remains for burial in a bright orange biohazard bucket.

This apparently indifferent approach has been all too common in medical settings. In 2010, Critical Care Nursing Quarterly published “Proof of life: a protocol for pregnant women who experience pre-20-week perinatal loss,” in which the authors conducted a literature review and found there were no protocols for the emotional care for women who experience pregnancy loss prior to 20 weeks gestation. The authors suggested options for better respecting the experience of loss (such as offering a prayer, moment of silence, naming ceremony, referral for perinatal support groups, etc.). But implementation of such protocols has been slow. A 2017 article in the Journal of Perinatology explained that, in an emergency room setting, women under 20 weeks gestation who miscarry get appropriate physical care, but “psychological and bereavement support they need is provided less consistently, or, more often, not at all.” The research found that when women do not receive appropriate emotional and psychological support, their grief is deeper and longer-lasting, and their losses are more likely to trigger unresolved grief and depression during subsequent pregnancies. In contrast, providing proper emotional support to women who have miscarried improves both their mental health outcomes and medical personnel’s work satisfaction.

To that end, in the last few years key stakeholders in emergency room management and pregnancy loss bereavement have worked together to create a position paper addressing care for women miscarrying—at any gestational age. The paper details best principles and practices, emphasizing sensitive and dignified care for the family such as offering bereavement care and culturally competent options for disposition of the child’s remains.

This is a step in the right direction, and I’m hopeful more medical staff can access the education and training needed to better care for people mourning miscarriage. I’m less optimistic about positive changes in our culture as a whole. It’s difficult to see how the abortion rights narrative—that prenatal life is effectively irrelevant—can coexist with our lived experiences of our offspring alive, then gone. I expect as long as so much of society is incentivized to dehumanize our children, my pregnancy loss groups will continue to have posts like this:

“It is just a fetus, tissue, they say
But I know better
It was my child, my baby
A living being
A part of my family”

How Legal Abortion Twists Society’s Response to Miscarriages

Photograph by Joy Real on Unsplash. Image description: A cemetery in snow.

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, a time when we remember children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and the families they have left behind. As a mother who has lost two of my children to miscarriage, I appreciate the need for awareness. Despite the fact that one out of every four women has suffered a miscarriage, the subject is rarely discussed.

Our reluctance to discuss miscarriage is partly a product of our reluctance to discuss death and mortality in general. But there is more going on here. I am convinced that a major cause of women’s suffering and silence is legal abortion.

Legal abortion means with miscarriage, someone will get slapped in the face by our response. Either post-abortive women get slapped by the truth that their unborn child was an actual living human who died on their demand—or—grieving mothers of miscarriage will get gaslighted and mocked for melodramatically mourning a disappointing pregnancy as if they can’t still have a baby if that’s what they want.

It’s impossible to validate the loss and grief that we face when we lose a child to miscarriage without acknowledging the humanity and life that existed. And if what I mourn is the loss of a human child’s life, abortion is taking the life of a human child. Naming the child and otherwise acknowledging this was an irreplaceable son or daughter reminds women who lose children by choice of what they have willingly done. This truth is not a pleasant message for post-abortive mothers.

On the other hand, denying this truth is a huge slap in the face to grieving moms. If all I lost was a “potential person”—basically I am just disappointed that pregnancy didn’t end with a full-term baby. In that case, miscarriage is just temporary bummer and “better luck next time.” It denigrates our grief and pain and for no other reason than it makes society feel better about disposing of children at will.

Lies told to enable evil toward unborn children also hurt those who love (and lose) these babies. It is just another bonus gift from the culture of death.

[Today’s guest article is by Dr. Jacqueline Abernathy, Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Tarleton State University.]

How Legal Abortion Twists Society’s Response to Miscarriages

Photograph by Joy Real on Unsplash. Image description: A cemetery in snow.

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, a time when we remember children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and the families they have left behind. As a mother who has lost two of my children to miscarriage, I appreciate the need for awareness. Despite the fact that one out of every four women has suffered a miscarriage, the subject is rarely discussed.

Our reluctance to discuss miscarriage is partly a product of our reluctance to discuss death and mortality in general. But there is more going on here. I am convinced that a major cause of women’s suffering and silence is legal abortion.

Legal abortion means with miscarriage, someone will get slapped in the face by our response. Either post-abortive women get slapped by the truth that their unborn child was an actual living human who died on their demand—or—grieving mothers of miscarriage will get gaslighted and mocked for melodramatically mourning a disappointing pregnancy as if they can’t still have a baby if that’s what they want.

It’s impossible to validate the loss and grief that we face when we lose a child to miscarriage without acknowledging the humanity and life that existed. And if what I mourn is the loss of a human child’s life, abortion is taking the life of a human child. Naming the child and otherwise acknowledging this was an irreplaceable son or daughter reminds women who lose children by choice of what they have willingly done. This truth is not a pleasant message for post-abortive mothers.

On the other hand, denying this truth is a huge slap in the face to grieving moms. If all I lost was a “potential person”—basically I am just disappointed that pregnancy didn’t end with a full-term baby. In that case, miscarriage is just temporary bummer and “better luck next time.” It denigrates our grief and pain and for no other reason than it makes society feel better about disposing of children at will.

Lies told to enable evil toward unborn children also hurt those who love (and lose) these babies. It is just another bonus gift from the culture of death.

[Today’s guest article is by Dr. Jacqueline Abernathy, Assistant Professor of Public Administration at Tarleton State University.]

When we say “heartbeat” we don’t mean “fetal pole cardiac activity.” We mean “heartbeat.”

Recently a FB follower shared this post to our page:

(Click to enlarge)
The text reads, in part:

This is what an embryo at 6 weeks looks like. There is no real heart beat because it’s heart isn’t nearly complete – they’re heart “vibrations” (vibrations are caused my cellular activity where the heart WILL be. Meaning, yes, the title of the “heartbeat bill” is misleading, purposely). There is no brain, meaning no pain receptors. It does not feel pain. This is what you’re stripping women’s right away for. I, your sisters, your mothers, aunts, friends – we all have beating hearts and brains. Our lives are more important than this. 

**Stop listening to pro life talking heads that use purposely emotional language to manipulate your view. They are not doctors or scientists.**

•This is not a “baby”. They use pictures of 6 month old babies to pull on your heart strings. This is an embryo. This is not “10 fingers, 10 toes” babbling cooing baby they’re trying to get you to imagine.

The post is certainly right that this image is not of a “baby.” The image is actually from Etsy, described as “Baby Memorial/Honor Sculpture.” The tiny figures pictured are clay sculptures which the seller says are “for those who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy during the first trimester and are searching for a tangible keepsake to honor their precious Angel.” The Etsy page includes reviews from mothers describing how much it means to them to have a way to mark their grief and loss. How ironic that the OP uses art specifically meant to help people value and mourn prenatal life to instead deride those very viewpoints–and all while claiming to be representing science. It’s kind of amazing.

Here’s an image of an embryo around 6 weeks post-fertilization (or 8 weeks LMP – after the beginning of the last menstrual period) courtesy of The Bump:

As the prenatal website explains, “You may have your first prenatal appointment right around now. At this visit an ultrasound may be performed to determine how far along you are. You may even hear—and see—baby’s heartbeat.”

The Bump’s use of the word “heartbeat” is representative of not only many prenatal websites but also descriptions medical professionals give pregnant women during routine prenatal care. Using “heartbeat” to describe embryonic activity at this stage is neither new nor unique to anti-abortion advocates.

Some pro-choice people argue that when medical professionals say “heartbeat” in these contexts, they’re just using layman’s language with their patients, just as an OBGYN might say “baby” when talking to a woman with a wanted pregnancy. That doesn’t make “baby” a medical or technical term.

But “heartbeat” is appropriate both for the layman and as a medical description. As The Developing Human by Moore et al (10th Edition, 2013) explains in “Chapter 13: Cardiovascular System”:

The cardiovascular system is the first major system to function in the embryo. The primordial heart and vascular system appear in the middle of the third week (Fig. 13-1). This precocious cardiac development occurs because the rapidly growing embryo can no longer satisfy its nutritional and oxygen requirements by diffusion alone. Consequently, there is a need for an efficient method of acquiring oxygen and nutrients from the maternal blood and disposing of carbon dioxide and waste products.

In other words the embryonic heart exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide even before it fully develops into the more complex heart we’re familiar with. Those insisting we say “fetal pole cardiac activity” instead of “heartbeat” or describing the embryonic heart as just “electrically induced flickering” or–more ridiculously–“vibrations” try to imply that the four chambered heart doesn’t happen until months later; that’s completely incorrect. Here’s a diagram from Moore et al of the heart at 35 days (approximately 5 weeks post-fertilization):

(Click to enlarge)

At this point the embryonic heart already has four chambers. It’s reductive to describe this development as no more than “pulsing cells.”

Additionally, by 4 weeks the embryo has three paired veins draining into the heart: vitelline veins return poorly oxygenated blood from the umbilical vessel, umbilical veins carry well-oxygenated blood from the chorionic sac, and cardinal veins return poorly oxygenated blood from the embryo’s body to the heart. Here is an illustration from figure 13-5 of Moore of the heart at 24 days postfertilization:

Here are the veins illustrated at 6 weeks:

This image is from Figure 13-4, the caption for which states, “Initially, three systems of veins are present: the umbilical veins from the chorion, vitelline veins from the umbilical vesicle, and cardinal veins from the body of the embryos.”


More from Moore:

  • “The heart begins to beat at 22 to 23 days (Fig. 13-2).”
  • “Blood flow begins during the fourth week, and heartbeats can be visualized by Doppler ultrasonography (Fig. 13-3).”
  • “The initial contractions of the heart are of myogenic origin (in or starting from muscle). … At first, circulation through the primordial heart is an ebb-and-flow type; however, by the end of the fourth week, coordinated contractions of the heart result in unidirectional flow.”
  • Partitioning of the AV canal, primordial atrium, ventricle, and outflow tract begins during the middle of the fourth week.”
By 6 weeks the heart is chambered and moving blood unidirectionally through coordinated contractions–that is, the heart is rhythmically pumping blood. Of course the heart has more development to do, but the pro-choice side is hand wavy at best to insist we can’t say “heartbeat”–and they are flatly wrong to say embryos don’t have hearts! Which side is anti-science, again? 
The embryonic heart is “a bunch of pulsing cells” in the exact same way the embryo herself is “a clump of cells”–in a way meant to downplay that abortion kills prenatal humans. It’s continually remarkable to me that the pro-choice side seems to badly need to obfuscate the humans abortion destroys. I suspect if arguments regarding bodily rights and fetal personhood were stronger, fewer pro-choice people would recoil so hard at what are otherwise basic and generally uncontroversial facts.
Of course, and as always, the fact that a human organism has a heartbeat doesn’t in itself establish moral worth. But it’s one thing to argue that the embryonic heart is irrelevant; it’s another to suggest it doesn’t exist. I’ll take my scientific education from an embryology book, not Etsy, thanks.

Post-publication update: I’ve seen so many stories now purporting to scientifically explain away the embryonic heart, I’m just going to start collecting them here:

Read more details about why these articles are misleading here.

When we say “heartbeat” we don’t mean “fetal pole cardiac activity.” We mean “heartbeat.”

Recently a FB follower shared this post to our page:

(Click to enlarge)
The text reads, in part:

This is what an embryo at 6 weeks looks like. There is no real heart beat because it’s heart isn’t nearly complete – they’re heart “vibrations” (vibrations are caused my cellular activity where the heart WILL be. Meaning, yes, the title of the “heartbeat bill” is misleading, purposely). There is no brain, meaning no pain receptors. It does not feel pain. This is what you’re stripping women’s right away for. I, your sisters, your mothers, aunts, friends – we all have beating hearts and brains. Our lives are more important than this. 

**Stop listening to pro life talking heads that use purposely emotional language to manipulate your view. They are not doctors or scientists.**

•This is not a “baby”. They use pictures of 6 month old babies to pull on your heart strings. This is an embryo. This is not “10 fingers, 10 toes” babbling cooing baby they’re trying to get you to imagine.

The post is certainly right that this image is not of a “baby.” The image is actually from Etsy, described as “Baby Memorial/Honor Sculpture.” The tiny figures pictured are clay sculptures which the seller says are “for those who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy during the first trimester and are searching for a tangible keepsake to honor their precious Angel.” The Etsy page includes reviews from mothers describing how much it means to them to have a way to mark their grief and loss. How ironic that the OP uses art specifically meant to help people value and mourn prenatal life to instead deride those very viewpoints–and all while claiming to be representing science. It’s kind of amazing.

Here’s an image of an embryo around 6 weeks post-fertilization (or 8 weeks LMP – after the beginning of the last menstrual period) courtesy of The Bump:

As the prenatal website explains, “You may have your first prenatal appointment right around now. At this visit an ultrasound may be performed to determine how far along you are. You may even hear—and see—baby’s heartbeat.”

The Bump’s use of the word “heartbeat” is representative of not only many prenatal websites but also descriptions medical professionals give pregnant women during routine prenatal care. Using “heartbeat” to describe embryonic activity at this stage is neither new nor unique to anti-abortion advocates.

Some pro-choice people argue that when medical professionals say “heartbeat” in these contexts, they’re just using layman’s language with their patients, just as an OBGYN might say “baby” when talking to a woman with a wanted pregnancy. That doesn’t make “baby” a medical or technical term.

But “heartbeat” is appropriate both for the layman and as a medical description. As The Developing Human by Moore et al (10th Edition, 2013) explains in “Chapter 13: Cardiovascular System”:

The cardiovascular system is the first major system to function in the embryo. The primordial heart and vascular system appear in the middle of the third week (Fig. 13-1). This precocious cardiac development occurs because the rapidly growing embryo can no longer satisfy its nutritional and oxygen requirements by diffusion alone. Consequently, there is a need for an efficient method of acquiring oxygen and nutrients from the maternal blood and disposing of carbon dioxide and waste products.

In other words the embryonic heart exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide even before it fully develops into the more complex heart we’re familiar with. Those insisting we say “fetal pole cardiac activity” instead of “heartbeat” or describing the embryonic heart as just “electrically induced flickering” or–more ridiculously–“vibrations” try to imply that the four chambered heart doesn’t happen until months later; that’s completely incorrect. Here’s a diagram from Moore et al of the heart at 35 days (approximately 5 weeks post-fertilization):

(Click to enlarge)

At this point the embryonic heart already has four chambers. It’s reductive to describe this development as no more than “pulsing cells.”

Additionally, by 4 weeks the embryo has three paired veins draining into the heart: vitelline veins return poorly oxygenated blood from the umbilical vessel, umbilical veins carry well-oxygenated blood from the chorionic sac, and cardinal veins return poorly oxygenated blood from the embryo’s body to the heart. Here is an illustration from figure 13-5 of Moore of the heart at 24 days postfertilization:

Here are the veins illustrated at 6 weeks:

This image is from Figure 13-4, the caption for which states, “Initially, three systems of veins are present: the umbilical veins from the chorion, vitelline veins from the umbilical vesicle, and cardinal veins from the body of the embryos.”


More from Moore:

  • “The heart begins to beat at 22 to 23 days (Fig. 13-2).”
  • “Blood flow begins during the fourth week, and heartbeats can be visualized by Doppler ultrasonography (Fig. 13-3).”
  • “The initial contractions of the heart are of myogenic origin (in or starting from muscle). … At first, circulation through the primordial heart is an ebb-and-flow type; however, by the end of the fourth week, coordinated contractions of the heart result in unidirectional flow.”
  • Partitioning of the AV canal, primordial atrium, ventricle, and outflow tract begins during the middle of the fourth week.”
By 6 weeks the heart is chambered and moving blood unidirectionally through coordinated contractions–that is, the heart is rhythmically pumping blood. Of course the heart has more development to do, but the pro-choice side is hand wavy at best to insist we can’t say “heartbeat”–and they are flatly wrong to say embryos don’t have hearts! Which side is anti-science, again? 
The embryonic heart is “a bunch of pulsing cells” in the exact same way the embryo herself is “a clump of cells”–in a way meant to downplay that abortion kills prenatal humans. It’s continually remarkable to me that the pro-choice side seems to badly need to obfuscate the humans abortion destroys. I suspect if arguments regarding bodily rights and fetal personhood were stronger, fewer pro-choice people would recoil so hard at what are otherwise basic and generally uncontroversial facts.
Of course, and as always, the fact that a human organism has a heartbeat doesn’t in itself establish moral worth. But it’s one thing to argue that the embryonic heart is irrelevant; it’s another to suggest it doesn’t exist. I’ll take my scientific education from an embryology book, not Etsy, thanks.

Post-publication update: I’ve seen so many stories now purporting to scientifically explain away the embryonic heart, I’m just going to start collecting them here:

Read more details about why these articles are misleading here.

We asked, you answered: why did you convert from being pro-choice to pro-life?

Original FB post here. At the time I started organizing these answers, there were about 200 comments.

Many people became pro-life because of their own pregnancy experiences:

Sasja: I was pro choice, and even against the gestation of embryos that showed signs of hereditary diseases or birth defects … And then I fell in love when I first saw the beating heart of my 12 weeks into development unborn child—at that time nothing more than a blinking lo-res pixel on the ultrasound screen.

Myles: Having our first child and thinking we were going to lose him at one point during the pregnancy. Made it crystal clear.

Cassie: I was raised by a feminist mom to be pro-choice. I believed it was a “blob of tissue” until I was pregnant with my first child. When they handed me all the info on prenatal care and my “growing baby” I was like, “Wait what?” I pretty much changed my mind right then and there though it probably took me 3 or 4 more years to talk about my change of mind with friends and family.

Mandy: Seeing my 12 week old baby miscarriage.

Rachael: Pregnancy changed my mind. I had an unplanned pregnancy and I just felt different after that. It is hard to explain.
Heather: I was rather uncommitted either way, just not a problem I had to consider. Until I miscarried at 5 weeks. That was a life. I felt real loss, real grief. And the pro-abortion side tells me it’s just a clump of cells. It wasn’t. It mattered. It had meaning. I know that now.
Shayla:

I found myself getting pressured into abortions with both my kids by people in the healthcare and mental health services industry. Later on, I was told that I should have not even had kids if I had an intellectual disability. On top of that, my boyfriend wanted me to abort.

I made two appointments with PP who were actually fair saying I have to really want it. I dreamed my baby was being attacked by a large snake. I had to protect and defend my baby as her mother! That’s when I knew I wasn’t going through with it.

Things actually worked out for us. Section 8 gave us a home. When things went south with my relationships, there were shelters, I had a legal advocate and counselors, we always had enough food. Later on, we got a new apartment and thrived. Point being things were never as bad as things were painted.

I want to advocate for other women going through this. I want them to know the Truth that someone dies during an abortion and someone could be saved and things can turn out even when things are at their worst when they choose life!

Kathleen:

I think when I was very young I didn’t give it much thought. Then gradually as Roe v. Wade was passed I thought more about it and my understanding of how the baby developed brought me to be pro-life. Lastly becoming a mom cemented it in me. Especially mother of a baby who died at 22/3 weeks gestation.

I still can’t reconcile how people can be sympathetic to that sort of loss and yet still think abortion is okay. Yet I know pro-choice folks who were very appropriate to me at that time and later when I lost three grandbabies. How do they say “I understand your loss is painful” but at the same time say it’s okay to take the life of a baby in the uterus? Is a baby at that stage valuable in one circumstance but not the other?

Rhonda: I was one that said I wouldn’t do it unless there was an extreme abnormality, but then our first pregnancy ended up being a partial molar pregnancy. Our baby died at 15 weeks and I had to deliver him. Watching my husband hold our fully formed baby and confirm his gender at this early stage did it for me. Doctors tried to comfort me with the fact that if he had survived he would have had severe problems. But to me the pain and emptiness I was feeling was worse than anything else I could imagine. It’s been 20 years and I still grieve that loss. And for people to dismiss his humanity cuts right through me.

Whitney: Incredibly, I used to be pro-choice even though I was given up for adoption as a baby. I thought it wasn’t my business what other women did with their bodies. Changing my mind was a process. It started with seeing my daughter on an ultrasound. I knew then that I could never have an abortion and that she was a living person. It took years to break down the mental walls, though, before I became fully pro-life.
Phoebe: I was more of like its not my business, but I was not gonna go out and fight for choice either. Then I carried a child, a child I almost lost. I spent a week in a NICU and saw babies smaller than my hand. That was my turning point. A few years later I realized if I was pro-life I also needed to stop supporting the death penalty. That’s my evolution.
Lesli: I was because I was ignorant of how babies developed and what the procedure was actually like. Once I became pregnant, learned about fetal development and found out they have a heartbeat so early on my entire outlook on it changed. Then I read about the procedures themselves and became disgusted that I ever supported it.

Alexis: I’ve had two unplanned pregnancies. One when I was 17. Abortion was thrown around by others around me, but that wasn’t an option. I was determined to raise that baby. Unfortunately she didn’t survive and her heart stopped at 16 weeks. My second unplanned pregnancy was when I was 21. I JUST started my career as a paramedic and was not in a committed relationship. I had been on birth control since 18. Once again abortion was thrown around by others, and once again I wouldn’t hear it. My beautiful daughter is now 8 years old; my husband and I (her father) have two more children together. We chose life with the odds stacked against us, and we are thriving. Not all stories are like mine. All these babies have a purpose and it is not right to kill them. Abortion is legalized genocide.

Karen: I was. I saw my child on ultrasound and realized she was a child. I expected to see a blob, not a baby sucking her thumb, at 20 weeks gestation. I knew then I’d been lied to and was furious.

For others it was their experiences with abortion itself (or abortion providers) that changed their minds:

Valerie: I was raised pro-life, but became pro-choice in adulthood. It wasn’t until the devastation of my own abortion that I realized those pro-lifers really knew what they were talking about.

Autumn: Working in an abortion clinic changed my mind. It took time.

Monique: I was pro-choice just not for me. Then I had an unexpected pregnancy and went to Planned Parenthood to confirm. They pushed me to not tell anyone and have an abortion. The more I resisted, the more aggressive they got. I literally had to run out of the office. She’s 7 now, I’m married to her dad, and just thinking about the possibility of not having our little family is crushing. Abortion hurts women and most are coerced into it.

Rachel: My best friend was 17 when she became pregnant. I went with her for the pregnancy test at PP. She was scared but wanted to keep the baby. Her parents and boyfriend pushed her to terminate. Our state had a mandatory ultrasound and 48-hour waiting period; she shared the ultrasound photo with me. It was not a clump of cells. We could see the head, the defined jaw and chin, a small arm. She wanted to refuse. Her parents sedated her and forced her to go in for the termination. She had a total breakdown. In the months that came she drank, did drugs, became self-destructive. She later killed herself. Every time I hear someone say “clump of cells” and “not human,” I think back to an ultrasound photo from 1996.

For some it was increased knowledge of biology:

Lauren: Me. #1 Science; recognizing that’s a human in the early part of the human life cycle and we shouldn’t kill humans. I can’t reason out of that fact.

Jackie: I’m liberal so being pro-choice came with the territory, but I’m also a professor and I’ve been teaching Anatomy & Physiology since 2002. When I started teaching an advanced Human Physiology class in 2008, something huge shifted inside of me. I can’t teach about the wonders of development and ignore the wonders of development. I’m also inherently a tree-hugger and can’t handle it when trees and animals are harmed and the cognitive dissonance started breaking.
Lori:

I was pro-choice for many years. I finally found it too exhausting trying to justify abortion while also supporting my values in science, equality, non-violence, and non-discrimination.

The science doesn’t lie. It’s a scientific fact of biology that life begins right after the fusion of the two cells, where our unique human genetic makeup now exists, with our own individual DNA.

Every pro-choice person (including me once) tries to say this may be what happens to the cells but it’s not “alive.” Which is ridiculous! I was that once. A zygote. We all were.
So if I wasn’t “alive” then, then how am I here now? That’s when I changed. I can’t deny the science.

No human should lose their only chance to experience this physical conscious life as we are enjoying, simply because we ignored the reproduction process that’s been happening for thousands of years, and don’t want to take responsibility for our actions.

Andrew: I used to think that it was nobody’s business. I was against abortion being funded publicly but if people wanted to pay for their abortion procedures I thought that was fine. But then I read about and started to think about when human life begins and biologically speaking it starts at conception and saying it begins somewhere after that is to impose your scientifically unfounded beliefs. And if that is a human life you cannot kill it just because it inconveniences you.

Some people changed their minds after talking to pro-lifers:


Karen: A discussion with a pro-life person outside a Planned Parenthood in Washington D.C. At the time, I was assisting PP with political strategies. And thought I was doing so as a strike against the Patriarchy. This woman challenged me to read what the first feminists had to say about abortion. That led to more reading and finally the scales fell from my eyes.

Mike: I was pro-choice because of the media. Eddie Vedder was my hero and I took a lot of my social justice beliefs from him. Once I met pro-life people and started having open discussions about it, I realized I had no foundation to why I believed the government should not be involved in a woman’s decision. Once you recognize a fetus as a human life, or even a potential human life, you can’t stay pro-choice very long.

Heidi: I read Abby Johnson’s book seven years ago. Completely changed my mind. I started educating myself and learning more about what abortion really was and how we can embrace life and protect it at its most vulnerable stage. How can we be a species that kills our young simply because it’s convenient?

Darinka: I thought I’d never do it, but I wouldn’t dictate the choice to someone else. But then a friend asked me a simple question. “Why would you never do it?” And when I thought about it, I realized that it’s for the same reasons nobody else should.
Kristin: I was pro-choice until a few years ago. A close pro-life family member was challenging my conscience with facts against abortion. I felt I had to strengthen my argument with facts too, so I went on a mission to educate myself with as much unbiased information as I could find. That journey led me to the truth, and the truth led me to becoming pro-life. I watched “The Silent Scream” and an interview with Dr. Levatino, and I was forever changed, and glad for it.

Abby: I started to change my mind when I held my own miscarried baby in my hands. I completely changed my mind when I read about Abby Johnson. If she could cross over to pro-life I could too and it didn’t make me a hypocrite.

Ellen: I was heavily indoctrinated into everything hard left, including radical support for abortion, coming of age in a large east coast city government school environment. I was also raised Catholic, while my catechesis was… Not great… So that probably planted the seeds of a consistent view on the dignity of human life. As a young adult, I decided I was personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice (I didn’t want to force my view on others). It was my then-boyfriend (now husband), who identified as atheist/agnostic at the time, who highlighted the logical inconsistency of my position; if I was against abortion personally, the fact that it was a human rights violation didn’t change depending on who was committing it. Over the next few years, I formed a highly consistent life ethic—all human life, regardless of circumstances, from conception through natural death.

And, maybe surprisingly, some changed their minds after talking to pro-choicers:
Stephen: I met other pro-choicers, heard their arguments, tried to research some of them, and ended up finding a good number of fallacies or terrible ethics. Sooner or later I adopted into my moral philosophy that all humans have an intrinsic value, and abortion under any circumstances is incompatible with that philosophy.

Shelby: I used to be pro-choice as I believe that if you get rid of it before it has a heartbeat it isn’t as bad. But what pushed me to just be pro-life is pro-choicers pushing for second and third trimester abortions. Acting like abortions are normal.

Cian: To an extent I still am pro-choice but what’s driving me out of that camp is seeing the enthusiasm and wanting to terminate and display it as something that should be celebrated.
Stephanie: I was always an “Abortion is murder but…” thinker but the left’s cultural shift from “Abortion is a necessary evil sometimes” to “celebrate your abortion” has prompted me to think “Abortion is murder.” Period. I cannot be on board with the celebration of the murder of the most innocent for convenience’s sake.
Katherine: Two things: (1) going to a sex week event in college and seeing pro-choice people misrepresent statistics. I thought “If we have the right argument, we shouldn’t need to lie and manipulate numbers.” (2) I shadowed in a hospital and went through pages and pages of women’s gynecological history, seeing that most of the women had at least one abortion. The prevalence was shocking. Then I came across a 24-year-old woman who had been pregnant ELEVEN times and had SEVEN abortions. THAT is the moment I completely switched to pro-life and realized abortion is completely abused and not “rare.”

See more stories about conversion on FB here. Also check out this Twitter thread by a pro-choice woman explaining how her friends and family’s experiences made her views on abortion “more cautious.”

We asked, you answered: why did you convert from being pro-choice to pro-life?

Original FB post here. At the time I started organizing these answers, there were about 200 comments.

Many people became pro-life because of their own pregnancy experiences:

Sasja: I was pro choice, and even against the gestation of embryos that showed signs of hereditary diseases or birth defects … And then I fell in love when I first saw the beating heart of my 12 weeks into development unborn child—at that time nothing more than a blinking lo-res pixel on the ultrasound screen.

Myles: Having our first child and thinking we were going to lose him at one point during the pregnancy. Made it crystal clear.

Cassie: I was raised by a feminist mom to be pro-choice. I believed it was a “blob of tissue” until I was pregnant with my first child. When they handed me all the info on prenatal care and my “growing baby” I was like, “Wait what?” I pretty much changed my mind right then and there though it probably took me 3 or 4 more years to talk about my change of mind with friends and family.

Mandy: Seeing my 12 week old baby miscarriage.

Rachael: Pregnancy changed my mind. I had an unplanned pregnancy and I just felt different after that. It is hard to explain.
Heather: I was rather uncommitted either way, just not a problem I had to consider. Until I miscarried at 5 weeks. That was a life. I felt real loss, real grief. And the pro-abortion side tells me it’s just a clump of cells. It wasn’t. It mattered. It had meaning. I know that now.
Shayla:

I found myself getting pressured into abortions with both my kids by people in the healthcare and mental health services industry. Later on, I was told that I should have not even had kids if I had an intellectual disability. On top of that, my boyfriend wanted me to abort.

I made two appointments with PP who were actually fair saying I have to really want it. I dreamed my baby was being attacked by a large snake. I had to protect and defend my baby as her mother! That’s when I knew I wasn’t going through with it.

Things actually worked out for us. Section 8 gave us a home. When things went south with my relationships, there were shelters, I had a legal advocate and counselors, we always had enough food. Later on, we got a new apartment and thrived. Point being things were never as bad as things were painted.

I want to advocate for other women going through this. I want them to know the Truth that someone dies during an abortion and someone could be saved and things can turn out even when things are at their worst when they choose life!

Kathleen:

I think when I was very young I didn’t give it much thought. Then gradually as Roe v. Wade was passed I thought more about it and my understanding of how the baby developed brought me to be pro-life. Lastly becoming a mom cemented it in me. Especially mother of a baby who died at 22/3 weeks gestation.

I still can’t reconcile how people can be sympathetic to that sort of loss and yet still think abortion is okay. Yet I know pro-choice folks who were very appropriate to me at that time and later when I lost three grandbabies. How do they say “I understand your loss is painful” but at the same time say it’s okay to take the life of a baby in the uterus? Is a baby at that stage valuable in one circumstance but not the other?

Rhonda: I was one that said I wouldn’t do it unless there was an extreme abnormality, but then our first pregnancy ended up being a partial molar pregnancy. Our baby died at 15 weeks and I had to deliver him. Watching my husband hold our fully formed baby and confirm his gender at this early stage did it for me. Doctors tried to comfort me with the fact that if he had survived he would have had severe problems. But to me the pain and emptiness I was feeling was worse than anything else I could imagine. It’s been 20 years and I still grieve that loss. And for people to dismiss his humanity cuts right through me.

Whitney: Incredibly, I used to be pro-choice even though I was given up for adoption as a baby. I thought it wasn’t my business what other women did with their bodies. Changing my mind was a process. It started with seeing my daughter on an ultrasound. I knew then that I could never have an abortion and that she was a living person. It took years to break down the mental walls, though, before I became fully pro-life.
Phoebe: I was more of like its not my business, but I was not gonna go out and fight for choice either. Then I carried a child, a child I almost lost. I spent a week in a NICU and saw babies smaller than my hand. That was my turning point. A few years later I realized if I was pro-life I also needed to stop supporting the death penalty. That’s my evolution.
Lesli: I was because I was ignorant of how babies developed and what the procedure was actually like. Once I became pregnant, learned about fetal development and found out they have a heartbeat so early on my entire outlook on it changed. Then I read about the procedures themselves and became disgusted that I ever supported it.

Alexis: I’ve had two unplanned pregnancies. One when I was 17. Abortion was thrown around by others around me, but that wasn’t an option. I was determined to raise that baby. Unfortunately she didn’t survive and her heart stopped at 16 weeks. My second unplanned pregnancy was when I was 21. I JUST started my career as a paramedic and was not in a committed relationship. I had been on birth control since 18. Once again abortion was thrown around by others, and once again I wouldn’t hear it. My beautiful daughter is now 8 years old; my husband and I (her father) have two more children together. We chose life with the odds stacked against us, and we are thriving. Not all stories are like mine. All these babies have a purpose and it is not right to kill them. Abortion is legalized genocide.

Karen: I was. I saw my child on ultrasound and realized she was a child. I expected to see a blob, not a baby sucking her thumb, at 20 weeks gestation. I knew then I’d been lied to and was furious.

For others it was their experiences with abortion itself (or abortion providers) that changed their minds:

Valerie: I was raised pro-life, but became pro-choice in adulthood. It wasn’t until the devastation of my own abortion that I realized those pro-lifers really knew what they were talking about.

Autumn: Working in an abortion clinic changed my mind. It took time.

Monique: I was pro-choice just not for me. Then I had an unexpected pregnancy and went to Planned Parenthood to confirm. They pushed me to not tell anyone and have an abortion. The more I resisted, the more aggressive they got. I literally had to run out of the office. She’s 7 now, I’m married to her dad, and just thinking about the possibility of not having our little family is crushing. Abortion hurts women and most are coerced into it.

Rachel: My best friend was 17 when she became pregnant. I went with her for the pregnancy test at PP. She was scared but wanted to keep the baby. Her parents and boyfriend pushed her to terminate. Our state had a mandatory ultrasound and 48-hour waiting period; she shared the ultrasound photo with me. It was not a clump of cells. We could see the head, the defined jaw and chin, a small arm. She wanted to refuse. Her parents sedated her and forced her to go in for the termination. She had a total breakdown. In the months that came she drank, did drugs, became self-destructive. She later killed herself. Every time I hear someone say “clump of cells” and “not human,” I think back to an ultrasound photo from 1996.

For some it was increased knowledge of biology:

Lauren: Me. #1 Science; recognizing that’s a human in the early part of the human life cycle and we shouldn’t kill humans. I can’t reason out of that fact.

Jackie: I’m liberal so being pro-choice came with the territory, but I’m also a professor and I’ve been teaching Anatomy & Physiology since 2002. When I started teaching an advanced Human Physiology class in 2008, something huge shifted inside of me. I can’t teach about the wonders of development and ignore the wonders of development. I’m also inherently a tree-hugger and can’t handle it when trees and animals are harmed and the cognitive dissonance started breaking.
Lori:

I was pro-choice for many years. I finally found it too exhausting trying to justify abortion while also supporting my values in science, equality, non-violence, and non-discrimination.

The science doesn’t lie. It’s a scientific fact of biology that life begins right after the fusion of the two cells, where our unique human genetic makeup now exists, with our own individual DNA.

Every pro-choice person (including me once) tries to say this may be what happens to the cells but it’s not “alive.” Which is ridiculous! I was that once. A zygote. We all were.
So if I wasn’t “alive” then, then how am I here now? That’s when I changed. I can’t deny the science.

No human should lose their only chance to experience this physical conscious life as we are enjoying, simply because we ignored the reproduction process that’s been happening for thousands of years, and don’t want to take responsibility for our actions.

Andrew: I used to think that it was nobody’s business. I was against abortion being funded publicly but if people wanted to pay for their abortion procedures I thought that was fine. But then I read about and started to think about when human life begins and biologically speaking it starts at conception and saying it begins somewhere after that is to impose your scientifically unfounded beliefs. And if that is a human life you cannot kill it just because it inconveniences you.

Some people changed their minds after talking to pro-lifers:


Karen: A discussion with a pro-life person outside a Planned Parenthood in Washington D.C. At the time, I was assisting PP with political strategies. And thought I was doing so as a strike against the Patriarchy. This woman challenged me to read what the first feminists had to say about abortion. That led to more reading and finally the scales fell from my eyes.

Mike: I was pro-choice because of the media. Eddie Vedder was my hero and I took a lot of my social justice beliefs from him. Once I met pro-life people and started having open discussions about it, I realized I had no foundation to why I believed the government should not be involved in a woman’s decision. Once you recognize a fetus as a human life, or even a potential human life, you can’t stay pro-choice very long.

Heidi: I read Abby Johnson’s book seven years ago. Completely changed my mind. I started educating myself and learning more about what abortion really was and how we can embrace life and protect it at its most vulnerable stage. How can we be a species that kills our young simply because it’s convenient?

Darinka: I thought I’d never do it, but I wouldn’t dictate the choice to someone else. But then a friend asked me a simple question. “Why would you never do it?” And when I thought about it, I realized that it’s for the same reasons nobody else should.
Kristin: I was pro-choice until a few years ago. A close pro-life family member was challenging my conscience with facts against abortion. I felt I had to strengthen my argument with facts too, so I went on a mission to educate myself with as much unbiased information as I could find. That journey led me to the truth, and the truth led me to becoming pro-life. I watched “The Silent Scream” and an interview with Dr. Levatino, and I was forever changed, and glad for it.

Abby: I started to change my mind when I held my own miscarried baby in my hands. I completely changed my mind when I read about Abby Johnson. If she could cross over to pro-life I could too and it didn’t make me a hypocrite.

Ellen: I was heavily indoctrinated into everything hard left, including radical support for abortion, coming of age in a large east coast city government school environment. I was also raised Catholic, while my catechesis was… Not great… So that probably planted the seeds of a consistent view on the dignity of human life. As a young adult, I decided I was personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice (I didn’t want to force my view on others). It was my then-boyfriend (now husband), who identified as atheist/agnostic at the time, who highlighted the logical inconsistency of my position; if I was against abortion personally, the fact that it was a human rights violation didn’t change depending on who was committing it. Over the next few years, I formed a highly consistent life ethic—all human life, regardless of circumstances, from conception through natural death.

And, maybe surprisingly, some changed their minds after talking to pro-choicers:
Stephen: I met other pro-choicers, heard their arguments, tried to research some of them, and ended up finding a good number of fallacies or terrible ethics. Sooner or later I adopted into my moral philosophy that all humans have an intrinsic value, and abortion under any circumstances is incompatible with that philosophy.

Shelby: I used to be pro-choice as I believe that if you get rid of it before it has a heartbeat it isn’t as bad. But what pushed me to just be pro-life is pro-choicers pushing for second and third trimester abortions. Acting like abortions are normal.

Cian: To an extent I still am pro-choice but what’s driving me out of that camp is seeing the enthusiasm and wanting to terminate and display it as something that should be celebrated.
Stephanie: I was always an “Abortion is murder but…” thinker but the left’s cultural shift from “Abortion is a necessary evil sometimes” to “celebrate your abortion” has prompted me to think “Abortion is murder.” Period. I cannot be on board with the celebration of the murder of the most innocent for convenience’s sake.
Katherine: Two things: (1) going to a sex week event in college and seeing pro-choice people misrepresent statistics. I thought “If we have the right argument, we shouldn’t need to lie and manipulate numbers.” (2) I shadowed in a hospital and went through pages and pages of women’s gynecological history, seeing that most of the women had at least one abortion. The prevalence was shocking. Then I came across a 24-year-old woman who had been pregnant ELEVEN times and had SEVEN abortions. THAT is the moment I completely switched to pro-life and realized abortion is completely abused and not “rare.”

See more stories about conversion on FB here. Also check out this Twitter thread by a pro-choice woman explaining how her friends and family’s experiences made her views on abortion “more cautious.”

Nearly half of all fertilized eggs fail to implant.

The human zygote is
the first developmental stage of a human organism’s life cycle. Sometimes when
I state this fact, people respond by pointing out that many zygotes never
implant. Bill Nye made the same point in his video on abortion rights:

Many many many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans. Eggs get fertilized—by that I mean sperm get accepted by ova—a lot. But that’s not all you need. You have to attach to the uterine wall, the inside of a womb.

It’s true that a
large proportion—possibly even up to half—of zygotes never implant and instead
pass through the woman and die. I’m just not sure why people think this fact undermines the claim that human zygotes are human organisms. We don’t decide
whether an entity is an organism based on how easily that entity dies. Consider the fact
that as recently as the 1800s over 40% of children between birth and age 5 died. Despite their high mortality rate, those children were clearly still human organisms.

Consider also that
very elderly people die more easily than younger people. If we plotted the
human life cycle against our survival rates, it might look something like this
(this is not an official graph, just a rough drawing to illustrate the point):

There are developmental stages when human organisms have lower survival rates. That’s true. I’m just not sure what it has to do with whether those entities are human organisms. Elderly people, very young children, and zygotes all die more easily than people my age, and they are all still human organisms.

Nearly half of all fertilized eggs fail to implant.

The human zygote is
the first developmental stage of a human organism’s life cycle. Sometimes when
I state this fact, people respond by pointing out that many zygotes never
implant. Bill Nye made the same point in his video on abortion rights:

Many many many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans. Eggs get fertilized—by that I mean sperm get accepted by ova—a lot. But that’s not all you need. You have to attach to the uterine wall, the inside of a womb.

It’s true that a
large proportion—possibly even up to half—of zygotes never implant and instead
pass through the woman and die. I’m just not sure why people think this fact undermines the claim that human zygotes are human organisms. We don’t decide
whether an entity is an organism based on how easily that entity dies. Consider the fact
that as recently as the 1800s over 40% of children between birth and age 5 died. Despite their high mortality rate, those children were clearly still human organisms.

Consider also that
very elderly people die more easily than younger people. If we plotted the
human life cycle against our survival rates, it might look something like this
(this is not an official graph, just a rough drawing to illustrate the point):

There are developmental stages when human organisms have lower survival rates. That’s true. I’m just not sure what it has to do with whether those entities are human organisms. Elderly people, very young children, and zygotes all die more easily than people my age, and they are all still human organisms.

Jake and Amanda’s Story: A Terrifying Diagnosis

I don’t think any man is prepared for hearing that a pregnancy he helped create may be the cause of death for the mother of his child. I know the father of my child wasn’t prepared to hear that, but he did nonetheless. In his words: “You hear people say a person could die having a baby, but we don’t really think about what that looks like. It’s so different than say a person having cancer because we see that and know what it looks like. People just don’t talk about what it’s like when you’re told you’re gonna die having a baby.” I wanted to present our story from his perspective because men are often overlooked in maternal issues.

Mine and Jake’s relationship began in July 2016. We hit it off immediately and felt there was something solid about the connection we had. Jake had no children and I had 3. I told him immediately that I didn’t want more kids and in fact wasn’t able medically to become pregnant. He said he was okay with loving the children I had, so we continued our budding romance. However, in August 2016 we discovered the doctors had been wrong and that I could become pregnant because I was definitely pregnant.

We were in disbelief and although he was shocked and scared, he handled it with grace. He was excited despite the fact we’d only been together a month. Unfortunately we both knew that with my medical history, our pregnancy would be difficult and statistically the odds were in favor of miscarriage. I’d had a uterine ablation a few years back and that makes conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy exceptionally difficult. We miscarried at 6 weeks… but at 12 weeks found out we were still pregnant. We had lost a twin.

It was then that my doctor presented us with the scary statistics of my pregnancy and that if I continued with it, my fatality was the overwhelming outcome. We chose to continue the pregnancy. Jake was angry when we were told to terminate, and scared for the implications of not terminating, but he supported my decision.

At 26 weeks I had a massive hemorrhage and was admitted to the hospital. We lived over an hour away from the hospital so he and I moved into a hospital room together. He got up each day, went to work and came “home” to me and did everything in his power to keep our lives normal. I can’t imagine how difficult those days were for him but he says they weren’t hard, it was just our life. It’s funny how you can adjust to anything as long as you’re with the one you love.

We had to stay in the hospital until my delivery, which was set for 33 weeks. The days leading up to my delivery were hard for Jake. This was his first and only child, but due to my medical issues I’d have to be under general anesthesia for delivery which meant he couldn’t be in the room when our daughter was born. He would have to wait until she was stabilized to see her because of her prematurity, and he’d have to meet her without me because I’d still be in surgery.

On March 8, we were scheduled for delivery. Both of us were scared and anxious. Our main concern was would our daughter be okay? Would she have complications? It’s so hard to be excited when your whole pregnancy has been doom and gloom. But we held fast to the belief that our daughter was a fighter and that she would be okay.

At 1:45 that day, Sadie Kayte Holliday entered the world weighing 5 lbs and was 17 inches long. She was every bit the fighter we knew she would be and came off intubation within the first hour of her birth. Jake only knew she had been born via a phone call to the waiting room from a nurse. He didn’t get to meet her for several hours. It was only upon him getting to meet our daughter that he learned things were seriously wrong with me.

I was still in surgery, he was told. He knew I should have been out by now and that something was wrong. Later that evening my doctors met with Jake and my family and told them they’d done all they could do but it wasn’t enough. I had bled out several times during surgery and they couldn’t find or stop the bleeding. My body had had enough, so they packed my incision and stapled me up and put me on life support until they could come up with a new plan.

Jake finally got to see me in ICU around 11pm that night. He says seeing me like that was the hardest part. He held my hand, cried, and prayed for me to live. He thought about how life would be raising Sadie without me. He never left my side and slept with his head on my damaged body.

The next day I was operated on again. The doctors successfully found and fixed the arteries that had been damaged. I’ll never forget the look of relief on Jake’s face or our hug through his tears when I saw him after surgery in ICU.

We are about to celebrate our daughter’s first birthday. We are now married. Our experience shaped our relationship in so many ways. We grew together and became so strong. We could have so easily said we haven’t been together long enough to have a baby, or the doctors know best, but we didn’t. We chose to fight together instead of doing what was convenient, and I am grateful for that every day.


[Today’s guest post by Amanda Solomon is part of our paid blogging program. She is Vice President of Life Defenders.]