By Maura Preszler
I strongly disliked being pregnant with my son Pio, who is now nine months old. I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is severe morning sickness (I referred to it as all day sickness) and vomiting, along with a return of serious depression. It took me a while to admit how much I struggled being pregnant with Pio. I was ashamed of how I felt. After all, isn’t a woman suppose to just love everything about pregnancy and always be rejoicing and thankful for the new life within her? Isn’t she supposed to just glow with happiness?
What happens if you don’t glow? Because I never got the glow. Trust me, I waited for it but it never came. Just more nausea and vomiting. And there was nothing glowing about that.
To read more about my struggle with depression during pregnancy, click HERE.
Those nine months changed my perspective on abortion and taught me to have greater compassion for pregnant mothers, especially those who are struggling.
Now before I get a hundred emails about that statement, please finish reading the remainder of the article.
When I was younger I learned that life began at conception and I believed it simply because it’s what I was taught. Today I believe an unborn child is a human being through the gift of faith and also through the lens of science. Even if a person was to take faith and religion out of the equation, it can still be proven through science that an unborn child’s life begins at conception. I am vehemently opposed to abortion, but that isn’t what this article is about.
Countless articles have been circulating the internet over the past week about women’s rights, marches, feminism and abortion. While the articles on being pro-life are correct, we aren’t reaching the hearts of the mothers who are the ones with the unborn children in their wombs. And if we aren’t doing this we are missing the point.
I’ll be brutally honest with you, I’ve always desired to be a mother and was elated when I found out I was pregnant with my son Pio. But the days, weeks and months that followed were exceedingly difficult and I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have the gift of faith and know with all certainty that Pio was a human being. I also don’t know how I would have managed without my husband. I did work during my pregnancy but couldn’t work a normal 9-5 job, there simply aren’t enough coffee breaks each day for how many times I hung my head over the toilet. I couldn’t have supported myself without my husband, Michael. But even more than financial support I wouldn’t have made it through without his emotional support, compassion, understanding, love and kindness. I was extremely blessed to have him beside me during that session of life and still am.
My difficult pregnancy made me ponder, how do women do this alone? What if they truly don’t believe the tiny bunch of cells within their womb is a human being? What if they think abortion is their only option? What if they can’t keep down a job, yet have no savings or family nearby? What if they have other children they need to support but can’t keep missing work? What if they aren’t married or the father ran off?
Questions like these made me more compassionate towards women who have had abortions and women who are faced with that decision. It made me see how selfish I am and how I simply talk about being pro-life instead of actually stretching myself to give to a mother in need and her unborn baby.
I can say the following with certainty. If I didn’t believe that my son was a human being and in my darkest moment of pregnancy if someone had said to me, “But you have a life within you–isn’t that just wonderful?” Or if I read some Facebook quote about being pro-life, etc.–I would have said, “What the hell are they saying? They have no idea how hard this is! Back off and keep your comments to yourself!”
We need to be showing these mothers their dignity and worth through our actions, not just our words. Because the truth is, abortion will never end unless mothers’ hearts change. Even if abortion was illegal, mothers would still find a way unless their hearts are touched, healed, and restored.
How different would our world be if all the pro-life people picked a mother in distress to serve, instead of just posting “abortion is murder” things to Facebook. I think we seriously need to ask ourselves, how are we serving pregnant mothers who are struggling, those faced with an unplanned pregnancy and those who get very sick while pregnant? Are we just posting articles, quotes, statistics and pictures on social media about being pro-life or are we actually getting out of our comfort zone and serving others? Are we stretching ourselves in service or just sipping our coffee while liking pro-life quotes on Instagram?
Ways to serve:
- Make a meal for a pregnant mother.
- Go to the store for her.
- Offer to come over for a few hours and clean her house or apartment.
- Run errands for her.
- Take her to the doctor (some women are so sick when they are pregnant, they can’t drive).
- Take her out for the afternoon or evening and spend time with her.
- Listen to how she is feeling and just be there for her.
- Babysit if she has other children.
- Be a friend who listens.
- Financial support if she needs it.
- Support a family trying to adopt.
How many times have I missed Him? You miss Him when you question who’s needy enough to give to, who warrants the risk. He comes as the homeless guy, the refugee, the child drinking filthy water – and you get to decide. Are you going to fill your life with more stuff, more safety, or more God? What the world says is weak and small may be where Christ is offering Himself to you most of all – and why do we want to be big people when God shows up as the little people nobody’s got time for? You miss Jesus when you aren’t looking for His two disguises: the smallest and the servant.
“The mystery of ministry is that the Lord is to be found where we minister,” writes Henri Nouwen. “That is what Jesus tells us when He says: ‘Insofar as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me’ (Matthew 25:40). Our care for people thus becomes the way to meet the Lord. The more we give, support, guide, counsel and visit, the more we receive, not just similar gifts, but the Lord Himself. To go to the poor is to go to the Lord.” – Ann Voskamp (The Broken Way)
P.S. You are enough.