Pregnant Before Marriage

By Francesca Swanson

When I was a young girl, some of my most vivid memories are going to the local abortion clinic with my family every Friday to pray. From a very young age, I knew what happened there: moms who didn’t want to be pregnant had their babies killed and taken out of them.

I remember watching girls going in and out. Sometimes alone, sometimes with someone bringing them. Some were upset, some determined. Some turned around when we called to them. Most didn’t.

The one I remember most vividly was a young girl in a blue sweater who was dropped off by a man. Some abortion workers ran out and grabbed her arm, forcing her inside while sidewalk counselors called to her, “Mama, don’t kill your baby!” She tried to turn around but was roughly pushed in the doors. 

I remember feeling crushed every time someone went inside. As a young girl, I would have nightmares about killed babies and angry people who shouted at us from the clinic. I didn’t understand how moms could have an abortion.

Fast forward to a year ago. I was 21 years old. My job was just starting to really take off. I was in a good relationship with a great man. We knew what we were doing was wrong and we agreed to recommit to waiting until we were married. And then…

3 weeks later, we were praying for my period to come. 

4 weeks later we had a positive pregnancy test. 

6 weeks later, I prayed for a miscarriage. How could we have a child now? What would people say? 

8 weeks later, I saw the film “Unplanned” and watched as a baby as old as mine was ripped apart by abortion. I was struck by how real my baby was. How human. 

14 weeks later, we went to the local pregnancy care center and saw our baby on the ultrasound screen for the first time. We cried as we saw a little heart beat. We prayed with the counselor and talked through how we would tell our families. 

16 weeks later, I asked my mom to meet me for lunch and showed her photos of her unborn grandbaby. She cried tears of joy.

18 weeks later, I told the rest of my family and his family. Each person we told responded with love and compassion. 

20 weeks, overwhelmed with planning a wedding and the thought of having a child at 22 years old, I debated running and putting my baby up for adoption. But my fiance said he wanted our baby and I found the courage to keep going.

24 weeks later, we got married.

41 weeks later, our daughter was born and the stress, anxiety, shame and fear of the last 10 months were eclipsed by this tiny girl who was part me, part him, but fully herself. 

She has already changed our lives and we didn’t know we could love a little person like we love her. 

However, I am not at all oblivious to how my story could have a very different outcome had I not had the support and love of my partner and family. I understand more than ever how the stress and anxiety of an unplanned pregnancy could lead a woman to tell herself that her child isn’t a human yet and to have an abortion. It would be so easy to secretly get rid of the consequences of her actions and never speak of it again; to be dropped off by an unsupportive partner and be rushed into the arms of angry people telling her that she will not be successful in life unless she ended her child’s life. 

I understand that nobody would have to know.

I also understand that my daughter is the greatest gift and our lives are so much better with her. She is exactly what my husband and I needed. She has saved us from a life of mediocrity. Because of her, we were forced to grow up and make decisions that would have been pushed off for years. At an age where most of our peers are out partying at night with no reason to stay in, we are home raising a child and our time out looks like grocery runs and visits to our family.

And it is so much more rewarding than all the personal freedom in the world. What is the point of life anyway if you don’t give it away? 

I believe that even though she was unplanned, God wanted my daughter here at this time in history.

Just like the child of the girl in the blue sweater was wanted here. 

He provides every step of the way and these kids, planned or otherwise, really do change the world.

If you’re pregnant and in need of help, call 1 (800) 848-LOVE at any time.

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