So…I’m pregnant. I’m 21, single, a senior in college, and yes, I’m that girl. It happened on my 21st birthday. Most people get to have a few too many drinks, and possibly a bad headache the next day for their 21st birthday. My experience was a little different. I was that girl that got way too drunk, that girl that was insecure, that girl that had a random hookup, that girl that couldn’t say no, that girl that got pregnant.
It should be understood that one drunken hook-up did not change my life. The devil had been working through the details for years leading up to this. He had been working the day I had my first illegal drink of alcohol. He was there when I lost my virginity to a guy I hardly knew. He was there when I lost all self-respect and repeatedly got drunk and acted promiscuously. He was there when I searched for guy after guy for security. The devil was there the day after all those miserable hookups, feeding the thoughts of unworthiness and self-hate into my head. The devil was working the whole time. It’s no surprise that on my 21st birthday, I got drunk “justifiably” because it was my birthday, and had sex with some guy. It was no surprise at all; in fact the devil had this in the works for many years.
Fortunately, God was working this whole time too.
The day I saw those two lines indicating a positive result, my whole world completely turned upside down. I was living every young girl’s worst nightmare. I was pregnant. At the time I found out I was pregnant, I was single, alone, and afraid. I literally felt I had no one to turn to. The weight of my own embarrassment, shame, self-hatred, and loss of self-worth was too much to bear and I never told a single soul I was pregnant and scheduled an abortion even though I knew to my very core it was wrong. The devil works when we are alone, and that’s exactly what I was—alone. Inside I was desperately screaming “Who could possibly love me?” There was no way I could tell anyone. I was afraid. I was afraid no one would love me if they knew that I had gotten pregnant. Being raised Catholic all of my life I was well versed in Church teaching on abortion. I knew that every aspect of it was wrong; it was emotionally, scientifically, theologically, spiritually, and fundamentally wrong—yet I was still going to do it.
However, God loved me too much to let me off the hook. The days leading up to my abortion, I would attend Mass. I would sit in the very back, by myself, head down the entire time. I would shamefully watch other people receive the Eucharist as I sat there, unworthy of it. The weekend right before my scheduled abortion God pierced my soul with His unconditional, perfect love. It was as if all the readings and the homily were directed specifically at me. That day at mass I learned about God’s infinite mercy and forgiveness. I had obviously known intellectually about forgiveness and mercy, but that day was different. That day, God gave me the grace to feel His presence and his mercy and forgiveness in my heart. For the first time I knew with every ounce of my being that God DID love me as much as he loved the little life inside of me. For the first time in over a month of depression and turmoil and shame, I felt loved—in the midst of my brokenness. I realized that God gifted me not only with my life, but also entrusted to me the life growing inside me. In that moment I felt overwhelming peace and the courage to offer my life back to God as a gift and do His will, no matter how scared I was. By the grace of God alone, I cancelled my abortion.
That day changed me forever. I know His love is real; He has confirmed it to me time and time again. God confirmed His love for me when I finally built up the courage to tell my parents I was pregnant; my parents never condemned me, but instead embraced me and loved me and supported me. God confirmed His love for me when I finally went to confession and the priest praised me for my choice of life and gave me the grace to forgive myself. God confirmed His love for me when I told my friends and they not once judged me, but loved me and affirmed me of my worth. God confirmed His love for me when my doctor never questioned my age or why I didn’t have a husband and instead rejoiced in the development of the baby inside me. God confirmed His love for me every day at Mass when I witness His sacrifice for me, so that I, a broken girl, could be forgiven and come to know Him.
I am now proud to say I am 39 weeks pregnant with a beautiful little girl. Any day I will get to hold this beautiful gift of life. I am proud to say that I have given my life back to God as a witness to life as I am one of the few, if not only pregnant girl attending a secular university. I also have a new found passion for helping the broken women found in an unplanned pregnancy as a volunteer advisor at our local Pregnancy Resource Center. Finally, I share my story with anyone and everyone, with just the small hope that another broken person can feel loved and know his/her life is truly a gift and that they are valued as a child of God. Life truly is a precious gift, and I’m so blessed that God gave me the grace to understand that, even in the midst of brokenness.
Update: I’m That Girl Who Chose Life
(Used with permission from FOCUS)
Raquel Karo. I am able to love only because God loved me first. I’ve made my share of mistakes and experienced brokenness, but when you let God in, he makes all things beautiful. I love reading, bonfires, s’mores, basketball, and rocking babies to sleep. I have also started a blog: Story of a Rose. Twitter: @RaquelroseKato