Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How choosing life saved an entire family

Dear friends,

Today I would like to tell you the story of one woman, one family, and one decision that made a difference between life and death.

When my grandmother discovered she was pregnant with my mother, sometime in 1948, she didn't want another child. There were already two children in the family, a boy and a girl, and times were tough. We're speaking post-war USSR. She didn't want to have the child, but here my grandfather put his foot down. Abortions were illegal and unsafe, and he would rather have another child and be a little strained financially than risk becoming a widower with two orphans on his hands.

The family grew. In due course, my mother came into the world. But the full impact of this one life wasn't discovered until many years later. This child - the unplanned one - was the only one my grandmother didn't outlive. My mother was the one who took care of Grandma when she was no longer able to take care of herself; thanks to her last child, she was not alone, and was able to spend her last years at home, rather than in an institution. 

Also, though my grandmother had four grandchildren, I - the only child of her youngest child - was the only one she had seen married, and my children were (and so far, still are) her only great-grandchildren. Of my three cousins, one had sadly passed away at a relatively young age, and the remaining two are completely detached from their Judaism. So it seems that the family, as a Jewish family, only continues through my mother and me. 

Now fast forward to today, when abortion does not come with the same risk for the woman as some decades ago and some continents away. Yes, abortions can still be very dangerous - and their risk is often downplayed in the name of "free choice" - but overall, the woman's chance to live through one and remain healthy is much higher. I do not speak of the emotional scars, of course, and of the lifelong regret of having taken one's own child's life for reasons that (statistically) most often have to do with money, timing and convenience. Today, the husband of a poor family is far less likely to stop his wife from having an abortion because he is genuinely afraid to lose her. 

Today, abortions are legal, accessible, and (at least physically) much safer than they used to be. And our lives and our society are a train wreck. 

I wonder if a woman considering abortion could glimpse into the future, and know that this child - the one she is now carrying - is the only one she will ever have, or the only one she will have left, would she still have an abortion? Somehow, I think 99% would have the baby. 

Of course this isn't the only, or even the main, reason not to have an abortion. It is simply wrong to take the life of a defenseless and innocent human being. But many abortion advocates would like to show how there's a clash between the woman's good and her baby's right to live. There is not. 

You never know. This baby could make the difference between all the joy, or no joy at all, in your life. The difference between having a family, or dying a lonely woman. The difference between getting to go to your granddaughter's wedding, or knowing your family line is at an end. The difference between satisfaction and regret. The difference of knowing you did the right thing, no matter how hard it was. 

The Efrat organization helps Jewish women who are considering abortion because of financial difficulties or societal pressure. You won't believe how many there are. You won't believe how many precious children are lost because of temporary difficulties. Circumstances change, money comes and goes, but the value of a child's life is eternal. 

15 comments:

Becky said...

Beautifully said!

My mom and dad weren't married when my mom got pregnant with me. My mom was 19 years old and there were friends/family who recommended she get an abortion. I'm so thankful she didn't! My parents ended up getting married and had me and then my 4 younger brothers. Their 4th grandchild is arriving this summer! That's a lot of people who are happy to be alive!!! :)

BettySue said...

Amen, Anna.
I know one woman who got pregnant out of wedlock whose entire family told her she HAD to abort. She absolutely refused. This child ended up being the only one in her life she could carry to term. Today, because she chose life, she is having the time of her life with her great-grand-kids! I have known other women who had abortions and have regretted it deeply. The two women I know whose parents forced abortion on them, are today very mentally ill. Choosing life is really best for everyone including mom.

Carolyn said...


This is such an interesting and heart touching story...thank you for sharing. When pregnant with my third child, my doctor suggested an abortion because he felt that the baby and I would not both make it through. As a Christian couple my husband and I prayed for God's answer and we both felt a sense of peace to continue the pregnancy. Turned out to be my easiest pregnancy and easiest birth. That baby is now 39 years old and such a valued member of our family. He is married to a delightful woman and they have 3 young children.This was the right dicision for us. Blessings Carolyn














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Jo said...

Abortion is tragic and but a whilst telling a mother she shouldn't have an abortion, we need to extend our care (and love) to looking after mother and child once born. We do not want neglected and abused children who no one wants. Sadly, many governments have poor welfare systems that allow mothers and children to slide into poverty all too quickly. Sadly, the church does very little to help parents in the long term when it comes to raising children. Sadly many extended families are crumbling and single mothers have no-one to turn to. And sadly, those who fight abortion do not do much after the baby is born. Whilst abortion is abhorrent - we need to do far more to help those mothers than just saying "you must not have an abortion". We need to be there for the long term and that takes a lot of effort, money and dedication.

As women, we need to reach out and help those mothers in need as it may make a difference between her choosing death or life. Whilst the baby's life is precious, so is the mothers and we need to take as much care for her as her baby. This is often forgotten in the fight to stop abortion

Anonymous said...

similar story to mine...my Grandmother took my mom to have me aborted 56 years ago...but she was too far along, as it turns out , I was the grandchild who cared for or about her in her last years of life. She had 7 other grandchildren only one of which was speaking to her at the end.This happens so often but we rarely hear these stories.

Miriam said...

My husband's mother had a very severe diabetes from an early age. When she became pregnant, the doctors wanted to make an abortion. She declined sharply, even though she knew there was a life risk for both of them. My husband's parents were not married at that time, and that fact gave to the doctors the right to abort by force. They got married in order to avoid it, in the hospital. She was lying in her bed. My husband was born 2 months too early. Everything went as well as possible in those circumstances. It was some kind of medical miracle of that time. My husband's mother died from diabetes when he was 7.

You never know.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Jo, doubtless the sanctity of life extends beyond just making sure the baby is born. Mothers do need support. I had grown up with my grandmother at home, so it was a two-adult, not one-adult household (though my mother never married). I honestly don't know how my Mom would have coped if we didn't have Grandma to do the babysitting, cooking, and much of the housecare, until she was too old to do that.

Mrs. Anna T said...

Miriam, I'm in shock. Forced abortion?! Was this in Finland? Sounds like some totalitarian regime's practice.

Miriam said...

Yes, in Finland and in the 60's. I don't know all the details, but since she was seriously ill and not married, they were worried about her life and there were officially no one to take care of the baby... I think at that time the age of a major was 24 and she was 19... I don't know...

Mrs. Anna T said...

Well, at any rate I'm sure you feel lucky that your husband had beaten the odds and came into this world anyway!

Joanna said...

Love, love, love this. So beautiful. We so often believe that we are smarter than our Creator, but it's never the case. ;-)

Miriam said...

I surely am! :-)

I counted her age wrong, she was 22, but anyway...

Another shocking thing is that in Finland a girl aged 12 and up can have an abortion without her parents knowing!

Rose Godfrey said...

Beautifully written.

Lena said...

I like this story! How true it is. You never know if the unwanted child will be the great man of God, or a beautiful woman who bless many more people. I read the book about John Wesley mother, who gave birth to 19 children, no all survived, but 2 of them became very famous. Charles and John Wesley.

Anonymous said...

We never hear stories like this and we never hear the stories of women's lives after they've chosen abortion. If we did, we'd know that this is more than a "choice" and that an unborn child is so much more than an "inconvenience". Yes, we need to reach out and help those who choose to allow their children to live. We must be supportive, loving and non-judgmental. The first step in doing so is coming to understand, believe in and fight for the sanctity of life.