A few weeks ago when I was dropping my 4-year-old off at preschool, Trevor’s mom was dropping him off at the same time (funny how most daycare moms don’t actually have first names: She’s Trevor’s mom, I’m Vaughn’s mom, etc.).
Trevor’s mom was walking on air. Beaming. Though generally pretty quiet, she was talking a mile-a-minute. She and her husband had found out the day before that they would be welcoming 3-week-old baby Lauren into their family the next day through a county adoption. Her joy was unmistakable.
She’s has been on my mind. I couldn’t help but think about how happy Trevor’s family is; how grateful they are that Lauren’s birth mother chose to carry, deliver and share her. I imagine it was not an easy or clear-cut decision. But the Holy Spirit reached this woman with a message of peace and comfort, letting her know that unexpected was not the same as unwanted; inconvenient was not the same as impossible; and what may have seemed like a hopelessly heavy burden actually turned into the most generous gift-giving opportunity of a lifetime.
Last Saturday, I attended a Mass and rally to kick off the 40 Days for Life initiative in Denver. Participants in this international campaign, which coincides with Lent this year, hope to end abortion through prayer and fasting, community outreach and constant vigil—most visibly through peaceful prayer vigils outside abortion clinics.
During the rally, I again thought of baby Lauren and her mother. I wondered if Lauren’s life was ever in jeopardy. I wondered if her mother considered having an abortion. And if she did, I wondered what influenced her decision to choose life.
I’ve never been brave enough to be a public advocate for life, but after attending the rally, I plan to move from the sidelines to the field, so to speak. As part of my Lenten journey, I will commit to participate in a peaceful prayer vigil at the Planned Parenthood facility in Denver.
I’ll be nervous for sure, but will attend with a trusted friend who has experience under her belt. Together we will pray for babies yet to be born, for the conversion of workers in the abortion industry, for government leaders to recognize every person’s right to life, and for healing for every woman who has had an abortion.
I can only hope our prayers and presence can help women whose pregnancies have left them feeling scared, confused, angry, overwhelmed or pressured—and hope that we are able to convey the message that someone cares about their baby (actually, many “someones”); and someone (many someones) cares about each of them.