.- A 22-year-old single mom who chose life during an unplanned pregnancy says that she has found “purpose and love” in the joys and trials of motherhood.
“Being a mom is definitely the road to sainthood for me; it requires total self-sacrifice, but dying to oneself through motherhood has only brought me closer to Christ,” Raquel Kato told CNA in a recent interview.
Kato’s story spread on the internet last year, after she experienced God’s unconditional love in a powerful and life-changing way.
When her 21st birthday led to an unplanned pregnancy, she felt terrified and alone as a single college student. Keeping her pregnancy a secret, she scheduled an abortion, even though she knew in her heart that it was wrong.
However, a week before her scheduled abortion, Kato attended daily Mass and felt God’s merciful love touching her heart. She cancelled the abortion and gave birth to a baby girl, whom she named AveMarie Rose, in October 2012.
She went on to share her story through online venues including Catholic Exchange, FOCUS blog and One Billion Stories. In the nine months since AveMarie was born, she has received positive, supportive reactions.
“In general, I would have to say I have gotten a great response,” she told CNA, explaining that she has received many comments from people who were “very grateful” for the perspective that she had to share.
Kato described motherhood as “the greatest blessing” in her life.
“I've never been so challenged, grown so much, or been so joyful,” she said. “I love making my daughter smile, rocking her to sleep, and watching her reach different milestones.”
“Seeing how much joy she has brought to my parents, friends, and community is so rewarding. My daughter brings a deeper sense of purpose and love to my life and I can't imagine my life without her.”
While she acknowledged that “being a single mom has its hard moments,” she added that “it’s all worth it” when her daughter is “peacefully sleeping, or giggling uncontrollably, or cuddling in my arms.”
Kato said the most important thing she hopes that people are able to take from hearing her story is an understanding of “how to love mothers who are found in unplanned pregnancy.”
These women, she explained, “are broken and scared and they need to be reminded that they are loved in the midst of brokenness.”
Reflecting on her own journey, she said that the loving support of those around her – and particularly offers to babysit for free – have been crucial.
“Because of the support of my friends, family, and neighbors I have been able to complete my undergraduate degree, maintain a part-time job (at a pregnancy resource center), and begin graduate school,” she said, explaining that this support is paving the way for her to be able to support her daughter with a stable job.
“None of this would be possible without those people helping me with childcare,” she stressed.
This type of support is the most valuable resource that can be given to a single mom, Kato advised, emphasizing the need to show compassion and love to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
“If the women in a crisis pregnancy don't understand their own worth and dignity, they will have a hard time understanding the dignity of their unborn child,” she said.