I have been wanting to share my appreciation for the volunteers and supporters of Birthright for a long time now. Here is my story:
Five years ago, I discovered that I was pregnant (surprise!). Knowing I was pregnant filled me with a whirlwind of emotions: joy, fear, worry, excitement, embarrassment... and I was afraid to tell anyone because I feared being judged. When I shared the news with the baby’s father, he reacted just as harshly as I feared. He insisted angrily that I terminate the pregnancy and he accused me of being irresponsible and selfish. My heart felt broken. I wanted this child, and I felt that to end my pregnancy would be wrong.
After my first prenatal appointment, the nurse practitioner also pressured me to terminate my pregnancy. I told her that I did not feel it was right to kill my baby, and her response was, “It’s not a baby, its a Rice Krispy.” (Seriously. That was her response!)
When I got home that afternoon I was desperate for someone to talk to and I did an internet search for pregnancy counselling. It was then that I found Birthright. The next morning, I called Birthright and spoke to a volunteer. She invited me to some over in person, and I did. The sincere and non- judgemental caring attitude was a breath of fresh air. I explained my situation, and I was so grateful to be met with love, acceptance and encouragement. That morning, I left with more than just maternity clothes. I also left with the confidence and joy that I was going to have my baby, which was what I deeply wanted. I returned almost every Tuesday for several months to spend time with Helen and Amy, the volunteers that I had met that first day. The loving support and encouragement they offered made all the difference to me at that time.
In March, I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Such a blessing. That is not the end of my story though...
I continued visiting Birthright, sometimes to donate clothes my son had outgrown, and other time to pick out ones to take home. There was a sense of peace that I felt from Helen, Amy and the other volunteers. Birthright is not a religious organization, and I was not a religious person, but at some point in our conversations I realized that the peace I felt with them had to do with their faith in God. I wanted to know more... and I knew that I wanted that sense of peace and faith too. I requested information and Helen was kind enough to send me a few books. I heard the Hail Mary prayer, and I began to pray is regularly. It is my belief that Mary led me to Jesus. It took some time and a few false starts but I completed the RCIA program at the local church last year.
At the Easter vigil last year, my son was baptized and I received full communion. It was one of the happiest days of my life. The joy and relief of knowing about God’s grace and forgiveness has taken away the hopelessness that I lived with for so long. My son and I love being a part of our welcoming church community.
The two greatest blessings of my life have been receiving the gift of faith and life through Jesus Christ, and the privilege of raising my wonderful child. For anyone who might ever wonder if Birthright makes a difference, please know that it truly does. Blessing, gratitude, and peace from my family to yours.
This year, after Sunday mass, this Birthright client and her son hosted a bake sale in front of the church. The fundraiser was in support of Birthright. She had a true connection to Birthright and graciously shared her story with us. Her son, a beautiful 5 year old, presented Birthright with a check for $800.