• Stephannie Bramlett

Thankful She Chose [my] Life

With Thanksgiving approaching, I have been thinking about our plans as a family and how I can create an atmosphere of thankfulness over this next month. Obviously, I want this to be a central attitude all of the time in our home, but I plan to use this season to really hone in on what it means to be thankful. As I thought about fun activities we could do as a family, my mind started thinking about my own personal gratitude that I could share with them. Do my girls know how thankful I am to be their mother? How thankful I am for their health? How thankful I am for their father? Our friends? Our school? Our home? Our jobs?.... The list can go on and on. Do they even know how thankful I am for my own life? I did not know how thankful I should be for my own life until I learned the details of my story.

When I was a senior in high school, one of my English assignments was to write a detailed account about our own birth story. I knew very little about my mother’s pregnancy with me and what life really looked like for her in 1983/84. All I knew was that she was young: seventeen, to be exact. I knew she was a part of a specialty program for un-wed mothers at Liberty University. I knew that the pregnancy put quite a halt to what should have been an amazing senior year for her.

I approached the assignment with a heart of both excitement and nervousness. I was certain that I had to “interview” my mom and I knew that it might be difficult for her to trudge through some of the details. I was 17 myself, and I could not even fathom the emotions that run deep from a pregnancy at that age. I do not remember exactly how I brought up the conversation with her. I do, however, remember hearing stories that shook me to my core and defined many basic moral values that I have today...

One of the eye-opening details she shared about my story was that I was almost never born. She was 17, a senior in high school, and had dreams of attending college at the University of Georgia. Roe v. Wade was 10 years old, and abortion was an available option. My mother shared that while she believed abortion was wrong, she could not imagine the disappointment that her pregnancy would cause for her family. So, she made her way to an abortion clinic to take care of the unwanted pregnancy.

She went in and was greeted by a team of people that helped her with paperwork and talked through the process. My mother was grieving. She was aware of the loss she was about to experience. She wanted a team that comforted her feelings and understood the deeply-torn heart she had about the decision she felt she had to make. She shared that the team continued to use the phrases: “Don’t worry." "This is no big deal." "It is a minor procedure.” She remembered one of the nurses said , “You will go back to school on Monday and continue life just as you had planned. Nobody has to know.”

It was with those words, she could not handle it any more. She immediately stood up and left. To her, this was a big deal. This was major. This was a disruption to her plan. Even if she didn’t share with any one else, God knew. She told me that if they had simply affirmed her fears and sadness, she would have likely proceeded with the abortion. The staff of the clinic treated the loss of life as insignificant. She knew it was much more than that. She chose life for her unborn child. She chose to conquer her fears and the disappointment that her pregnancy would cause. I will never forget how sad, proud, and thankful I felt when she shared this with me.

As I encounter life events, I, often, think back to this story. I live because she chose life. I laugh because she chose life. I cry because she chose life. I love because she chose life. I am thankful for my life. I want any mothers experiencing an unwanted pregnancy to understand the depth of my gratitude as a result of the choice of life. I want her and all of the family that helped raise me to know how thankful I am for their love and dedication to my life. I know that with each triumph and trial, I would not get to experience this walk through life, if God had not convicted her heart. I like to think that He saved me twice: once in that abortion clinic and once as I asked Him to spend my eternity in Heaven. It is my prayer that God stewards my life so that I can encourage those around me to find the love of a relationship with Him. I pray my family, friends, and those I encounter see Him in me. While my children may not understand the magnitude of my story right now, I pray my girls see thankfulness in my heart for the life I have been gifted.

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