This one has been hard for me to write. It’s emotionally draining. It causes me to think about things I’ve tried to forget, to feel things I’ve pushed deep inside.
I don’t even talk about the fact that my oldest daughter, Brooklynn, was conceived out of wedlock. I got married to my husband at 6 months pregnant, first and foremost because we were/are in love, but also because we didn’t want our child to be born out of wedlock.
I was ashamed. I had my sin on display, in the form of a belly, worn like a scarlet letter. My parents were heartbroken. They suggested adoption or abortion. I got kicked off the worship team. Pastor’s wives gossiped about me. People were disappointed in me. “She had so much potential.” My college softball career was over. “Her life is ruined.”
I quickly blocked everyone out. Anthony and I knew from the first moment that we were going to fall madly in love with this baby. We never once thought about adoption or abortion. Brooklynn never, not even for a second, went unwanted.
My parents came around quickly. Anthony’s parents did, too. People at church, not so much. It got to the point where we didn’t want to attend anymore. And we didn’t. We just started going to church again a few weeks ago. Almost three years later.
Long story short. We were wounded and hurt by the church, but we got over it. We fell in love with Brooklynn before she even took her first breath. Anthony proposed to me shortly after. We had a beautiful summer wedding. She was born. I got pregnant with Harlym. And now we’ve been married over two years and have a beautiful (almost) 2 year old and (almost) 1 year old. I love my life. I love being a mom. I love my husband. I love staying home with my girls. People have been overwhelmingly supportive of our family and have fallen in love with our daughters. But even now, there’s certain people that I feel uncomfortable being so honest with. I feel like maybe I shouldn’t love my life so much, because it started with a sin.
This morning, my missionary friend Meghan sent me a link to an article titled, “Brothers and Sisters, Unwed Pregnancy Is Not A Sin.” She accompanied the link with the message, “I thought you’d like this because I know what an advocate you are for your healthy family and I think it’s amazing how loved you’ve been by others as well. I love your story. I love your family. And I love this post. I think you are someone who can have such a big voice to girls who are shut out when ‘accidents’ or ‘mistakes’ have happened. I wouldn’t call it a mistake, and that’s not so Christian or missionary of me some could say. But nevertheless I thought you might like this.”
I’m going to share a few excerpts that brought such strong realization to my story and made me prouder than ever to be the mama I am.
“It seems so obvious once it’s stated this way, but the Bible never condemns unwed pregnancies. In fact, the lineage of our Savior has several. Some of his ancestors were conceived through prostitution, incest, and adultery (cf. Gen. 38, Gen. 19:30-38, 2 Sam. 11:1-12:25). It is telling that Jesus himself was an unwed pregnancy. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary became the most vulnerable of women—an unmarried pregnant teen. She was deeply loved by God and in need of care and support. When she traveled to see family, she was not ostracized but welcomed with a beaming smile and these words from her cousin Elizabeth: “Blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42).”
“Christians—parents especially—are often willfully blind to the sins of teens in their churches. We are able to keep up the charade until a swelling tummy appears in the youth group. The common reaction is to judge the pregnant high schooler, when it’s possible the only difference between her and the rest of her Christian friends is that her parents didn’t put her on the pill. When we overlook sexual immorality but condemn unwed pregnancy we spread Satan’s lie: “Fornication is fine, but babies are bad.” Churches and parents must be having honest conversations with their growing children about the temptations of sexual immorality. We must help them understand that it is both wrong and forgivable, and we must not allow our rightful stance against sexual immorality to taint our view of pregnancy.”
“Once we move from the realization that unwed pregnancy is not a sin to the reality that all pregnancy should be celebrated as a gift of life from God, then we will truly see what God can do to fight back the terrors of abortion.”
How awesome are these words? It makes me feel silly for ever believing the lie that I should be ashamed of my pregnancy. And if I’m being 100% honest with you, I only felt that the first few weeks after finding out. Because once you hear your baby’s heartbeat, there’s not a thing someone could tell you that would make you feel ashamed of your beautiful baby.
I think my point is this: my daughter, Brooklynn, changed my life. She made me a mother. She transformed my beliefs. She’s captivated my heart. And because of her, I’ve had the honor of falling in love all over again with my daughter, Harlym. While sex outside of marriage is a sin, pregnancy is not. Pregnancy is a gift from God. Having a baby is a gift. That’s what I wish I would’ve known 3 years ago. That’s what I wish pastors and people in leadership would know. That’s what I wish parents would know. And that’s what I wish pregnant teens who feel lost and broken would know.