By Brittany Smithson*
Three days after delivering my baby, I slipped into my pre-pregnancy clothes. They fit perfectly. Another blessing in what had been a harrowing season in my life.
Nine months earlier, I’d been raped.
The assault in downtown was random; the attacker was a complete stranger. I raced home afterwards, feverishly took a shower and went about my normal routine for the next several days. But the stress of the attack was too much to take. And then, I discovered I was pregnant from the assault.
Isolated and afraid
I fell apart. I lost my job. I couldn’t pay my bills. I was evicted from my apartment. I closed myself off from everybody. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents about the attack and I didn’t even see a doctor. Weeks slipped by. The balance in my savings account dipped lower. I called an abortion clinic and made an appointment. When the time came, I parked the car outside the building but just couldn’t go in.
Yet I knew I was in no shape emotionally to raise this child. Before the assault, I’d been an active, healthy professional. Now I could barely take care of myself. At this point I was six months’ pregnant and needed to figure out what to do when the baby came.
Nervously, I checked out adoption. One attorney took an unconventional approach. He spent concentrated time getting to know birth moms and adoptive families personally, and his match success rate is 98%. I spent three full days with him and his staff. Then he introduced me to a prospective adoptive couple that happened to be in town to complete their file – not a coincidence, but another blessing, I thought. I decided Hunter* and Valerie* would be the ones I wanted to raise my daughter. For the first time since the rape, I felt good.
How I got connected with my Friend
But by now I suspected I’d contracted an infection from the attacker. At the emergency room, a compassionate social worker named Mary listened to my story. She was adopted as a child … another blessing, for she assured me that adoptive children can grow up to be secure and productive.
As well as arranging for medical care, Mary helped me in another huge way. She told me to call Birthmothers. “It’s an amazing ministry,” she said. “The people at Birthmothers will stay with you all along the way, no matter what. Just make the call.”
I did, and within 36 hours I was contacted by Melissa, my Birthmothers Friend. Another blessing, because Melissa is a labor and delivery nurse. Now at last I had a Friend – someone to talk to about the pregnancy, about delivery, about my fears, about my hurts. I wasn’t alone! Melissa helped me prepare for the birth. When the time came, she coached me through labor and delivery. Melissa was a godsend.
My baby was perfectly healthy, another blessing since I hadn’t taken care of myself for a good part of the pregnancy. The days in the hospital with her were a precious time, yet I was torn apart about going through with the adoption. If I raised this
child, what would I tell her about the birth dad? I couldn’t guarantee that years down the road I’d be resentment-free.
Melissa came and stayed with me and listened to me and prayed with me. “You don’t have to go through with adoption,” she reminded me. We talked for hours. With me, the baby wouldn’t have a dad … I was still in emotional turmoil … I was not financially stable … and I kept asking myself, “Is it fair to this child to make her wait for me to get myself together until she can have a good life?”
The heartbreaking answer was no.
It’s empowering to bring a new life into the world. I left the hospital empty-handed, but full of heart, knowing I did what I felt was best for my daughter.
More steps towards healing
Melissa stayed close to me in the weeks that followed. She has since moved to Florida, but we still talk regularly. And Birthmothers has connected me with another local Friend – a woman named Katy who has her own adopted children. Another blessing! Katy has given me a special perspective. Her adopted children have brought much happiness into her home. It comforts me to know I’ve given that joy to Hunter and Valerie.
I’ve taken another step towards healing as moderator of an online discussion board. One college student revealed she is pregnant and considering abortion. Have you thought about adoption? I typed. That post launched a firestorm. Ultimately, I was able to provide solid facts about adoption to the group, dispelling adoption myths that many in my generation have embraced. Another blessing!
My turmoil isn’t over. I have good days and some very hard days. Through my struggles I’ve seen God’s blessings. When my healing is more complete, I can see myself ministering to other women who are hurting.
Birthmothers is a true blessing. These people care. They catch you when you fall. They stick with you before you have the baby, during birth and afterwards. If you’re pregnant and need a Friend, just make the call. I’m so grateful I did.
*name changed for confidentiality