Amanda Powell and her husband Jon were thrilled to be expecting identical twin boys Walker and Clark. But after a diagnosis led to their premature births and deaths, Powell struggled to not feel anger toward women who have chosen to abort their children and celebrate their “right” to do so.
At 15 weeks gestation, Powell began to suffer bleeding and was taken to the emergency room. She learned she had a subchorionic hemorrhage and was placed on bed rest. Doctors monitored her twice a week and after three weeks they learned the bleed had begun to resolve itself. Powell was elated, but that joy and relief lasted only a few days.
“A week after the great news, I woke in the middle of the night to large amounts of fluid loss,” she wrote on her blog Full Heart Sound Mind. “Terrified and only 19 weeks along, I phoned in and was told to get an appointment first thing in the morning. […] The bleed had caused the water on Baby A to break. Both of our baby boys were still healthy and had strong beating hearts on our ultrasound that day. Jon and I were given a very poor prognosis for both of our baby boys.”
The couple was given the choice of inducing, which Powell says would “essentially terminate the pregnancy,” or go home and hope labor didn’t start. The boys needed three more weeks to be strong enough for doctors to intervene if they were born prematurely. Another ultrasound a few days later showed that the boys were still healthy and strong, but later that same day the labor pains began.
Jonathan “Walker” Powell was born first, weighing 9.2 ounces. His brother Clark Alexander Powell was born 13 minutes later weighing 9.5 ounces.
“Our perfect identical boys were born with strong, beating hearts, but at 19 weeks and 3 days they did not have the proper lung development to survive outside of my body,” wrote Powell. “John and I were able to hold them and love them during their short time on Earth, we loved our babies until they became angels. They were very much alive at birth and Clark even startled to our voices a couple of times, which made our hearts feel joy even in the midst of so much pain.”
The couple was able to hold the boys, kiss them, sing to them, and stare at their beautiful faces before saying goodbye. Now, Powell has a message for other women who give birth to healthy babies: “I don’t resent you.”
In a blog post, she speaks to the woman she saw leaving the hospital with her new baby girl:
You looked so happy and watching you reminded me that I wasn’t going to be taking my two in my arms home with me. I felt my entire heart shatter in that moment, but I don’t resent you.
As I shattered and tears ran down my face, I began to smile. I smiled for you and your happy family.
She tells the woman sharing her pregnancy announcement that she is happy for her. She tells the pregnant woman she saw that she is overjoyed for her. Powell has words of love and prayers for every woman she speaks of, even the ones who celebrate killing their children through abortion. But she has another message for those women as well:
To the woman who spoke on her abortion and colorfully expressed her opinion on being pro-choice, I don’t resent you. With every word you spoke, I could feel my heart break. It shook me to the core to listen to someone speak of ‘terminating’ their pregnancy. You chose to kill your child, but I had no choice for my boys. My husband and I refused to induce and end my pregnancy, even when we were told how unlikely any good outcome would be. We loved our unborn children so much that we would risk it all for that small chance of saving their lives… and we couldn’t.
Anger and angst began to swell in my chest and I wanted to hate you, but I couldn’t. I felt sorry for you. Your actions and words sadden me, but you have no idea what you’re fighting for. You don’t know what it’s like to hold your tiny baby in your arms for the last time. You have no idea what it is like to not have a choice if your baby lives or dies. Instead of succumbing to my feelings of hatred and bitterness, I prayed for you.
Powell expresses what so many in the pro-life movement struggle with when it comes to those who are vehemently pro-choice and wear their abortions as a misguided of badge of honor. There can be a lot of anger that swells up in the battle to save preborn lives from abortion. But Powell is right. Instead of anger, pro-lifers need to feel pity for the lack of understanding and knowledge pro-choicers have of abortion and life inside the womb. And pro-lifers need to not only educate pro-choicers but pray for a change of heart for all those who believe that killing preborn children is a right and even a necessity.
Powell was able to take a tragedy, which she refers to as “the best terrible thing that ever happened to me,” and use her sons’ short lives to show others how precious preborn children are. She shares their humanity, their value, and their beauty in hopes that all women will embrace the gift of life given to them through pregnancies and love their children no matter what.