Human Interest

When everything was falling apart, my toddler saved my life and the life of my preborn child

The same week my husband Dave and I split up was the week I found out I was pregnant. Everything was falling apart around me. What I had thought was a lifetime commitment now felt like it had been nothing but a waste of my time. I knew the “easy” way out of my mess was to have an abortion, but I couldn’t bear to take my feelings of desperation, anxiety, and uncertainty out on an innocent child. That baby was as much mine as he was Dave’s, and needed me the same as our two-year-old little girl… the only difference being location.

It was a little over a month after leaving my children’s father, and I was living with my mom. On this warm day in May, I sat on the couch as my toddler was happily playing with her toys, and a wave of emotions overwhelmingly engulfed me, though this day was going no better or worse than the day before. I was amazed at my daughter, and how resilient she was during this huge change in our lives, and I will never forget just how resilient she really was that day.

Even though my daughter played like nothing was happening, it still felt like a tornado had ripped through our lives. Maybe it was because of the overwhelming irony of the sun pouring in through the windows, screaming at the hopelessness inside of me, but everything around me seemed to be a trigger. The life that we knew had been abruptly uprooted, and the constant reminders that it would never be the same — including my growing belly — finally demanded to not be ignored any longer.

I slumped to the floor next to the corner cupboard of my mom’s kitchen. Tears started streaming down my face, my body was shaking like a leaf, and loud, bitter sobs escaped from my mouth. The thoughts that flowed through my head still shock me to this day. As my body shook, all I could think was, “This is it. I can’t take this anymore. Maybe my daughter will be better off without me. Without all of my failures. Or maybe, at least, God can take this baby from my belly… please, God? Please take this baby from me!”

Those thoughts had never entered my mind before. Being a Christian with strong convictions towards life, neither abortion nor suicide was ever an option for me. And yet, due to the fact I could never end my preborn baby’s life, I prayed that God would do it. I am not proud of these thoughts, but on that day in May, these things seemed like solutions.

My daughter heard my cries and waddled into the kitchen. I looked up and saw her innocent little face coming toward me, her chubby little arms and feet, her chubby little cheeks; all of her. As I watched her through glassy eyes, her face turned from a smile to a frown. She finally made it over to me and knelt down. Her little hand touched mine so sincerely that it gave life to my weary heart. She asked me in her small voice, “Whas wong, momma?”

What do you tell a two-year-old when you don’t want to live anymore? I just sat there, slowly trying to pull myself together, and I was not prepared for her next move. She reached her little arms around my neck and gave me the most important hug and pep talk that a two-year-old will ever give me: “Is okay, momma.”

How could such tiny arms and tiny words make such an enormous impact on my life? Regardless of how, they did. I immediately snapped out of my own despair and focused on her, which in turn, made me focus on the other little one I had growing inside of me. At that moment I wept for a completely different reason: thankfulness. I thanked God for the amazing miracle in my life, and the amazing miracle inside me. It was the first time, since finding out that I was pregnant, that I was excited about it. I hugged my daughter, harder than I ever had done before, and reassured her that everything was indeed okay. And for the first time since I left my husband, I believed it.

This day was one I could never forget. It is forever etched into my heart as the day that my little girl reminded me of what matters: being the best mother I can be and letting God help me through the moments my mere flesh can’t handle. Motherhood, a role that God perfected through women, saved my life, and it saved my preborn baby boy’s life.

This little boy, whose life frightened me at first, turned out to be the ray of sunshine that my little girl and I needed in our time of crisis. We thank God for him, and I thank God for my little girl, too. Motherhood is not glamorous or easy, but it sure is magical, miraculous, and exactly what I needed.

This role placed me in a position where my children’s needs came above my own, which included eventually developing a constructive relationship with their father, my ex-husband. Eventually, he started a relationship with another woman, and I was not happy with his choice at first. But God reminded me of that day in my mom’s kitchen. He reminded me that He can make sunshine out of rain. So I made the choice to love.

Love is greatest power in this world; Jesus proved that when he died for us. So we must love each other too, and when we did, it was the best thing we ever did for our children. My ex-husband remarried this woman and has two step-children  –and I love all of them dearly. We plan holidays and trips together and we take turns giving each other breaks with the kids.

When I discovered that my children would be growing up in a divorced home like I did, I vowed that they would not reap the sorrow I felt — that they would not be in a “broken” home, but instead in a changed home, a godly home. A loving home. Between my ex-husband, his wife, and me, we have created that. In our family, we have have harmony, acceptance, understanding, friendship, love, and most importantly, God. Without God, none of this would be possible. God helped me through this hardship in our lives and He worked things together for our good. He was with us every step of the way, even when I doubted Him, and reminded me of His love every day in the faces of my children. I embraced life six years ago. With life there is always hope in a better future. There IS a future.

To women who have found themselves in a similar situation, you will experience a lot of emotions and many thoughts will pass through your mind. Give yourself grace; after all, you are human — and so is your baby. Keep pressing forward toward life. I can’t tell you what things will look like, but things will eventually come together.

Testimony as told by Stephanie Kennedy to Feleica Langdon of Life Defenders

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