Posted April 23, 2010:
Two Mothers

Here are two stories about women who, under difficult circumstances, chose to give life to their babies. The first is written by the mother, the second by the "baby," who is now your editor.

by Linda Oliver, a Restoration reader.

I read the article "A Restoration Baby" (January 2010) today, February 9th, at 2 a.m. Like the mother in that article, I had a very difficult pregnancy.

During my pregnancy, I was very ill. I had to take large amounts of steroids to control the severe intestinal bleeding caused by an illness I had since childhood. I also had severe pain due to the baby pushing on my intestines.

My doctor advised my husband and me to have an abortion. He described in gruesome detail the physical affects the steroids and my poor health would have on our baby. He also said it was the only way to stop my pain.

We were scared, but we also knew that this child, regardless of his or her physical condition, was entrusted to us and was meant to be born. We knew our only choice was to trust God’s will and have faith that he would give us the grace to endure and deal with any problems that arose.

The following week, I had a dream in which I saw a little blond–haired boy playing with blocks on the floor in our living room. In the dream, my husband and I were laughing, and as we played with the child, we kept calling him "Andy."

The dream was so vivid I woke my husband up and told him we were going to have a blond-haired boy and his name was Andrew.

We didn’t know the sex of our baby until birth, and "Andrew" was not even close to any of the names on our list of possible names for a son.

Months later, on February 9th, I gave birth to a perfectly healthy little boy, whom we named Andrew. He even had blond hair.

That wonderful day was 23 years ago today, and our son has been our joy and delight. He is also a tangible example of God’s grace and goodness, and we can’t imagine our life without him.

Andrew won’t be home on his birthday this year. He is at Madonna House as a working guest. He’s taken a year off college to discern his future.

by Paulette Curran.

Had she done now what she did in those times, some would have called her foolish and some heroic. But back in the early 1940s, among the few who knew about it, she probably wasn’t considered either.

In those days, among those people, it was taken for granted that—in the big things anyhow—you obeyed the laws of the Church. And if that happened to be very difficult, well, so be it. You hadn’t expected life to be easy.

She was an ordinary woman, a Catholic like most people she knew, but she wasn’t especially religious. There was, however, one unusual thing that she did. She married late, at age 43. Her husband was the same age. It was the first marriage for him, too.

They didn’t expect that they would have children; they thought it was too late for that. But God had other ideas.

The couple was married over a year when she discovered she was pregnant. That was the first surprise. There was another one, too.

"Your uterus is full of tumors," the doctor told her. "It’s likely you’ll have a miscarriage. There’s very little room for a baby to develop. But the uterus does expand, so you could carry the baby to term. If you do, your life will be in danger. Thirty years ago, you would have died. But now, with the advances in medical science, you have a fighting chance."

And the baby?

"The tumors might crush or deform it."

In today’s world, among many people, it would be a clear case for an abortion. In the 1940s, in immigrant Catholic New York, in a good Catholic family, with a good Catholic doctor, I wonder if it was even considered. Probably not.

I know just a few details about those nine months. The woman walked a lot—long walks. The doctor told her to. She also prayed a lot.

The couple made what plans they could. They decided that, if the mother died and the baby lived, one of her sisters would raise the child.

The mother-to-be crocheted an afghan—not a baby sweater and bonnet, not a baby blanket, but an afghan.

She did one other thing, too. She put her life and the life of her unborn child into the hands of the Mother of God.

The months went by. There was no miscarriage. As time came near for the baby to be born, the doctor watched the mother very carefully. He wanted to wait as long as possible so that the baby would be fully developed, but he did not want her to go into labor.

Two weeks before the due date, the woman went into the hospital for a combination Caesarian-hysterectomy. She did not know if she would live. She did not know if her baby would live.

It was in a small Catholic maternity hospital that the doctor and a specialist performed the surgery. After it was over, there was rejoicing throughout the hospital. The mother was alive and doing well. The baby, too, had lived. It was a girl, perfectly formed, perfectly healthy.

The mother’s sister—who would have raised the child—had one smaller job to do instead.

"Go buy everything," the father shouted over the phone. "We have a healthy baby girl!"

The couple hadn’t bought a single thing for a baby!

I know this story well because, as far back as I can remember, every year on my birthday, my mother told it. She would mention the risk to her life, but mostly, she spoke of her wonder and gratitude to God for giving her a child.

And now that she is dead, I, too, on my birthday, always think about it and thank God for her and for my life. Often, I tell the story to those celebrating with me.

I think about it sometimes, too, in connection with abortion. I was that baby girl.

Reprinted from Restoration October 1995.


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