What do two pink lines on a home pregnancy test mean in a post Roe v Wade world? I celebrated our Constitution and renewed hope for the unborn and their parents this weekend, but triggering events can cause us to re-examine our own experiences. For me, last week’s SCOTUS decision was a triggering event.
I was thrilled by the outcome, but it also made me revisit what I went through during my most difficult life experience, that of suddenly finding myself pregnant and alone. This week, I often found myself reflecting on what I experienced in my own crisis pregnancy.
Two Pink Lines on a Home Pregnancy Test
It was January 2009, and the world was celebrating a new year. I was not.
I sat on the edge of my bed afraid to tell my husband our news. I knew he would not be happy. I understood. I was not happy either. This was NOT the way it was supposed to be. I was not supposed to be pregnant. This was not a good time for us to have a baby. We were done being pregnant.
I thought of all we’d been through. We’d lost a child to an ectopic pregnancy that almost killed me 13 years earlier. The doctor told me in a very clinical manner I’d have a hard time getting pregnant after that. Four boys later, we’d proven him wrong.
Now the stick I held in my hand mocked him again with its two pink lines.
It also mocked me and our plans and the way things were “supposed” to be.
Life had not been easy in the years between the ectopic pregnancy and our fourth little boy. We’d struggled financially and, at times, had to rely on family and others for help. It seemed we could not get ahead. It bruised our egos and caused division among family members and ourselves.
I hated being the problem in our close extended family. I hated being the cause of division. I hated needing help. I hated not being self-sufficient. I hated the shame of it all.
Fortunately, by 2009, things had improved! We’d worked hard, and life had gotten good!
Let me backtrack a bit to 9-11 and how it changed our family…
9-11 was a tragedy that damaged and shaped much of our lives. My then-husband was a NYC carpenter working across from the Trade Center on that tragic day. He saw terrorism’s evil firsthand; he watched people lean from windows, wave for help, and plummet to their deaths. He shook as the second plane flew over his head into the South Tower. He ran as building chunks and body parts rained down around him.
20 years later, I still cannot find adequate words for such evil.
What I will say, is that in every tragedy there is an opportunity to find strength and good. 9-11 was no exception and may be a good example of how to approach a crisis pregnancy too. I’ll get to that in a later post.
There was much to come out of 9-11 for our family, both good and bad, but for the sake of this post, the good I will refer to is strictly financial. It seems callous to say, but rebuilding Manhattan meant a need for union carpenters and an end to our financial difficulties. My husband worked long hours and bought a piece of land far from NYC. Then, with a gift from my Grandparents and money borrowed from my mother, we began to build his dream home.
By January 2009, our home was, not finished, but it was certainly livable. We had friends in our new town and entertained often. Our youngest son had entered kindergarten that fall. I was busy making our house a home and taking on as much of the at home work as possible since my husband worked such long hours. I was also PTA mom, a member of our school’s building level planning team, our two oldest sons’ CYO basketball coach, and newly made youth minister of our local church. I had begun tutoring for the SAT and was vaguely toying with whether to update my expired teaching license or changing fields and try something new.
Best of all, my husband and I seemed to have worked out kinks in our relationship. We seemed to enjoy each other’s company. We seemed to be on a good path! We seemed to be the ideal family.
Life seemed good!
But on that January day, I sat on the edge of my bed holding the pregnancy test I’d taken a few days before. I stared down at the two pink lines and was afraid to tell my husband our lives were about to change forever.
I didn’t want to realize then that I was still building our family hopes on sand. I didn’t realize how badly or how quickly a foundation could crumble or that it could happen so quickly. I didn’t realize how horrible the damage could be.
Two Pink Lines in a Post Roe v Wade World
It is impossible to describe how hard my crisis pregnancy was, but hardship is also a gift few understand until they’ve lived through it. What is also impossible to describe is how incredibly grateful I am for having been given the gift of a crisis pregnancy. For one thing, the pregnancy and ensuing struggle opened doors of understanding that most of the world will never have.
Some think how hard I had it would make me more inclined to support abortion; it does the opposite.
Often these people think eliminating abortion would reduce the number of women feeling the way I felt sitting on the bed that day 13 years ago. They think the amount of fear, anxiety, and slew of negative emotions women feel lessens when the mother can choose to eliminate the fetus growing inside her.
Abortion does not do this because actions have consequences.
Women will still hold that pregnancy stick and feel what I did. They will still experience that early agony. They will look down at their two pink lines and not want to tell their baby’s father the news. They will think back on how that baby was conceived. They will envision future plans they had that do not include a baby at this time. They will be afraid of financial difficulties and judgement from those who care about them. They will not feel strong enough to handle this pregnancy or those who urge them to do the quick fix.
Abortion does not change those emotions. What abortion changes is how those emotions are overcome.
When choosing abortion, women unconsciously choose the path of least resistance. The path is understandable and not unique to women in a crisis pregnancy. Human beings have a natural tendency to move toward this path. We would rather scroll through social media than pick up a phone and make a connection. We would rather sit on the couch than hike a mountain. We would rather leave a relationship than look at what we are doing to sabotage love.
Like water in a bucket, we tend to sink toward the lowest part of our containers. This is true when our containers are firmly planted and when they are tilted at crazy angles. Our containers are our lives. They include our past experiences, relationships with those around us, and mindsets hidden even to ourselves.
The container most of us live in gives one of two different scenarios.
In the first, the container tells us we are not good enough to do x or y or z. It tells us that we should not even try because we would fail. We fear people’s judgment and ridicule more than we desire good for ourselves. Our container keeps us in our status quo.
Paradoxically, our second container tells us we are too good for x or y or z. It tells us we are not supposed to be in this moment. It reminds us of plans we believe we are entitled to or owe someone else. These include plans for education, a better job, a solid relationship. Worst of all, this second container tells us we are too good for our own suffering. It seeks to escape pain without finding meaning for that pain. It causes us to sink to the lowest side of our container.
Unlike water in a bucket, women have a choice. We are not relegated to the lowest part of our containers. We do not have to remain in rigidly controlled boxes. Unlike water, women can choose to flex our containers and we can choose to climb to the top of them.
Doing so takes effort. It takes stamina. It takes support. It takes escaping comfort zones that trap and ensnare us. It takes humility as we must admit we need help and role models and deep introspection and personal responsibility. It takes faith and hope in something greater than ourselves. It takes belief in our being called to a mission greater than what we’d originally seen for ourselves.
It takes skills and a mindset and support system none of us feel we have, especially in a time of crisis.
There is no “quick fix” in choosing childbirth, but life is what expands your container. This is never more true than when we pass life on to another human being. This is where we open doors of understanding. We learn about life beyond what we can see and discover that life, that spark, is actually inside of us.
We listen to our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. We see ten perfect toes on tiny little feet or smile at her little upturned nose in a sonogram profile. We feel him stretch trying to find a more comfortable position inside you and we understand that miracles do still happen. We begin to feel awe with the fact that we are sometimes chosen to deliver those tiny miracles to the world.
We begin to understand God has plans greater than our own. We begin to understand there is more to life than what we want out of it. We begin to realize the plans we had for ourselves can be put on a different timeline or that we are called to something different entirely. We realize the dreams we had a as a small girl expanded with life experiences and that pregnancy is another life experiences that can expand our dreams if we choose to let it.
We can choose to let our babies drive us to accomplish more, not less. We can choose strength when we previously would have collapsed or quit or wasted time blaming someone else or society or the government or circumstances or God.
Most of all, we can choose to be grateful because gratitude, no matter what container you are in, changes the container, but more importantly, it changes us.
Too Much to Tell Here!
The fear I felt telling my husband our news was justified. He left suddenly and my boys and I went through very hard times, but hard times don’t last forever.
What lasts is the admiration, respect, and love we have for each other. What lasts is the strength and lessons each of us found to overcame hardship, to build, rather than break, relationships, and to overcome challenges we would not have chosen for ourselves.
I have been there. Each situation is unique, but I understand crisis pregnancy better than most. Whatever side of the Roe v Wade decision you are on, please support parents who need help they can seldom put into words. I have a Facebook page I am starting just for this purpose and would appreciate your following it, sharing it, telling others about it.
If you are experiencing a crisis pregnancy, I am putting together a coaching program just for you. I will release the program by July 24th, one month after the SCOTUS decision. The program will offer modules on the emotions you are experiencing as well as practical advice. Most of all, it will offer support when you feel you have none.
Remember, you are not alone. You are Loved.
Public Facebook Page: Pregnant. Now What?
Crisis Pregnancy Contact: