Pregnancy, Female, 23, Depression
“I had found the oasis of hope my heart had been begging for.”

I peed on the stick and saw the two lines. Everything got blurry. First I was mad, then ashamed, then very afraid. I came out of the restroom like a shot and paced the floor so hard I hoped it would break and suck me in.

I was in an unstable and toxic relationship with the baby’s dad. I had recently discovered that besides the heavy drinking I was already aware of, he was daily using cocaine and other drugs. You’d think that would have been enough for me to drop everything and run for it, but toxic connections fortified by soul ties are one of those funny things that are hard to explain and even harder to “walk away” from.

I was afraid that all of my dreams and plans for myself were over. I was afraid my family would be horribly disappointed in me. I hated that this would confirm in their minds the concerns they’d already been voicing about my current life choices. I was afraid my baby’s dad would take advantage of me being more dependent, scared, and in a raw emotional place. He did.

He started going out almost every night, drinking and using drugs even more. He would be gone late into the night, not returning calls or messages. I would be all alone in a dark, empty apartment, with a million fears and a tiny little heart growing inside me.

At about 5 weeks, I had decided the only way out of my hell hole was to get rid of the baby.

While I was driving to work a few days before the I intended to have the abortion, a song I hadn’t heard before called “A Thousand Words” by Christina Perri came on the radio:

Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone,
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow.

One step closer
I have died everyday waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

I didn’t know how I could be brave, but picturing that little tiny heart in me just beating, standing alone and trusting I would care for it. How could I walk away from it? I told my baby, don’t be afraid, I will protect you always. After that day I didn’t look back.

Even though I had decided to keep the baby, my challenges were far from over. Every day I struggled against suicidal thoughts and voices. Late at night and all alone I would lay in bed and look up “painless ways to kill yourself.” It was all I could do to just keep myself alive each day- eat, work, sleep, repeat.

As I wrote in my journal “All I want to do is run and run and run until I collapse, until I have run away from my own self. Until I have run outside of myself.” My anger and depression caused me to feel dissociated from myself and the girl I once knew as me.

One day when I was about six months along, I was driving and praying desperately that God would show me what to do, that He would release me from the toxic hold that was on me. My phone starting going off. It was my friend, and he was freaking out. “You gotta get over here, (baby’s dad) is surrounded by cop cars and they’re taking him.”

Even when I look back now, I can see how this was God’s divine plan for both me and my baby’s dad, but at the time, I felt like my life had just been crushed even more. Here I was, 110% single, I thought I was alone before, but now I REALLY was.

I remember looking in the mirror at my big-bellied self thinking, “I’m a 23 year old single mom with the ‘baby daddy’ in jail. What happened to me? Who am I? How the heck did I get myself here?”

A week after this happened, my baby’s dad’s mother invited me to a church in my town. “There’s a group for single mothers called Embrace Grace and you need to go to it,” she said. As I walked into the room full of young, single women, I told myself over and over, “Keep it together, keep it together.” I wanted to look happy and put together and like everything was okay. I had all this handled!

The first person I met was a lady named Selena. She had the gentlest voice and spoke so much life into me. I felt like she was handing me a cup of cold water that I hadn’t had in months. It wasn’t long before I collapsed into tears and told her everything that I was going through. She held me tight and prayed over me, and I knew I had found the oasis of hope my heart had been begging for.

The journey to healing didn’t end there. As I attended Embrace Grace and slowly unburdened all the pain I was carrying, I had to let the ladies there get close to me, pray for me, strengthen me. As I opened up to let them see my wounds, I was slowly able to accept, forgive, heal, and move on.

Now, three years later, I look at myself in the mirror and see a strong, mentally healthy and capable woman. I see a woman who passed through the fire, and come out on the other side, a little smoky, but not burned. I see a joyful mother who is is able to provide all that her child needs and work in the career field she had dreamt of being in since she was 20. I see the story of renewal and growth from ashes through God’s restoring power.

I see Psalms 40:2-3 coming alive in my life:
“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay. He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth…”

He has restored my soul and made me whole! I will sing to Him a new song and forever give thanks for the miracles He has worked in my life.