Pro-Life Advocate on Why She Became a Teen Mom
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Laurie grew up in a large, loving Catholic family. She had the privilege of watching her parents’ faith and values for life on constant display. At 10, Laurie was molested by classmates of her older brother. That night she began having nightmares, wetting the bed and sleepwalking. She could not process what had happened and her family was unaware of the incident.
“Shame and self-loathing were introduced into my life the day the abuse occurred,” reveals Laurie. For years she suppressed the memory of what had taken place, but the feelings of worthlessness were ever present. Her pain, shame, and choices to follow were born out of that situation.
At 15, Laurie found out she was pregnant. When she broke the news to her parents, they were supportive and loving. She remembers her dad hugged her, reminded her that he loved her, but said he and her mom were too old to raise a baby. They presented the options of adoption or of Laurie keeping her baby and told her they would support her decision. Her dad told her to pray for what was best for her baby. Years later she asked her dad how he had such a loving response. He replied, “You kids are all a gift from God, and you’re on loan to me. So, if I’m going to be embarrassed by what the neighbors say, then that’s just pride.”
Laurie says, “The belief in the sanctity of life that my parents established in our home helped me make a decision for which I will always be grateful.” Her daughter, Arica, was born in 1977. When Laurie’s Catholic school found out she was attending with a baby at home they expelled her. Her parents were concerned about her well-being and the future of her baby, so she attended public school until she graduated.
After the birth of Arica, Laurie soon found herself pregnant again at seventeen by her same high school sweetheart. She miscarried her baby boy (Moses). Soon after, Laurie decided to leave her boyfriend. She had a dream of how miserable life would be for her and Arica if she stayed with him.
Single parenting was difficult and not the happily ever after she had imagined. Laurie was married three times, but due to relationship difficulties, infidelities, abuse and abandonment those marriages ended in divorce.
When Arica was three years old, Laurie, now in her twenties, recommitted her life to Christ. A decision that would sustain her after her first marriage fell apart. She always loved God, worked at her church and raised her kids in church, but struggled with self-esteem. As she received healing for the many things she went through (sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, failed marriages, etc.) her relationship with the Lord has increased over the years.
She has experienced miracles in the birth of her own children and watched how God has used her kids to help others. When she was pregnant with her second child, Geoffrey, she became bedridden the entire pregnancy. She endured complications that required two surgeries during her pregnancy which put a strain on her body and marriage. Fortunately, the medical staff found a way to help her keep her pregnancy.
Her fourth child, Jazzi, was raped by her boyfriend as a teenager. She thought she was pregnant after missing a period but turns out she was not. Today, Jazzi helps girls and women recover from sexual trauma by sharing her testimony. When Laurie was pregnant with her fifth child, Mary, the doctor told her they could not hear the baby’s heartbeat. They encouraged her to have a D & C. She refused. A few appointments later, the heartbeat could finally be heard.
When Laurie and her first husband divorced, Arica was ten. The changed nature of their family structure sent Arica reeling. She struggled with feelings of abandonment by her father and began to notice older men’s attention. She was not prepared to deal with their sexual pressures. Unknown to Laurie, because no parental consent is needed in California, Arica had an abortion at seventeen. She stuffed the pain from that experience and her decision for years. Although Arica respected her mom for her decision to give birth to her, Arica felt she wasn’t good enough to make the same choice.
After a decade of struggling in her walk with God, her marriage, and her work, she sought help. Arica accepted the truth of God’s forgiveness (even for those who had an abortion) and stopped seeking retribution against herself. “It is only through facing the pain that people can truly overcome it,” shares Laurie. This is what Laurie had to apply to her own life when she learned of Arica’s abortion, “Grief for a lost grandchild and knowing my daughter had to experience abortion alone crushed me emotionally and left me gasping for air.”
She prayed and asked God to help her fight the injustice (abortion). She was already a speaker and volunteer for the local pregnancy clinic. Two days after this prayer she was asked to speak at a Planned Parenthood event for a state program whose funding is funneled through abortion clinics. God gave her a platform to share her story with pregnant teens, new parents, local dignitaries, and abortion clinic staff and advocates. “I encouraged others to choose life, an education, and Jesus.” God lifted Laurie’s burden of grief for her lost grandchild and healed her daughter’s heart. Today Arica leads a Celebrate Recovery group to help other men and women through their pain and healing.
HEALING FROM ABORTION
For a woman, the shame of admitting she has had an abortion is often difficult due to backlash from the church. This often forces women to grieve in silence and can lead to addiction. God loves women, even those who have had abortions. The church can help women in this situation by acknowledging post abortion grief and educating themselves on how to help. Some solutions that have been implemented at Laurie’s church include:
• Develop a team –provide post abortive training and grief seminars.
• Educate ministry leaders to encourage people who are suffering to come forward for help with healing.
• Address the topic of abortion (in church) and the need for post abortive healing.
• Provide a place to heal – adopt a study geared towards healing from abortion.
PRO LIFE MESSAGE
Everyone can play a part in helping to bring about change regarding abortion. Some ways include:
• Seek education on abortion. Facts change the way people think.
• Donate to pro-life organizations and pregnancy centers.
• Volunteer at your local pregnancy center.
• Research and support pro-life candidates.
• Know what the Bible says about life and carry that kingdom culture to the world.
The Greek word, Zoe, means Life, and it refers to the abundant life Jesus came to give us, referenced in. Laurie wants to help others choose hope in the face of despair while living with mercy and compassion. “We serve a God who holds our futures in His hands.”
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