She chose shame and received pride


The inexplicable pain of loss came early to “Ann” (let’s call her). It came the day her mother left her family for another man. Ann and her brother went to live with their dad’s mother. Grandma raised her grandchildren as she had her eight children. They spent a lot of time in church. “They learned the fear of the Lord. They learned do not commit murder,” said Ann’s aunt.

Ann graduated from high school and joined her brother who lived near the university in the downstairs apartment of the home of their mother and step-father. Annie began college. Then she met a womanizer who seduced her, impregnated her and left her.

Young, single and still wanting to become a nurse, Ann fit all the usual reasons for taking advantage of legalized abortion including family pressure from her step-father. He did not want to shame his family with an unwed pregnancy. He pressed Ann’s mother to take her daughter in for an abortion.

Caught in the whirlwind of emotions, Ann talked with her brother about planned abortion.

Infuriated he responded, “You are not going to do that. Have you forgotten everything that Grandma taught us? What did you learn from church? You should not commit murder. If you do not want to have it. I will take care of it. You’re supposed to be a nurse. A nurse saves lives and takes care of children.”

Ann did remember Grandma’s early training. She resisted their step-father’s pressure. She kept her baby boy “Tom.” Ann’s extended family helped all they could. Her aunt took care of Tom one summer while Ann worked on finishing her degree. Finally, she received her diploma and license to be a nurse. Eventually, she married a faithful man and had more children. Like her grandmother, she insisted on church and the best from all her children.

Tom was an easy going child. He grew-up surrounded by love from his mother, his uncle and his extended family. He loved learning and exceeded in all of his studies. As he grew, so did Ann’s pride in her handsome, intelligent son who became the role model for the three younger children. He kept them on the straight and narrow just as his uncle had once done for his mother.

Tom brought great joy to Ann. She especially exploded with joy and pride the day the high school principal announced Tom as the valedictorian of his class. Everyone in his family wanted to celebrate his accomplishments. Family members flew across the country to attend his graduation. Even his grandmother who had urged terminating his pregnancy came. She cried all through the ceremony as she recalled wanting to terminate the life of this promising young man who brought so much pride to the family. (Tom’s step-grandfather did not go to the graduation and his birth father never knew him.)

“We all came to celebrate his accomplishments. We were so proud of him,” his aunt said.

His accomplishments included a full scholarship to a college in Boston where he received a degree in engineering. While still in college, Tom received and accepted a position in a large factory in Louisiana. He still works there. When he married, his family again came to celebrate. “It was a big, outside wedding in an exclusive place with a band playing music,” his aunt recalled.

Tom now has children of his own. All are doing well in school. Looking back, his aunt concluded that choosing life, even if it meant shame, has since brought Ann much pride from a son who has blessed her life in many ways.

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