Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dear People Who Bullied My Unborn Child, by Paula K. Peyton

Dear People Who Bullied My Unborn Child,

I’m going to call it what it was — bullying. You thought you were so smart when
you called my son “a spawn of Satan,” “Satan’s rape baby,” and “evil,” among other things. And you thought you were right to “warn” me of the dangers of bringing him into the world.

In your mind, he was just an extension of his rapist father, guaranteed to bring nothing but pain and heartache to me and to the world. And I know for sure you were uncomfortable and sometimes even mad about my decision to keep a child conceived in rape. You couldn’t imagine why in the world someone would want a baby you saw as being so worthless and loathsome, and when you realized I loved him, you eventually bullied him the way you’d been bullying me and trying to push me into aborting him.

Just like all bullies, you overlooked all the important things about my son and focused on something that was irrelevant and completely out of his control — his conception. And like all bullied children, he deserves better representation than the words you chose for him.

The reality is that this baby makes people smile everywhere he goes. He’s pretty smiley too! He has brightened the days of the elderly in a nursing home. Tuesday he dressed up like an elf to attend an angel tree party our church puts on for underprivileged kids from the elementary school nearby, and the kids were so excited to see him.

He makes people happy because he is a joyful, radiant light. This is the child you bullied — this sweet, giggly baby. And I’m the mom you tried to bully into aborting him.

Many times during pregnancy, I wondered how the Virgin Mary would’ve fared had she been a single, pregnant teenager in this century. Born into a poor family in the hills of Galilee and betrothed to a humble carpenter, Mary’s life seemed like one that would always remain humble and lackluster. And it was the womb of this poor, unmarried, young lady who God chose to bless with the life of Jesus.

Mary often comforted me during those late nights during my pregnancy when I was awake in bed thinking about the the way you treated my son. I’d think about her faith, the shaming and bullying she must’ve gone through in her own day and age, and that humble birth we celebrate each December. Her own son – our Lord and Savior – was the target of infanticide soon after his birth. We read about this in Matthew: the Magi announced the birth of the real King of the Jews, angering King Herod (the people’s choice), who then attempted to preserve his power by ordering the murder of every baby boy in the vicinity of Bethlehem to make sure Jesus was eliminated.

The Massacre of Innocents, as it is known, is fairly similar to what goes on today with the targeting of babies for abortion. Babies being born to poor, single, and/or teenage mothers are bullied by weak minds, like yours, which can only envision them as inconvenient pulls on already strained systems of government aid. And I can speak from experience about the bullying of children conceived in rape. I watched and listened while you berated my baby boy while he bounced in my womb, his only “offense” being his audacity to continue living.

I wonder if Mary were living in today’s world, would our modern Mary’s friends support her and welcome the Christ child with love? Or would they bully her unborn son the way you bullied mine and pressure her into making him a statistic through abortion, the same way you “encouraged” me?

Based on my experiences with you, I’m sad to say I believe it would be the latter. And if Jesus Christ, having been bullied and targeted for the circumstances of his conception and birth, could be killed before he had the chance to save the world, what other gifts are we all missing out on when women are bullied into aborting the babies who would bring them?

The cures for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other devastating diseases? The ending of human trafficking, the development of nuclear weaponry, and war? Or, perhaps, all of the above and more.

I don’t know what all the gifts my 2-month-old son has brought with him to the
world are yet, though it is obvious that joy is one of them. I’m sure that will be more evident than ever when he plays the baby Jesus in the church Christmas pageant on the 24th.

When I think of my son Caleb’s own story: conceived in rape, bullied, targeted for abortion, born, loved… well, he didn’t come to save the world, but in many ways, he saved me by giving me a reason to continue living after the devastation of rape. You saw the opposite – the fake news you invented to avoid facing the truth, which is that a child conceived in bad circumstances is a child as worthy of life as you.

That’s why you called him horrible names and bullied him before he could even exit the womb. And it’s why you tried your best to convince me that he was an “evil,” unwelcome “spawn of Satan,” rather than a gift of God.

Satan’s only offering here arrived through you in the form of your ignorant statements, and I thank God for the wisdom to have seen that from the beginning, just as I thank him for giving each person inherent worth and value. That includes my son as much as it includes anyone else!

And you... well, know that I forgive you and pray for you. I pray you see your error. I pray you find truth. I pray you get to meet the baby who changed my life in every good way. I pray you let yourself experience God through my child — each and every time he smiles, there’s nothing to feel but the warm love of God.

And I pray you won’t feel compelled to bully another child, regardless of how he or she was conceived. Because whether we’re talking about the real baby Jesus or the baby who plays Jesus in a pageant and an elf at a Christmas party, all babies deserve more than you’ve given my son.

May you do better in 2018. May you build up instead of bullying and tearing down. May you love yourself enough to begin loving others.


Sincerely, 
The elf’s mom

BIO:  Paula K. Peyton is a writer, mother to Caleb and now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She resides in Memphis, TN.
Dear People Who Bullied My Unborn Child,

I’m going to call it what it was — bullying. You thought you were so smart when
you called my son “a spawn of Satan,” “Satan’s rape baby,” and “evil,” among other things. And you thought you were right to “warn” me of the dangers of bringing him into the world.

In your mind, he was just an extension of his rapist father, guaranteed to bring nothing but pain and heartache to me and to the world. And I know for sure you were uncomfortable and sometimes even mad about my decision to keep a child conceived in rape. You couldn’t imagine why in the world someone would want a baby you saw as being so worthless and loathsome, and when you realized I loved him, you eventually bullied him the way you’d been bullying me and trying to push me into aborting him.

Just like all bullies, you overlooked all the important things about my son and focused on something that was irrelevant and completely out of his control — his conception. And like all bullied children, he deserves better representation than the words you chose for him.

The reality is that this baby makes people smile everywhere he goes. He’s pretty smiley too! He has brightened the days of the elderly in a nursing home. Tuesday he dressed up like an elf to attend an angel tree party our church puts on for underprivileged kids from the elementary school nearby, and the kids were so excited to see him.

He makes people happy because he is a joyful, radiant light. This is the child you bullied — this sweet, giggly baby. And I’m the mom you tried to bully into aborting him.

Many times during pregnancy, I wondered how the Virgin Mary would’ve fared had she been a single, pregnant teenager in this century. Born into a poor family in the hills of Galilee and betrothed to a humble carpenter, Mary’s life seemed like one that would always remain humble and lackluster. And it was the womb of this poor, unmarried, young lady who God chose to bless with the life of Jesus.

Mary often comforted me during those late nights during my pregnancy when I was awake in bed thinking about the the way you treated my son. I’d think about her faith, the shaming and bullying she must’ve gone through in her own day and age, and that humble birth we celebrate each December. Her own son – our Lord and Savior – was the target of infanticide soon after his birth. We read about this in Matthew: the Magi announced the birth of the real King of the Jews, angering King Herod (the people’s choice), who then attempted to preserve his power by ordering the murder of every baby boy in the vicinity of Bethlehem to make sure Jesus was eliminated.

The Massacre of Innocents, as it is known, is fairly similar to what goes on today with the targeting of babies for abortion. Babies being born to poor, single, and/or teenage mothers are bullied by weak minds, like yours, which can only envision them as inconvenient pulls on already strained systems of government aid. And I can speak from experience about the bullying of children conceived in rape. I watched and listened while you berated my baby boy while he bounced in my womb, his only “offense” being his audacity to continue living.

I wonder if Mary were living in today’s world, would our modern Mary’s friends support her and welcome the Christ child with love? Or would they bully her unborn son the way you bullied mine and pressure her into making him a statistic through abortion, the same way you “encouraged” me?

Based on my experiences with you, I’m sad to say I believe it would be the latter. And if Jesus Christ, having been bullied and targeted for the circumstances of his conception and birth, could be killed before he had the chance to save the world, what other gifts are we all missing out on when women are bullied into aborting the babies who would bring them?

The cures for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other devastating diseases? The ending of human trafficking, the development of nuclear weaponry, and war? Or, perhaps, all of the above and more.

I don’t know what all the gifts my 2-month-old son has brought with him to the
world are yet, though it is obvious that joy is one of them. I’m sure that will be more evident than ever when he plays the baby Jesus in the church Christmas pageant on the 24th.

When I think of my son Caleb’s own story: conceived in rape, bullied, targeted for abortion, born, loved… well, he didn’t come to save the world, but in many ways, he saved me by giving me a reason to continue living after the devastation of rape. You saw the opposite – the fake news you invented to avoid facing the truth, which is that a child conceived in bad circumstances is a child as worthy of life as you.

That’s why you called him horrible names and bullied him before he could even exit the womb. And it’s why you tried your best to convince me that he was an “evil,” unwelcome “spawn of Satan,” rather than a gift of God.

Satan’s only offering here arrived through you in the form of your ignorant statements, and I thank God for the wisdom to have seen that from the beginning, just as I thank him for giving each person inherent worth and value. That includes my son as much as it includes anyone else!

And you... well, know that I forgive you and pray for you. I pray you see your error. I pray you find truth. I pray you get to meet the baby who changed my life in every good way. I pray you let yourself experience God through my child — each and every time he smiles, there’s nothing to feel but the warm love of God.

And I pray you won’t feel compelled to bully another child, regardless of how he or she was conceived. Because whether we’re talking about the real baby Jesus or the baby who plays Jesus in a pageant and an elf at a Christmas party, all babies deserve more than you’ve given my son.

May you do better in 2018. May you build up instead of bullying and tearing down. May you love yourself enough to begin loving others.


Sincerely, 
The elf’s mom



BIO:  Paula K. Peyton is a writer, mother to Caleb and now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She resides in Memphis, TN.
Dear People Who Bullied My Unborn Child,

I’m going to call it what it was — bullying. You thought you were so smart when
you called my son “a spawn of Satan,” “Satan’s rape baby,” and “evil,” among other things. And you thought you were right to “warn” me of the dangers of bringing him into the world.

In your mind, he was just an extension of his rapist father, guaranteed to bring nothing but pain and heartache to me and to the world. And I know for sure you were uncomfortable and sometimes even mad about my decision to keep a child conceived in rape. You couldn’t imagine why in the world someone would want a baby you saw as being so worthless and loathsome, and when you realized I loved him, you eventually bullied him the way you’d been bullying me and trying to push me into aborting him.

Just like all bullies, you overlooked all the important things about my son and focused on something that was irrelevant and completely out of his control — his conception. And like all bullied children, he deserves better representation than the words you chose for him.

The reality is that this baby makes people smile everywhere he goes. He’s pretty smiley too! He has brightened the days of the elderly in a nursing home. Tuesday he dressed up like an elf to attend an angel tree party our church puts on for underprivileged kids from the elementary school nearby, and the kids were so excited to see him.

He makes people happy because he is a joyful, radiant light. This is the child you bullied — this sweet, giggly baby. And I’m the mom you tried to bully into aborting him.

Many times during pregnancy, I wondered how the Virgin Mary would’ve fared had she been a single, pregnant teenager in this century. Born into a poor family in the hills of Galilee and betrothed to a humble carpenter, Mary’s life seemed like one that would always remain humble and lackluster. And it was the womb of this poor, unmarried, young lady who God chose to bless with the life of Jesus.

Mary often comforted me during those late nights during my pregnancy when I was awake in bed thinking about the the way you treated my son. I’d think about her faith, the shaming and bullying she must’ve gone through in her own day and age, and that humble birth we celebrate each December. Her own son – our Lord and Savior – was the target of infanticide soon after his birth. We read about this in Matthew: the Magi announced the birth of the real King of the Jews, angering King Herod (the people’s choice), who then attempted to preserve his power by ordering the murder of every baby boy in the vicinity of Bethlehem to make sure Jesus was eliminated.

The Massacre of Innocents, as it is known, is fairly similar to what goes on today with the targeting of babies for abortion. Babies being born to poor, single, and/or teenage mothers are bullied by weak minds, like yours, which can only envision them as inconvenient pulls on already strained systems of government aid. And I can speak from experience about the bullying of children conceived in rape. I watched and listened while you berated my baby boy while he bounced in my womb, his only “offense” being his audacity to continue living.

I wonder if Mary were living in today’s world, would our modern Mary’s friends support her and welcome the Christ child with love? Or would they bully her unborn son the way you bullied mine and pressure her into making him a statistic through abortion, the same way you “encouraged” me?

Based on my experiences with you, I’m sad to say I believe it would be the latter. And if Jesus Christ, having been bullied and targeted for the circumstances of his conception and birth, could be killed before he had the chance to save the world, what other gifts are we all missing out on when women are bullied into aborting the babies who would bring them?

The cures for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other devastating diseases? The ending of human trafficking, the development of nuclear weaponry, and war? Or, perhaps, all of the above and more.

I don’t know what all the gifts my 2-month-old son has brought with him to the
world are yet, though it is obvious that joy is one of them. I’m sure that will be more evident than ever when he plays the baby Jesus in the church Christmas pageant on the 24th.

When I think of my son Caleb’s own story: conceived in rape, bullied, targeted for abortion, born, loved… well, he didn’t come to save the world, but in many ways, he saved me by giving me a reason to continue living after the devastation of rape. You saw the opposite – the fake news you invented to avoid facing the truth, which is that a child conceived in bad circumstances is a child as worthy of life as you.

That’s why you called him horrible names and bullied him before he could even exit the womb. And it’s why you tried your best to convince me that he was an “evil,” unwelcome “spawn of Satan,” rather than a gift of God.

Satan’s only offering here arrived through you in the form of your ignorant statements, and I thank God for the wisdom to have seen that from the beginning, just as I thank him for giving each person inherent worth and value. That includes my son as much as it includes anyone else!

And you... well, know that I forgive you and pray for you. I pray you see your error. I pray you find truth. I pray you get to meet the baby who changed my life in every good way. I pray you let yourself experience God through my child — each and every time he smiles, there’s nothing to feel but the warm love of God.

And I pray you won’t feel compelled to bully another child, regardless of how he or she was conceived. Because whether we’re talking about the real baby Jesus or the baby who plays Jesus in a pageant and an elf at a Christmas party, all babies deserve more than you’ve given my son.

May you do better in 2018. May you build up instead of bullying and tearing down. May you love yourself enough to begin loving others.


Sincerely, 
The elf’s mom



BIO:  Paula K. Peyton is a writer, mother to Caleb and now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She resides in Memphis, TN.
Read her prior 

From Victimhood to Motherhood, I Chose Joy


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pro-Life Peru is Morally Superior, by Rebecca Kiessling

It is a great honor to have been invited to speak at Peru’s first international pro-life conference.  I’m
an attorney, wife, mother of 5, international pro-life speaker and writer, and the President of Save The 1 - a global pro-life organization with a network of over 525 who were conceived in rape (like me) and mothers who became pregnant by rape who are either raising their children, birthmothers, or post-abortive and regret aborting.  Additionally, we have hundreds of parents in our network who were told to abort due to a challenging pre-natal diagnosis, or those whose parents were told to abort them.  We value our lives and the lives of our children.  We urge the people of Peru to continue protecting human life without exception.

I’m sure you’ve heard abortion advocates say that it’s barbaric to force a rape victim to carry “a rapist’s child.”  First of all, I am not the child of a rapist – I am the child of a rape victim.  My mother and I object to me being characterized otherwise.  The rapist has no claim to me!  Tell those who say such things, do not insult me or my mother in this way.

Secondly, it is simply barbaric to punish an innocent child for someone else's crime.  Justice dictates that in a civilized society, we punish rapists, not babies. Those who would kill innocent children are the ones who are barbaric! 

I did not deserve the death penalty for the crime of my biological father.  My own birthmother had tried to kill me at two illegal abortions, and was pro-choice when we met 29 years ago, but today, we are thankful we were both protected by law from the horror of abortion, just as the women and children of Peru are protected today.   She said back then, the only option she was given was to abort me.  She said that there were no pro-life pregnancy resource centers at the time, and no one gave her any other help or hope.

Peru has legislators who have placed gun sights on children like me.  To them I say, take them off!  Remove me from your scope.  I am not your game to be hunted and killed.  I am a person and deserve life every bit as much as you.  This targeting of life is dehumanizing and demoralizing, not just for those yet unborn, but for every person living who was conceived in violence.  The sting of your hatred is palpable and life-long.

Legalizing abortion for rape or other exceptions sends a message to our people group that our lives
are worth less than anyone else’s.  Imagine hearing of some nation introducing an abortion ban with an exception in cases of babies conceived in Jewish homes, Catholic families, or from Latino moms. 
The message which would be sent is that these people are not worthy of living and did not deserve to be protected like everyone else.  There would be an international outcry if the legalization of such prejudice were even proposed because everyone would understand the discriminatory implications and intentions.  Yet, it is the same for us, and we ache from such malice and the reckless disregard for our lives.  Rape survivor mothers grieve how their children are systematically targeted and devalued.  They suffer more because they are not believed they were raped since they did not abort and because they actually love their children.

We appreciate concern for rape victims, but they are four times more likely to die within the next year after an abortion, as opposed to giving birth.  In Dr. David Reardon’s book, Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault, he cites the research done on the subject.  After an abortion, rape victims have a higher rate of being murdered, committing suicide, drug overdose, etc..  Rapists, child molesters and sex traffickers love abortion, which destroys the evidence and enables them to continue perpetrating.  Oftentimes, a girl’s own mother has been either trafficking her or leaving her unprotected. 

It is always the baby who is the hero of the story, by exposing the rape, delivering her out of the abusive situation, protecting her and bringing her healing.  So if you care about rape victims, you must protect her from the rapist and from the abortion, and not the baby!  The baby is not the scary enemy.  It’s just absurd to suggest that any woman should have to be afraid of a baby.

In regards to a pre-natal diagnosis of “incompatible with life” – it is impossible for the baby to be such when that unborn child is still living.  As long as there is a heartbeat, there is life and there is hope. Physicians who peddle abortion are truly the ones with fatal heart defects, often failing to treat the children of parents who refused to abort.  A eugenics mentality becomes pervasive when you allow abortion for any reason.

I see the language of the global abortion lobby and how they try to demean pro-life nations like Peru by characterizing them as antiquated and “third-world,” as if killing the most vulnerable is somehow “progressive.”  The truth is, Peru is a morally superior nation because they’ve established the most important characteristics of a culture – one where people are loved, protected, and accepted.  Child sacrifice is what’s antiquated.  Peruvians, please do not commence a culture of death and discrimination. 

We started a Spanish language division of Save The 1 -- Salvar El 1 -- a few years ago because we saw how Latin America is being targeted by the abortion forces.  They are using the rape issue to try to legalize abortion – on demand for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy at taxpayer expense, just like they did in the United States.  We know how critical our stories are for impacting the culture because it is stories which pierce the heart in ways in which arguments cannot.

In the United States landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe vs Wade which legalized abortion across the U.S., the pregnant woman Norma McCorvey – called Jane Roe, was told by her attorneys to lie that she was gang-raped.  They said this would make her case stronger.  Many years later, she sought to have her own case overturned, feeling the weight of over one million abortions per year on her shoulders.  Nearly 60 million children have been killed in the womb based upon a lie of rape.  The abortion advocates know this and that’s why they exploit the violation of women to open the door for killing any and all unborn children.

As I speak globally, I tell people about the good people of Peru and how they fight like their own lives depend on it – how a year and a half ago, Peruvians successfully defeated the efforts to legalize abortion in cases of rape, and how one month later, they had 700,000 pro-life people attend their March for Life in Lima!  It took the U.S. 40 years of legalized abortion to finally have 700,000 attend our March for Life. 

Everyone I tell is amazed that Peru not only had that many people, but that they cared enough to show up to take a stand for the child conceived in rape.  Do you know how many people attended the March for Life in the U.S. when they began legalizing abortion in cases of rape across the southern states in the late 1960’s?  None!  There was no March for Life because scarcely anyone cared!  It wasn’t until abortion became legal for any reason that a March was organized.  Not so in Peru.  The people of Peru are very wise to be so vigilant now.

When I was asked to speak in Peru at the first ever international pro-life conference, I jumped at the opportunity to meet people who are truly my heroes and to be a source of information and encouragement.  Peru demonstrates to the world how to value all life.  They are the pro-life role models throughout the globe! 

Recently, the advocates for abortion have again introduced a bill in Peru’s legislature to legalize abortion in cases of rape.  The forces of death and destruction are not going away.  I urge the good people of Peru, do not relent!  Please, don’t let your nation turn into a killing field like the U.S., like Canada, like so much of Europe and Asia.  Don’t spill the blood of innocent Peruvian children on your land.  Continue protection without exception, from the moment of conception.

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is the founder and President of Save The 1.  She's a wife, mother, attorney,
international speaker, writer and activist.  She's spoken in legislatures around the world, including in Brazil, Chile, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Poland, Malta, Canada and the United States Congress, and many state legislatures. Rebecca has also worked on crafting and introducing legislation to protect rape victims and their children, including the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act and the Pregnant Rape Victims Act.  As an attorney, she's litigated numerous high-profile cases, on a pro bono basis, of international attention defending human life and rape victim mothers and their children.  She's also the co-founder of Embryo Defense.
Friday, November 17, 2017

From Victimhood to Motherhood, I Chose Joy, by Paula K. Peyton

During my pregnancy, I read stories of other women who had become pregnant by rape, sometimes twice daily.  Those stories were a source of hope and made me feel like I wasn't alone and reaffirmed that it was normal to love my child.  I'm writing my story now in the hope that other woman will know that they are not alone, but I also feel that I owe it to my son to advocate for babies like him.

Six years ago, through some friends who worked there, I took a volunteer position with Planned Parenthood as an outreach HIV tester and counselor, so I was out in the community and really never spent time at the clinic, except for the certification training.  Being in the abortion clinic made me uncomfortable to know that in another room down the hallway there is a baby dying.  I took the position because I wanted to help people know their status with HIV.

At that point in time, I described myself as “personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice.” I never would have encouraged someone to have an abortion, but I realize now that my silence on the issue of life had a real-life impact.  One day, when speaking to a rape victim who came to me for an HIV test and thought she might be pregnant, I was silent.  Years later, I knew I had been complicit in whatever occurred later when she followed up with clinic staff.  I used to think of her occasionally.  I knew what it was like to be raped because I had become a victim at the age of 16.  But I didn’t know what it was like -- as I used to think -- to “carry a rapist around inside of you.” 

Back then, even as someone who was “personally pro-life,” I thought it must be awful to be in such a position:  choose yourself and your sanity, or this child created in horror.  I would think, "How could anyone decide what to do there?"  In my mind, I certainly could understand someone making an appointment for an abortion.  The memory of that woman grieves me now, as I can see my own foolishness clearly.

This mind-clearing began in the summer of 2016 when I, as a single woman, unexpectedly got pregnant.  This reel of unfortunate events began with a guy and a stupid decision and ended with a miscarriage and heartbreak.  Few people in my life know about the baby I lost. I hid her away in my heart and tried to move on with my life, knowing that she was never meant to be.  After all, I have a diagnosed infertility problem.  Pregnancy was something I was supposed to work for and earn with years of doctors visits and prayer – in my mind anyway.  

Losing that baby, for a time, felt like payback for my prior involvement with Planned Parenthood and my ownership of a political position which championed the "right to choose."  

My family helped me have a tiny memorial service for the little girl I carry in my heart, and things started to click for me in my head.  If I believed my child’s life deserved to be memorialized even though she hadn’t taken a breath, didn’t all babies lost in the womb deserve the same?  And if I considered them to be living -- which would mean aborting them was a form of murder -- how could I remain complicit in the murder of babies?  

But what about those women who "NEEDED" to have abortions?  What about the women who shouldn’t be “forced to carry rapists’ babies,” who "definitely needed the procedure?" I had to table my thoughts and just be okay with it for their benefit.  Who better to speak for them than someone who had no idea what she was talking about?  I laugh at my ignorance-based arrogance now.

January 2017 rolled around, and I began my year with hopes of returning to college to finish my four-year degree in the fall.  I would spend the months in between trying to figure out if I wanted to prep for law school or try to pursue seminary education.  Yes, I have a faith background.  I made the decision to be baptized when I was 10, but I had always separated my religious beliefs from my politics.

I was getting to know a new guy who seemed nice enough.  It was going to be a productive year.  Halfway through January, I went out for a couple of drinks with a female friend on a Saturday.  We participated in a fundraiser to support native water rights activists, which involved making a donation to get Standing Rock tattoos.  With my arm covered in plastic wrap to protect the new ink as it began to heal, I stopped by this new guy’s apartment for a short visit.  He did what guys sometimes do – made a move.  My arm was hurting, and after my miscarriage, I had made a decision for purity and just did not want to go through that again.  So I declined his advances making it clear to him I wasn't interested in that and started toward the door to leave.  

I was completely shocked and frozen when his roommate came out from his bedroom with a gun in his hand and got between me and the door.  The guy I'd been with told me, "I don't think you're gonna leave right now."  I was terrified.  I thought, "This is it for me.  My life is going to end."  The whole time I was praying to God that I would live as the two of them raped me at gunpoint that night.  

When it was all over, the guy told me I could leave, and as I walked out, he said "Thanks for a great time."  In that moment, I felt like a huge piece of trash.  As I drove home, I got to the point where I didn't really feel much of anything, like I was merely existing and just numb. 

I went home and showered and showered and showered. I tried to call friends, but couldn't reach anyone and was not about to leave a message.  

At church that morning, I spoke to my priest who was very supportive of me as a rape victim.  But she actually took me to Walgreens to buy Plan B, which I never took because it wasn't something I was comfortable with.  I don't take birth control because I'm not comfortable with it.  I already knew Plan B  could have the effect of preventing implantation if an embryo was already created.  I was worried about STDs, and of course, I was concerned about pregnancy since I knew the timing and that I could be ovulating.  I'd had discussions with friends in the past about Plan B and we had talked about not knowing if you would have lost a baby or not, and I had already concluded that it would be horrible not knowing.

I guess I realized that what happened, happened, and that if I were pregnant, this was MY baby.  I don't know who my own biological father is, so to me, what's the difference?  Your genetic parents are not who define you and I already knew that.

Two weeks later, I found myself back in Walgreens, returning the Plan B, in exchange for pregnancy tests.  I'm sure the cashier was ready to Facebook that hilarious moment! 

“What if I’m pregnant?” I thought over and over.  Twenty minutes later, looking at a positive test in my bathroom, I was able to answer that question:  I was having a baby. . . .  And I was overflowing with joy!

In the days and weeks that followed, I slowly shared my news with my closest friends, and more often than not, they offered me pity-ridden faces and one question asked in a way that seemed as if they thought the answer was obvious: “What are you going to do?” I guess they assumed I’d respond with an appointment time, a clinic name, or some other portion of a carefully-arranged abortion plan.

“I’m choosing joy,” I’d say, and it would be instantly clear that my answer was the furthest thing from the one they were anticipating.  It seemed like everyone thought I was crazy, but nothing about wanting my child seemed strange to me.  They didn’t understand that the moment I had seen that positive pregnancy test, I realized just how faithful God is to us.

I felt so dead inside for the entirety of those two weeks between my victimhood and the discovery of my pending motherhood.  Everything I did in those two weeks seemed like an act of mourning.  Rape is devastating.  It’s the killing of one’s spirit in a deep, physical way. In contrast, pregnancy was such a revolutionary revival!  The Lord had taken one of the worst things in my life -- something so dark and damaging -- and He had created life.  After weeks of that darkness controlling everything I did, there was suddenly a light.

In a plot twist that the "old me" never saw coming, the only choice I -- as a pregnant rape victim -- needed to make was to embrace that light, and I did.  It took about a second and a half for my heart to fill with love for the little one growing underneath it – so much love that my heart couldn’t contain it all and it began spilling everywhere.  I smiled for the first time in two weeks, and I couldn’t stop.

Then the bleeding started. . . .

I was about 4.5 weeks pregnant and went to the bathroom at a friend’s birthday party only to discover blood.  My heart sank.  Was I having another miscarriage?  The bleeding wasn’t heavy.  I wasn’t cramping.  A quick google search from the bathroom led me to a hopeful place: sometimes this can happen and it’s not the end.  As the bleeding continued, I did a lot of praying while I waited for the day of my first ultrasound appointment to arrive.  At 6 weeks and 5 days, my little one had a heartbeat and my smile returned.

My gynecologist referred me to an obstetrician, and a week later I had another ultrasound at her office.  The bleeding had gotten heavier between the two appointments, but the baby was still okay.  My new OB told me that bleeding happens sometimes in the first trimester.  It’s not normal, but also not uncommon.  She said I shouldn’t worry unless it got heavier.  It did, time and time again.

Each time followed the same pattern: the discovery of extra heavy bleeding, tears, a call to the doctor, instructions to come in or (when outside of business hours) to go to the ER for an ultrasound -- a wait that was always too long, then a strong heartbeat, and a tearful prayer of thanksgiving.

I prayed every day for months that my child would survive.  All the while, I slowly informed a selection of people about my pregnancy.  One minute, I’d be begging God to protect my unborn child from death in the womb.  The next, I’d receive that question (“What are you going to do?”), followed soon after by the unwelcome advice to get an abortion "before it's too late."  Sometimes they’d offer to pay for it, as if finances could be the only reason I wasn’t killing my child.  The comments grew worse as the time passed:

“So you’re just going to give birth to the spawn of Satan? Abort it.”

“That thing is evil.”

“You should get rid of the devil baby.”

There are so many more, all permanently imprinted on my mind.  I cut quite a few people out of my life completely.  I had encountered enough pain during and immediately after my rape.  The pain of hearing their comments, some made even as late as 26 weeks (long after I was calling my son by his name), was too much to bear.  Having people tell me that my baby should be killed and comparing him to Satan was easily a thousand times worse than being raped.  My son had done nothing wrong!  How could he have?  He hadn’t even had the chance to draw a breath of air into his lungs!

Around the time I was 16-1/2 weeks, my OB had become more concerned about the constant bleeding since it could no longer be blamed on first trimester weirdness.  She did more tests and discovered that I had a particular sexually transmitted infection I contracted during the rape which hadn’t been covered by the preventative treatments I received in the days following the assault.  It had caused my cervix to become incredibly irritated and inflamed, and left untreated, it could lead to preterm labor and the death of a baby too small to survive outside the womb.  

The diagnosis took about a week, but the subsequent treatment didn’t quite rid my body of the infection.  It came roaring back, and the bleeding didn’t stop for good until a couple of days before I was 20 weeks pregnant, after two more rounds of pills.  Peace was short-lived because, at 20 weeks to the day, I got a stomach virus which landed me in the hospital for severe dehydration. Yet, somehow, my son's strong heartbeat prevailed.

Through all the terrifying moments, I was almost completely alone because too many people just didn’t understand how I could let this child continue to live, grow, and bounce around in my belly.  Pregnancy is hard, but it’s definitely harder when your friends listen to the culture surrounding us and don’t value life.

My son's movements got stronger, and I began to feel hiccups and turns.  Before long, I was 39 weeks and checking in to be induced at the hospital.  I didn’t accept offers for an epidural.  The nurses kept telling me I was “such a rockstar” for dealing with Pitocin contractions without pain medication.  

The truth is, no contraction is ever as painful as the experience of people telling me how much they hated my perfect and innocent son before he was born.  They thought I’d see my rapist in my son.  I didn't and I don’t. (He actually looks exactly like I did at his age.)  They thought I wouldn’t be able to love him.  I absolutely do! They thought temporary financial hardship was too much to handle.  It isn’t.  They thought he’d be born evil.  No baby has ever given a mama as much joy as he has brought into my life.

Every single one of these reasons is one that was used to justify targeting and killing him because people see him as having originated differently than others.  My son was conceived in rape, but his life -- like that of every other human being -- began with God.  And like any other baby, people fall in love with him easily -- including some of the people who offered to pay a doctor to kill him.  He shows people how wrong they were every single day.  

That list includes his mama because I once thought the same way.

My son, Caleb Ehren Matthew, whose name means whole-hearted, honorable gift of God, is sun-shiny days and magic wands and a deep breath of mountain air.  He is joy after and in the midst of mourning.  He is light -- so much light.

I recently read this quote often misattributed to Plato but of unknown authorship: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

That’s the one thing I pray Caleb’s life can teach others:  there’s no reason to fear the blessing of light, even and especially when it comes in the form of a child.

BIO:  Paula K. Peyton is a writer, mother to Caleb and now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She resides in Memphis, TN.