Catholic Vitamin C: Cooperation

DATE RAPED AND PREGNANT

Her name is Sara. We’ve watched her grow from a lovely teen in high school, to a young girl going off to college about two hours from us up in Flagstaff. We even went to visit her and take her to lunch one time.

But — but… evil found its way into Sara’s life. She went to a party and was date-raped. When she went to the medical center to start the reporting process (one which she describes as really humiliating), some of the med staff tried persuading her to take the ‘free’ Plan B Morning After pill. When she questioned whether it would kill a child in the womb, they told her “it doesn’t really kill a baby, it keeps a baby from being formed in your womb.” Yeh, sure. Well, indeed Sara was pregnant from this rape.

Our interview with Sara informs us that she made the decision to keep the life inside of her – a life soon to happen… an infant whose name is Elizabeth Ann DeWitt.  

SARA’S ESSAY AND TALK

Sara was asked to write an essay — and deliver it as a talk at a Campus Newman Center retreat. Here’s Sara’s essay on love. Unedited. (And see further down for another awesome Pro-Life article by a local area mother, Kerry.

L O V E

An Essay & Talk by Sara E. DeWitt

Are there different kinds of love? Yes, there are and I am going to talk about them with you. My name is Sara DeWitt, and welcome to my speech. The theological Greek forms of love include: Philia, a brotherly love as with family and friends; Eros, the love a husband and wife share; Agape, the everlasting love only provided by our Lord. And the fourth Greek form of love, though philosophical, is Storge, a love between a mother and her offspring.

An example of Philia in my life is how my sister is one of my Godparents. Though we may make different decisions about our faith, it does not keep us from having lengthy discussions about the Almighty. It brings us not only closer to each other, but closer to Him as well. She has helped me when I need guidance or someone to talk to about the things our dad does nobody else could understand as much as we do. Philia also is friendship. The help my friends give me shows this love all the time.

Pope Benedict XVI initially introduced Eros in his first encyclical. Eros can be one of the highest forms of earthly love given to us from God. Its purpose is to bring couples together to grow in God’s love more than they could alone. It leads us deeper to make a gift to agape. Unfortunately, this can be distorted into a strictly physical passionate form that takes God away from the picture. This perversion of Eros is more seemingly portrayed as socially acceptable in today’s society. Media paints one picture of how college life is, but is reality really like that? Our society doesn’t always value the true love we were meant to share with one another. If I put God’s love first, he will bless all of my future relationships. If that relationship ends, I will still have God. In my life, I have a direct example of society’s distortion of Eros. It started one night last November when a friend invited me to a party. When I got there, I realized I only had met 2 other people there once before. At one point somebody got a hold of my cup, and I thought I could trust the people there I was with, but they had very selfish evil motives. I didn’t realize I was in a dangerous situation until it was too late. At that party I became a victim of sexual assault. My most personal, delicate nature was violated. I felt used, abused and weak. Though I felt powerless, I knew I had to help myself. That same morning everything happened, I went to North Country Healthcare where they took tests, gave me medication, and where I told what happened… over… and over again to different people. Once to the lady writing a report for the exam, to the police officer writing a report, for the Victim’s Witness advocate, and again for the detective writing his report. By repeating my story that needed to be told, and each time I told it, I became stronger than the last. This was hard, but I know God was there with me helping me get through it. Going through this whole process is the hardest part of what needs to be done after an assault, but knowing I stuck up for myself when nobody else could has helped me heal from such a devastating experience. Even though my self-esteem felt low, it was actually higher than ever because God gave me the courage to help prevent it from happening to other girls. I knew that this assault was not the definition of Eros I have come to know.

Agape is the beloved care our creator provides us. Like John 1 chapter 4 verse 16 “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” God heals and turning to him was the only way I found true comfort because I know I could trust him to lead me. I say this, but honestly so soon after this happening; feelings of confusion are all I had when praying. While attempting to pray, crying out of hurt was all I could do while I sensed him holding me in his arms. Agape is love that is never altered; it never is greater at one point in my life than another. This is God’s love, which is unconditional as a mother’s love, Storge, should be unconditional. Which brings me to my current journey. All of the stress I was feeling was not easy. My mom and dad’s support has helped me tremendously and makes it obvious how strong Storge can be. At an attempt to help me get back into a regular routine, my mom came to visit me at my apartment here in Flagstaff. I bought pregnancy tests in anticipation to find out what the doctor could tell me at my next appointment because I didn’t want to wait. I just needed to know. Without telling her, I took one of the tests. I waited until the result was ready, and then without any hesitation or emotion showed it to my mom. I was in a state of urgency. I wasn’t sad, I wasn’t happy. Until she tried convincing me that it was not really a positive result. I proved it to her, and she still insisted on how it was possible that I wasn’t pregnant. I wasn’t that surprised with the result, because I had prepared myself as it being a possibility. Her shoulder was there for me to cry on after our discussion, and they were tears of pure pain. After taking the at home tests twice, my mom was convinced more as well as myself of the new life growing inside me. The doctor’s appointment only validated everything on paper. So many mixed nervous feelings ranging from thinking years in the future to how much weight I’m going to gain were jumbling around my head. To help me sort out these feelings, I went to Father Matt who helped me realize taking it one day at a time is probably the best idea. Father Matt was the first person I told about my decision that I had been leaning towards. I want to keep this child to raise myself. Abortion was never an option when trying to decide what to do. It seriously never even crossed my mind. A question often asked is, wouldn’t I remember what happened every time I looked at my child, and my response to that is no because the baby is a different life, not a memory. God took me and turned my nerves to love. Out of such a selfish act came such great love, and God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle. During one of my visits to the Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center, I wrote a letter to my baby that I would like to share with all of you. Dear baby, I love you. I have dreamt about you before you were even born. I am excited to have you be a part of my life. Thank you for not causing me morning sickness! God has given me the blessing of carrying you, and I am eternally grateful. Love, Mommy.

God’s love can be different for everyone. To me it means consolidation. It gives me comfort. His love is all I need and long for, and I can never get enough. I have experienced love in many different ways in my life. In my friendships, through passionate love, an Eros turned inward and used for selfish pleasure rather than the good of another, but I’ve also seen agape love. And the new love I have, storge, is monumental for my child I have never even met. I am overcome with love. Even when such evil and selfishness came, God’s love shone through. Why did I choose life? The answer is love.

KERRY’S ARTICLE

We have a dear friend in our parish. Her name is Kerry, and she and her husband have six young, young children. The first born child is Alex — and Kerry would like you to know that the ‘authorities’ told Kerry she should terminate the pregnancy which later gave birth to Alex. Here’s her story written about three or four years ago.

I was twenty three years old and four months pregnant when my blood work came back bad. I was told to get right in to see a perinatologist. After receiving some genetic counseling followed by an ultrasound, my husband and I discovered we were going to be parents to a baby girl and that she had an omphalocele (her intestines were in a sac on the outside of her body).  We were told that her chances of having more birth defects were high and that we should consider terminating the pregnancy, which wasn’t an option for us. We loved her so much already.

We spent the next few months getting a lot of ultrasounds and preparing for parenthood. This would be our first child. At thirty two weeks into the pregnancy I developed preeclampsia and was air lifted to the hospital in Phoenix where my daughter would be born four days later. Two days after arriving at the hospital, during an ultrasound, it was discovered that my daughter would have Beckwith Weidemann Syndrome. They could tell by her large pertruding tongue (macroglossia), her large size (macrosomia), and the omphalocele. Two days later, Alexandra was born weighing in at 7lbs 8oz. She was not breathing on her own and had to be put on an oscillating ventilator. She had surgery done the day she was born to repair the omphalocele. The surgeon did a beautiful job giving her a “homemade” belly button. She battled some small complications including a heart murmur, hypoglycemia, and pneumonia. We were told that out of any syndrome your child could be born with, Beckwith Weidemann Syndrome would be a good one because things get better with time, instead of worse. We did not get to hold her until she was eleven days old. She spent forty nine days in the hospital before we got to finally bring her home. We brought her home with monitors and a feeding tube, because of her large tongue it was hard for her to eat by mouth. Each day got a little better though. We loved our daughter so much. We didn’t think there was anything we couldn’t overcome.

The years have gone by and Alex has done wonderful. She has had to get ultrasounds and blood work done every three months since she was born to look for tumors on her kidneys and liver. She will continue to be monitored until she is fourteen. The tests have all come out good so far. Her large tongue was causing her jaw and teeth to grow wrong, so we decided to get a consultation from a craniofacial surgeon and made the decision to have her tongue reduced. It was a tough surgery to have the sides, front, and middle of her tongue cut off. We knew there were pros and cons to the surgery. In the end the surgery was a success and her teeth and jaw immediately began to go back into place. Her face looks beautiful. She struggled with speech a little bit, but working with a therapist, overcame her troubles.

Alex is now nine years old and such a joy. She has had many obstacles to overcome since the day she was born. She has endured more pain in her young life than most people endure in a lifetime. But she has inspired so many people with her strength. She is smart, beautiful, good at sports, good at art, loving, and wonderful big sister to four little sisters now. We can’t imagine life without her. We feel so blessed that God has given us the gift of Alex to our family. She has taught us about life and what is important. We are so glad we chose life for her, and we know by looking in her smiling face each day that she is glad too.

 

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