She chose me

As abortion has become an intense topic in our country, I feel called to share my family story. As the youngest of three children, I was oblivious as a child to what had come before me. With one sister 19 years older and another sister 9 years older, as I look back, it felt like having two moms and a cool aunt.

When I got older I wondered why my sisters and I were so far apart in age. As a teenager I remember asking my “cool aunt” sister why we were so far apart in age. She explained that our mother had had at least 10 miscarriages, possibly more.

My parents wanted a big family. It wasn't in the cards. By the time I came along when my mom was 40 I was welcomed warmly into the family. Into a family that while very dysfunctional, I was wanted and supported in the ways they knew how to give. For good and for bad, they chose me.

To say that disharmony existed in my family home is a bit of an understatement. At times it felt more like a war zone. Yet we had a deal, my alcoholic mother and I. My dad was the peacekeeper which in truth meant there was never any peace. No matter what was said, what was unresolved, we got up the next morning and did it all over again. My family life was painful and dysfunctional.

I can give countless reasons why I wouldn't want anyone to experience my childhood and yet my overwhelming sense, from this point in my life, is I was fortunate. Some of that good fortune has been well-earned. I have spent much of adulthood consciously and unconsciously healing childhood wounds. Part of that healing is forgiveness. The willingness to give up all hope for a better yesterday. Another part is being grateful for the gifts that were given by my parents and through my gratitude I am now able to receive.

At this moment, in the midst of this national conversation on abortion, the big gift I am receiving is the awareness that I was chosen by two parents who went through hell to have a child. I was that child. I am here because they chose me. Over and over again, they chose me.

I pray that we as Americans will preserve this right to choose. To know life is sacred and a woman must have the right to choose.

Martin Perkins