Elle is a lady who is humble and loving. She is one who has faced great challenges and overcome them. Her story is this: At 19 years old, Elle found herself in college, unmarried, and pregnant. All the good things she hoped for herself suddenly became impossible for her to achieve, so she thought. She was told some staggering and sobering statistics that her child, a daughter, would have even greater struggles and challenges because she was an unwed mother. She considered adoption throughout her entire pregnancy, but she ultimately decided to keep her baby and raise her. She struggled to get on the path she wanted, but by taking it step by step, she became the person she wanted to be. Elle’s unexpected pregnancy did not ruin her for the rest of her life. Choosing to raise her daughter did not keep her from achieving her goals. Elle learned self-acceptance and self-love and understands that she is just as deserving to be loved as anyone else. She finished college, married, had more children, and is now a great example and inspiration to others. Her daughter, who is now 18 years old, has also become a fine young woman who is a great example of selflessness and unconditional love to others.
I, too, have two boys that I get to raise on my own. I was never married to their father, and, like Elle, I was 19 and in college when I found out I was pregnant with Edward. Then, I am sure you could imagine the great disappointment and panic of finding out that I was pregnant yet again only nine months later with Matthias. Life did not end for me, or their father. Sure, I had to endure lecture after lecture about abstinence, safe sex, and the value of marriage. It was humiliating and really degraded my self-esteem and sense of self-worth. However, I have overcome that stigma of being an unwed mother. I find it a privilege to have children, to raise them, along with their father, and see them succeed in school. I again have had to relearn to forgive myself and overcome the guilt and low self-esteem after placing Matthew for adoption.
So you see, even when we face challenges, whether they be created by ourselves or circumstances beyond our control, we have choices. Those choices, in most situations, are incredibly difficult and more often than not, have lifelong consequences. They affect us, and others, for the rest of our lives. In circumstances when a woman truly struggles with the decision whether to place her baby for adoption or keep her baby, the choices always have lifelong consequences. Those circumstances do not define who we are; they do not determine our fate, nor do they determine our worth or what we are capable of. We are neither doomed for life nor undeserving to be happy. We may struggle with shame, guilt, feelings of unworthiness, and loss of hope. However, no matter how much we believe we have screwed up, or how much we believe we have messed up our lives, life goes on. We make mistakes and find ourselves in difficult situations, and from there, we make the choices we think are best. No matter what we decide, the journey becomes one of learning self-forgiveness, self-love, and self-worth. When we learn these things, we experience peace and true happiness because it means accepting and loving ourselves.
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