Updated: Aug 26
Emily vividly remembers the moment when life as she knew it came to an end.
“I had gotten a test and was sitting in my bathroom waiting,” she describes. “And then I found out I was pregnant. So, of course, I’m bawling to myself – I didn’t know what I was going to do!”
But the frightened 25-year-old knew that she couldn’t keep this to herself.
“I called my sister Sarah,” Emily recounts. “And she didn’t even have to look at me, she already knew. She just asked me what was wrong.”
Level-headed Sarah calmed Emily down and volunteered to join her in breaking the news to their mother, Elena.
“We both told her,” Emily relays. “And she freaked out.”
Elena lets out a derisive little laugh and shakes her head. “The way I first reacted, sitting there at the computer… How? Why?”
“She got me another test to make sure,” Emily continues. “And she told me to look at all my options, so I did.”
“My option was to do research,” Elena interjects. “It wasn’t so much abortion, it was, what are you going to do? Where are you going to live? What is your life going to look like? Do the research. Figure it out.”
Emily describes the first month following her discovery as, “Absolute hell. It was so hard at first. You’re thinking about it, you’re researching like crazy, you’re not sleeping at night… and then the weeks are going by and she’s growing!”
Feeling the pressure to make a decision as soon as possible, Emily visited a nearby abortion clinic, where she did an ultrasound and found out that the baby was about 6 weeks old.
“They kind of encouraged it,” she says of the technicians. “And I said, thank you for the ultrasound. I’m going to think about it.”
Also on the list of potential options was adoption, but Emily questioned her ability to let go of her child after having carried her to term.
“I don’t think I could have handled that. I mean, how do you part? Adoption is a beautiful thing, but I think emotionally, I would have been destroyed.”
Which left her with one final option – keep the baby and begin life as a single parent.
“You think, I’m having a baby at 25, I’m not married, what are people going to think of me? Also, is it selfish to bring a child into this world knowing that my circumstances could have been better?”
But Emily was quick to consider – and favour – the other side of things.
“It’s life,” she breathes reverently. “I just thought, what if? If I did go through that procedure, would it have really altered my life in a positive way? Versus, I brought a life into this world. I’m always the type to be hopeful, to see the bright side of things.”
“I thought, life is a good thing. It’s going to bring so much love.”
Still, Emily wrestled with her options for a few more weeks before making her final decision. But ultimately, love won out.
“If there was anybody, it was probably me that brought the most negativity for the first two weeks,” Elena admits. “My thing was my past. That was something for me to get over.”
After struggling to raise her two daughters as a single mother, Elena was hesitant to watch her own daughter experience that same fate.
“I’ve given up my life for the benefit of Em and Sarah,” Elena attests, the soft shimmer in her eyes a sweet foil to her strong and composed exterior. “They’re my world. But they weren’t their father’s world.”
That was a concern for Emily as well, who wondered what her daughter’s life would look like, and how the baby’s father would fit into it.
“In the end, it didn’t matter what he was doing,” Emily concludes. “It’s what I’m doing. I’m the mother and I’m going to be there for her for the rest of her life. You need one good parent, right?”
“I was bawling my eyes out when she said that,” Elena chimes in. “Because I’ve always said that.” Still, devoted though one parent may be, “It takes a village.”
Emily agrees wholeheartedly.
“I don’t think it’s possible to do this on your own, honestly,” she marvels. “My mom and sister have been my rock. They’ve helped me through everything.”
From accompanying Emily to her ultrasound appointments to painting the nursery to searching for the best deal on baby gear, the trio of women have been, “missioning together.”
“To be quite honest,” Emily reveals. “Before this, we were all in our own little worlds. Emilia brought us together and made us more of a family.”
Baby Emilia’s arrival also brought about a change in Emily.
“I feel like a totally different person,” she shares openly. “I feel like I’ve grown so much, and it’s only been a month!”
But by far, the biggest transformation has been her perspective.
“It’s no longer about me,” Emily claims. “It’s about Emilia and her well-being.”
“If it came right down to it, I would die for her.”
But Emily is quick to add that this sacrificial mindset came naturally.
“As soon as I held her in the hospital,” Emily begins. “As gross as she was, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I love you, and I don’t even know you yet. We’re going to get to know each other.’ It was a beautiful moment.”
So much so that the mere recollection is enough to bring tears to her eyes.
“I don’t know if it’s my hormones,” she jokes, swiping at her eyes. “I just feel like crying!”
All kidding aside, it’s obvious that this emotion hasn’t welled up from an influx of hormones, but rather, from a surge of unconditional love.
“I think back, like, how stupid was I to even go to that abortion clinic?” Emily questions aloud. “Why was that even an option? It’s just sad.”
Gazing down at the face of her sleeping child, Emily appears every inch the devoted mother – dedicated to her daughter and unyielding in her resolve to seek her good.
“Every day, I look at her and I thank God that I went through with having her.”
It seems like Elena speaks for all of us when she concludes with this quiet comment:
“Life is life… she made the right decision.”