My story began four years ago. Our bus departed into the dark January night, seats full of shower deprived college students beginning the dreaded overnight journey back from the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. It was my third time making the trip, but this one was different. Before our bus driver kicked it into gear, the captains counted heads and handed each passenger a paper packet asking us to reflect on what we can do beyond the March.
It was an attempt to propel our passion into action in hopes that more students would realize that January 22nd wasn’t the only day we were being called to stand up for the sanctity of human life. I had a decision to make as I thumbed through the list of “ways to get involved” on campus. I suddenly realized that my apathy was a betrayal to 1/3 of the human race. My silence on the 364 other days of the year was in reality, surrendering to the indifference that vastly plagued our culture. I was standing for life when it was thrilling, comfortable, and convenient. I wasn’t standing when it counted the most.
This is where it started. One moment on a smelly crowded bus that took me by the hand and taught me how to fight the most honorable and worthy battle I have ever known. One question whose answer grew deeper in importance with each passing year: When is life worth fighting for?
I can honestly say that my life changed forever after that. I found myself folding baby clothes in a basement of a pregnancy center, hosting baby showers for mothers in need on my campus, becoming the President of my college Pro-Life club, hosting national speakers, and educating students through displays and tabling events. I quickly realized that not everyone at my women’s liberal arts college was willing to accept that supporting women and fighting for the sanctity of human life was possible. People began to talk. People began to judge. People began to criticize, assume, and misunderstand. It was no longer comfortable, convenient, or thrilling. It was the fight for life I had only read about. It was the fight that hurt.
The pain was real, but only fueled the flame that was ignited in my heart long ago. It was a flame that went into the darkness looking for those women who were lost in the fear, doubt and lies. The flame went searching, and its light quickly revealed what the world often tried to hide: the undeniable and insurmountable love of a mother for her unborn child. When this love is given a chance to flourish, it contains power. The power to drive out fear, overcome doubts and reveal the truth about who we are as women. This is a love that is worth protecting and a love worth fighting for.
Flash forward four years later. I am standing in a hospital room holding a newborn baby girl in Phoenix, Arizona who was born with the sun just this morning at my home. A little tiny precious girl whose existence has restored her mother’s purpose in life and given her a reason to let her heart love again. A love worth protecting. A life worth fighting for.
There are no words to explain what it feels like to live with pregnant mothers whose situations are everything but “ready” for a new baby. They are usually single, unplanned, financially strained and lacking support. In the eyes of the modern world, they have every “right” and reason to justify the termination of their pregnancy. A decision that is meant to “empower” her at the expense of love, a love she buries deep within the walls of her heart. This love is always there, but often gets hidden in the darkness.
My work at Maggie’s Place has continued to expand my vision of what a Pro-Life world should look like. I cannot begin to cover all the experiences that have sewn a deep conviction in my heart that unborn children and their mothers are BOTH lives we must never stop fighting for. The beautiful part about this mission is it shines the light of truth into the darkness of these mothers’ lives, restoring their hope, dignity, and ability to love and be loved. There is no judgment or condemnation but rather healing and hope. It is the epitome of what it means to support women and fight for the sanctity of human life.
The pregnancies that we get to witness at our homes are constantly proving to us the power of this love between a mother and her child. From those first ultrasound pictures, first kicks in the womb, first day of being alive outside the womb and first smiles of joy their babies bring to us, we witness that love being unleashed and flooding the hearts of their mothers. It is a love that is worth the fight.
I am so thankful that Maggie’s Place has enabled me to keep fighting the battle I chose to be a part of four years ago on that bus. Promoting the sanctity of all human life through unconditionally loving and supporting every single pregnant mother that we encounter is the most beautiful work I have been a part of.
I will remember the faces and names of so many women whose lives have been transformed and unexpectedly blessed by their unplanned pregnancy. Each of their stories reminds me that life is ALWAYS worth fighting for.
By Jana Zuniga, a MissionCorps