My junior year of college, I got pregnant. I was married, but the top layer of my wedding cake had barely frozen and unwritten thank you cards lay strewn on my living room carpet. I wasn't ready to get married; I certainly wasn't prepared for pregnancy and parenthood. But I was the personification of readiness compared with the man who was then my husband, whose troubled past was wreaking havoc on our relationship, even without a baby to br /eak the camel's back.

I never once seriously considered abortion, but more than once wished I could. As a Christian ministry major, I'd spent the last two years watching midnight turn into dawn discussing ethics and forming my embr /yonic ideas into convictions ready to stand the light of day. From the moment I saw the second pink line faintly glimmering on my pregnancy test, certainty gripped me that abortion was not an option. I simply could not lose my baby without losing myself. And on the deepest level, I think this truth holds for every woman. But not every woman facing a crisis pregnancy has a Christian education, parents who are willing to help out financially, and girlfriends who pick up where an absent partner or a terrified, emotionally crippled one leaves off.

As my pregnancy progressed, I watched my smooth, flat tummy turn into a bulging basketball and then into a giant globe with roads and rivers of stretch marks crisscrossing everywhere. Knowing the pregnancy was unexpected, my friends weren't sure whether to congratulate me or mourn with me. Whenever I swiped my card in the cafeteria or hauled my huge self to class at my evangelical college, I got raised-eyebr /ow glances from students who assumed I got into my interesting condition via some premarital tryst in the bushes. ...

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