Thankful Thursday: A Beautiful Choice

I’ve started working on having Thankful Thursday posts…it’s just a random post of things that happened during my week that I am thankful for. It started after I’ve been reading The Frugal Girl blog and she has a feature called Thankful Thursday. This week I am thankful for a choice I made 37 years ago.

Today is my oldest daughter Kelli’s birthday. She’s newly minted 37 years old.

Back in 1986 in May, I found out that I was pregnant with her. At the time I didn’t know it was a girl. At the time, I didn’t know what in the heck I was going to do. I was in college. I was trying to finish a teaching degree. I had been dating my boyfriend for 10 months. We had already talked about getting married but were waiting until I was done with college.

I was on birth control. Back in the day, they had something called a sponge…much like a diaphragm only a sponge. We were using birth control but I was part of that magical 4% or so of women who ended up pregnant. UGH.

I was so sad. There went my college degree…there went the respect from my family…there went the respect of anyone. I was now the town gossip…and gossip they did.

The day I found out, I drove to my boyfriend’s house. I was going to tell him in person. What were we going to do? I had already decided what I was going to do. I was keeping the baby…but I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. I hoped and wanted us to get married. But did he? I was fairly confident that if he didn’t I was leaving and was going to raise the baby myself. After all, I knew deep down my mom might be initially mad, but she’d come around and help me…and I knew she’d get my dad on board. I knew I wouldn’t be completely alone but would I be with him?

Back in 1986, girls “who got themselves pregnant” didn’t live with their boyfriends. They got married or they didn’t.

Abortion never crossed my mind. My roommate from college and I talked about it and both of us knew it wasn’t the right choice for me. I knew I would regret an abortion way more than I would ever regret giving up the life I thought I wanted and become a mom.

It turns out that boyfriend and I did get married…He’s the dad to all five of my kids. We never regretted for a minute the choice we made to keep the baby…to get married…or to go and have four more kids.

Fast forward to a day in the late 90s. I was driving in the van. The kids were all piled in the back. I was a very open mom and told things like they were. One of the kids (likely Kayla) had asked what an abortion was. They were only little. I’m guessing Kayla, our second kid, was only 7 or so…Kelli the oldest likely 8. I’m guessing the question came up because there were a lot of anti-abortion campaigns going on then. I remember one of the slogans of the commercial said, “Life, what a beautiful choice.”

Even though abortion isn’t a pleasant topic, I told my little girls what abortion was. Then I went on to explain that I wasn’t married when I found out I was pregnant with Kelli. I could have gotten an abortion but I didn’t.

About then, Kayla turns to Kelli and says, “You were a beautiful choice.”

Kayla was right. Kelli is a beautiful choice.

Today Kelli is celebrating her birthday…and I am celebrating the beautiful choice I made back in May of 1986. That choice took me down a road I never imagined…but it’s a road I’ve loved traveling and today I am so thankful I made the beautiful choice.

45 thoughts on “Thankful Thursday: A Beautiful Choice”

  1. What a beautiful story Jo. Yes, you made the right choice. Happy Birthday Kelli. Greeting from Canada to you all.

  2. Jo sometimes God has other choices for us. What a beautiful outcome it was. You are still a teacher but in a different way. You taught your kids to be kind and thoughtful. You are always teaching us new ways of learning/doing things. You Are Special!

  3. Jo, I like how candid you are. You did make the right choice and what a wonderful and beautiful daughter you were given and then the four more children. Hope Kelli had a great birthday!

    1. Kelli and I designed and made that quilt. I think it’s called All are Welcome and was in American Patchwork and Quilting…just a guess.

  4. Crazy coincidence, I was also one of those 4%ers. I got pregnant in 1987. Also got married, also had a beautiful baby girl and never regretted it for a minute!

  5. Oh, I love that line, “when girls get themselves pregnant!” As if we did it all on our own! I was fortunate that I didn’t have to make that choice, although mine would have been the same as yours. I also had my first child in 1987, a son and I’ll be babysitting HIS first child tomorrow night, his beautiful 3 months old daughter Waverly. All beautiful choices that we made. Happy Birthday Kelli!

    1. Right Carolyn? Immaculate conceptions are a constant for women.

      Yea Jo for your candor. Hiding the truth or avoiding hard subjects rarely creates the AMAZING relationships you have with your children.

      Happy birthday Kelli. The pic with your twins feels like ancient history! :-)

  6. What a beautiful post! Thank you, and so glad you made that choice because look at her now – she’s wonderful, and a credit to you and your husband, as all your children are.

  7. Jo, this is such a wonderful, heartfelt post! I love your honesty, and willingness to convey this message to your family.

  8. Happy late birthday, Kelli. I didn’t realize that you have twins. Which grandkids are the twins, Jo? It was nice seeing the photos of Kelli.

  9. Jo – you have the ability to turn a scary situation into a beautiful love story. You have a rare talent.
    Happy Birthday Kelli!!!!

  10. Life is always a beautiful choice! What great story and how wonderful to explain it all to your girls when they were so young.
    Kelli is the same age my daughter Elizabeth would be this year—she died at age 22, was out running and was hit by a car. Please give Kelli an extra hug for me, since I can’t hug my Elizabeth. Treasure every day, but I’m sure you already do!

  11. Kayla’s response brought tears to my eyes, what a sweet tender little girl she was. I’m sure the same is true of her as an adult.

    Thank you for sharing the story of how Kelli came to be a beautiful choice. I, too, was pregnant as a single young woman in 1983. The area we live in was pretty liberal (even more so now) so it wasn’t a terrible stigma, however, with my family and our church it was (I am the preacher’s daughter). I chose life and it did not include the father of my firstborn. Would I do it exactly the same way were I given the chance for a do over? You bet I would in a heartbeat. My oldest is an amazing adult.

  12. Love this story – you are a special lady and definitely made the right choice years ago! Happy Birthday Kelly and many more to come.
    Would like to know where to find the quilt pattern for the “star” quilt you and Kelly have on the floor in one of the pictures. Is it a pattern you can share? Just love the scrappiness of it.

    1. That is a quilt Kelli and I designed. I don’t remember the name. It was published in a magazine. Hmm. I’m not sure. I’ll try to figure it out and put it in an upcoming Ask Jo post.

  13. Beautiful story of how precious our children are. My older sister came home from college pregnant. Her boyfriend had gotten killed on a motorcycle before they could get married.1971 was a bad time to be a single mom. I was 11 and rode to the hospital with her in the ambulance as my family was upset with her. She put MT up for adoption. The best interest for him to have a better life.While she was giving birth I stood outside and listened to the Angels sing…at midnight on 12/19. She signed papers so she would never be known or him. It still crushes me to this day she suffered alone. But I’m happy for him.

  14. Happy birthday, Kelli! And happy BIRTH day to your mama! Jo, thanks for sharing this beautiful story with all of us. So glad you knew yourself well enough – and that you had such a supportive roomate – that you could make your beautiful choice with strength and courage.

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