Denver Catholic

DCR - Jan. 15, 2014

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8 I RESPECT LIFE JANUARY 15, 2014 I DENVER CATHOLIC REGISTER 'The day he was conceived, I became a mother' BY KAREN BURT Teen mom Karen Burt of Minnesota wrote the following letter last year to a pregnant teen in New Jersey to encourage her to not abort her child. My name is Karen, and I am a teen mother. I had just graduated from high school and was ready to start the next chapter of my life. Mainly, the next chapter involved me getting my freedom. Two months before I was to start college, I found out I was pregnant. I was 17. That one word, "pregnant," changed my life. I thought about abortion. My life would go back to normal. I would have a great college life and no one would ever know. But I knew that even though no one would be able to see any difference in me on the outside, PHOTO PROVIDED KAREN Burt and her son Matthew on the inside there would be a big difference. I would never forget. It would destroy me—I would never be happy again knowing what I had done. I would be getting rid of my son or daughter. So I made the decision that I would never get an abortion. No amount of pressure from anyone would make me kill my baby. I knew my family was disappointed in me. I could see it in their faces and the way they acted around me. I know people talked about me in whispers, saying that I should abort him or at least give him up for adoption because I was a single, irresponsible teenager. But I didn't care. I knew I was, as his mother, doing the best thing I could for my baby, and what my family and friends thought of me did not matter. I told myself I was strong and I was bringing a new life into the world. The day he was conceived I became a mother and no matter what I chose to do, I would always be a mother. Though pregnancy is not a joy ride, I was still happy to accept it. There are no words to describe the happiness I experienced when I felt the first kick. Seeing his fingers, toes and little nose on the ultrasound was indescribable, but, in one word—"amazing!" There was really a human being growing inside of me—a new life. The day he was born and placed into my arms is the happiest of my life. I am the proud mother of a bubbly, smiley 9-month-old boy named Matthew. He is the best decision I ever made. He has eight teeth that you can see when he smiles because he smiles so big. He can crawl so fast I can hardly keep up with him. Many babies don't like bath time. My son does. I let him sit in the tub while it fills and he likes to put his hands under the running water and chew on his rubber ducky. He loves sweet potatoes and hates peas. He practically sighs when he tastes cold fruit. Although sometimes he can be a challenge, I love him more than anything else in this world. I have thought about what my life would have been like had I not gotten pregnant. But if I could do it over again and had the chance to change the day he was conceived, I wouldn't. I have never regretted choosing not abort my son and I cannot imagine my life without him. Abortion is not the answer. Abortion will not make the baby go away—at least not from your heart. He or she will always be your son or daughter. I encourage you to choose to either raise your baby yourself or to give him or her up for adoption. Adoption is a great option. There is no shame in admitting that you cannot raise your child yourself. It does not make you a bad mother. It makes you a courageous, strong and special kind of mother because you are putting your child's needs before your own and choosing to let him or her go to another family. Do the best thing for your child not for yourself. Abortion will never be the best thing for your baby. I think you are strong and brave. No matter what anyone tells you, you can do this. You are not alone. I have felt the fears you feel and have had every thought that is going through your mind. I too have experienced anger from feeling life is over—that this baby is going to ruin it. But a baby will not and cannot ruin your life: A baby can only make it better. You have been given the gift of a new life—the gift of a child. Even though you did not plan to be pregnant, embrace it. Give your baby the greatest gift any woman can give: Give your baby the gift of life. of one hour of prayer every four weeks at Planned Parenthood to cover 192 hours each month (eight hours a day, six days a week, for four weeks)—the estimated hours the facility is open for business. "Peaceful prayer does work," he said. The number of abortions at Planned Parenthood nationally, according to the organization's annual reports, has dropped: with 327,166 abortions performed in 2012; compared to 333,964 in 2011. However, the number increased regionally: from a reported 10,505 abortions in 2012; compared to 10,408 in 2010 as reported by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains that covers Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Nevada. "Someday we're going to end this battle," Maddock said. "(And future generations) will ask: 'What did you do? How did you help end abortion?'" Many parishes and ministries coordinate regular prayer vigils at abortion clinics. For more information, contact your parish Respect Life committee, campus minister or parish youth group, or call Respect Life Resources of Catholic Charities at 303-742-0828. For more information about SOS, contact Maddock at 303-358-0380 or Introducing a new feature to the Denver Catholic Register, "Lil' Pete," a monthly cartoon featuring Pete and his rabbit Rocco. Battle From Page 1 Brad Maddock, 52, had never prayed at an abortion clinic before, when his teenage daughter was asked if she would like to participate in a 40 Days for Life campaign. This was two years ago through her youth group at St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial. "I didn't know what to expect," said Maddock. "Protests? Riots? All the things you read about in the media … screaming, yelling, gory pictures?" What he experienced was an hour of peaceful prayer that inspired him to pray there more often. He began going about once a week. A BEACON OF HOPE GALA ANNUAL BENEFIT FOR LIGHTHOUSE AND WOMEN'S SERVICES OF CATHOLIC CHARITIES When: March 8 Where: Wings Over the Rockies, 7711 E. Academy Blvd. No. 1, Denver Speaker: Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor and inspiration for film "October Baby" Ticket price: $125 Purchase tickets: Table and corporate sponsorship: Call 720-377-1383 More info: "Abortion is the biggest battle we face when it comes to battles with Satan; it affects us beyond belief," he said. "We need people down there every day." Maddock is launching a campaign that builds on the 40 Days' concept that he has dubbed Savers of Souls (SOS). The initiative asks for a commitment Julie Filby: 303-715-3123; julie.; www.twitter. com/DCRegisterJulie

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