Erica Shupe was scared when she discovered at the tender age of 16 that she was pregnant, explaining in a recent blog post on Secular Pro-Life that she was petrified to tell her family about the shocking news.
At the time, Shupe was in 11th grade and had so many hopes and dreams before her, but discovering her pregnancy meant that those hopes and aspirations were suddenly challenging question marks.
“As you take that test there are so many things running through your mind. ‘I can’t be pregnant. I’m only 16. I have no money to raise a baby, I have no one to support me, and I can’t handle giving up my youth,'” she wrote. “You wait the next two minutes and nervously pick up the test to see the result, and bam you see two lines — you’re pregnant! Now you’re thinking what can I do?”
Shupe said she feared telling her grandmother, who had raised her and who had herself been forced to drop out of school in the 8th grade to have a child at age 15. And telling her grandma proved to be a difficult task, as it created a rift that lasted for months. Others, too, chimed in to tell Shupe that she had ruined her life.
“I also was told numerous times: ‘Well, you ruined your life, basically no hope for you now.’ It was hard not to sketch that in my brain, because I too was down about my future,” Shupe explained. “I had plans to go to college for a least 4 years to be a nurse, then eventually become a doctor. I also realized I’m pregnant and may never finish high school, so now what do I do?”
Rather than seek an abortion, she continued on with her pregnancy and used her blog post to explain that women facing similar situations aren’t alone and that there are a plethora of resources to help them out.
“I know you feel like your life is over or you’ve been told your life is over but it’s not, your life is just beginning,” she said. “You have a choice to have a beautiful bundle of joy, but also still thrive in your life.”
As for Shupe’s own path forward, she entered a program that helped her graduate high school early, sought help from a group called the Pregnancy Resource Center and relied on the WIC program to receive food for both her and the baby.
Flash forward a few years and Shupe — now 23 — said that her life has come together beautifully.
“I’m now 23 with three children, I’m married and have a rewarding job,” she wrote. “No matter what the obstacle is you’re going through, you can get through it without abortion!”
Read her story in its entirety here.
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