“Well-behaved women seldom make history.”
“Pro-choice New Hampshire.”
Two bumper stickers; two proclamations. Personally, I’ve never been one for bumper stickers. Not only do I not understand the desire to plaster one’s car with decoration, I can’t help but read most bumper stickers without sensing some level of distaste for everyone else on the road that might not share the same beliefs. Fairly or unfairly, appropriately or perhaps totally inappropriately, a take-it-or-leave-it kind of attitude seeps from these sticker-ed statements, as if they, in themselves, characterize the mind of the driver. As I sat at the light behind this car, I could see the woman driving with her left foot hanging out the window. This, paired with the bumper sticker refuting well-behaved women, led me to conclude that she was a bit of a rebel. The light turned green and she was off. I’ll most likely never see her again and all I’ll ever know of her is what she shares with the world on the back of her car.
As I glanced in my rearview mirror to check on my daughter, I couldn’t help but wish I would someday have the opportunity to share my story with this woman. This complete stranger stuck with me for much of the day as I simply wondered how much thought she has really given to each one of these beliefs. I am curious whether or not the stark contradiction between the two has ever entered her mind. All judgment aside, I would simply love to pose the seemingly obvious question; what if some of the most “ill-behaved” women who have made such significant impacts on the history of this free world had never been born? What if these history-makers were aborted? What if the very women who broke all the rules and fought to win us our freedom were a victim of pro-choice? Where might we be?
My personal story is much too long to plaster on the back of my car, but if I could I would. It’s sticker-worthy for sure. I can say that unabashedly because it really has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with God and the beautiful, and all-too-often overlooked, miracle of life. It begins with a young woman who, at a particular time in her life, could certainly be described as “ill-behaved,” a rebel against the stifling conformity of rules and regulations. This desire to fight against the world’s definition of “well-behaved” was really a result of a broken heart and a world of hurt that had grown out of the loss of her mother to cancer when the young woman was only 13. Not long after, she found herself essentially orphaned when her father remarried and moved out of state. The dominoes began to fall in rapid succession and after a series of bad decisions; she was on the roller-coaster of addiction and ended up pregnant at 18 years of age.
Abortion was certainly a viable option and one she was encouraged to consider. There were some that felt abortion made perfect sense in this situation. A young mother with no means to support herself and certainly not a child. I imagine some would even suggest it was the most compassionate decision to make in that this child would not end up the victim of a life lived in poverty and hardship. What those encouraging abortion did not know however, is that there was a family who had been praying for this small life long before she was ever conceived, a family that prayed each night to be blessed with a child through the gift of adoption and might even be so blessed as to save a child at risk of being aborted. That family was my own and we thank God every day that he answered our prayers and brought us our miracle of Mary-Rose.
Miss Mary is our daughter, the younger sister of two brothers who are nothing less than heroic in their love for her. Our young lady is fiercely independent, she is driven, she craves attention and intimacy, her love is intoxicating, she is the carrier of an extra copy of Chromosome 21 and she is ours as a result of the courageous decision of her birth mother. Mary-Rose is the product of a young woman who valued the life within her, extra chromosome and all. Her birth mother is a hero to the four of us who are now able to call this incredible child our own. Mary-Rose often finds trouble in her innocent attempts to absorb every last detail of the world around her. She devours every opportunity for growth and fights against many rules as she struggles to maneuver this wide-open and exciting world. “Well-behaved” may not always be the best way to describe her, but we are all ok with that because there is no doubt in our minds that this little girl will most certainly make history.
Copyright, 2016 Nicole Johnson