Saving Mothers and Building Families
Tiny Treasures Ministry is now a special part of my life. But I didn’t always have the vision for helping mothers in crisis. In fact, I admit I was pretty clueless regarding their true needs. Tiny Treasures Ministry would perhaps never have started if it were not for a certain experience that put an understanding in me, starting me on a whole new road.
My journey began when Katie, my daughter’s college friend, was in crisis. She was out walking in the night with nowhere to go. She had discovered that she was pregnant and had an ugly falling out with her boyfriend as a result. We took her into our home and I spent several days comforting, counselling and praying with her.
The situation seemed so impossible and hopeless that an abortion seemed to be her only option. She was convinced it was the most merciful thing to do. She had so many fears about the hardships the child would face. She would be growing up without a father and family. Even if the father did come around, his family was totally opposed and unaccepting of the mother or baby. This would create an environment where the child would feel unloved and unwanted.
Yet, there was more to it than that. Katie had a difficult life. She had never known a kind and caring mother. Katie’s mother was struggling to survive herself under such difficult circumstances, that she did not have time or heart enough left to be the true mother her children needed. As a result of her upbringing, Katie struggled hard with anxiety and depression. Would Katie now be in the same position with her child, as both her mother and grandmother had been in? Could this cycle be broken?
Would she be able to truly love, when she herself had not experienced that love? Would her mother’s traits be inherent in her as well? Would her own mental and emotional struggles prevent her from being the mother her child needed? Would she be able to properly care for a tiny helpless life when her own life was so upside down?
It is so important to understand that in order to save the baby, we must first save the mother. I think as a pro-life movement, we can get so caught up in this emotional fight to save innocent lives that we can fail to see the bigger picture. We think it is enough for a mother to love her baby. The greatest of these may be love, but it is not complete without faith and hope. Love without hope can be sadly misguided.
When Katie came to me, she never once mentioned “my body, my choice”. She never thought that the little life didn’t matter. To the contrary, she sincerely felt that an abortion would be the most loving and compassionate thing to do for the child, given the circumstances. It seemed to her that bringing a child into a broken and dysfunctional family where she was not accepted would be unfair and hurtful.
When I went through the training course at the pregnancy crisis center, I was surprised to see how little I understood of the situation. I discovered that in many cases it is not the mother wanting the abortion. Often she is being pressured into it by key people in her life, making her feel she has no other option.
Her boyfriend or husband may be threatening to leave if she keeps the baby, leaving her with not only the fear of being alone, but also the heartbreaking prospect of losing the man she loves. Her parents may be threatening to kick her out of the house or cut her off from family support, precisely when she needs them the most. Speaking to her about the value of human life will not solve her problems. Showing her an ultrasound of her baby may inspire love, but love needs an environment of faith and hope in order to thrive.
I spent many hours sitting with Katie on the floor of my daughter’s bedroom, crying and praying together. It took time to build her faith and pray for God to come through with tangible answers. But in the end, things worked out with her boyfriend, and they were married a few months later, on Valentine’s Day.
When Katie delivered her baby, I had the privilege of serving as her labor and delivery coach and being with her the whole way. Katie’s baby girl, Celeste, has turned her life around and blessed their lives in ways she never imagined. In spite of her fears to the contrary, Katie is a wonderful and caring mother, with all of the love a child could ever wish for.
My experience with Katie gave me a whole new understanding of what it means to be pro-life. It gave me a perspective and understanding I didn’t have before. Fueled with compassion, this was the beginning of this beautiful journey that would lead me to this unique new ministry. It is only fitting then that little Celeste was the first baby to be photographed in my new studio.
What Can We Do?
The pregnancy resource centers I have visited and worked with so far, have a good grasp of these needs and have specific programs in place to help meet them. Each mother’s situation is unique and requires care and prayer. These centers provide practical counsel and solutions, as well as training and needed baby supplies.
I think we, as a people in general, need to raise our awareness and change our mindsets. Is a young unwed mother going to feel comfortable and welcomed in our church, when she needs support the most? Or will she feel embarrassed and looked down upon? What about a pregnant mother, rejected by her own family, yet taken in by her boyfriend. Would she be feel rejected for living together out of wedlock?
One reason the abortion rate is so high is that there are many less-than-ideal situations in which a pregnancy may arise. But regardless of how it started, that little life is still just as precious. The only way we can truly make a difference for that little life, is to do whatever we can to help the mother and support the family, without judgement or condescension.
Photography is the small part I can play to help in this support process. We give these families the opportunity to showcase their tiny treasure, in a sense validating their choice to protect this little life, and perhaps helping some families to accept them. And in bringing out the true motherly beauty or fatherly care, we may help some to see themselves from a new perspective.
“The way we can truly make a difference to save these precious little lives,
is to do whatever we can to help the mothers and support the families, without judgement.”
- By Marie Morrow