Letter to 18-year-old me after being raped and conceiving a child
First, I love you. It’s taken more than 20 years to say that, but I thought you should hear it first.
Second, it’s OK to be scared. In fact, what you’re feeling right now is completely normal. You’re right to feel what you feel. I know I don’t have to tell you this. You already know.
That baby growing in your belly — he’s going to change the world. Your insatiable, almost-animalistic need to protect him has purpose.
Thank you for saying yes to him. Thank you for never once thinking that his life didn’t matter. Thank you for accepting God’s gift to us. You, sweet, young, compassionate, brave, fierce, warrior of life and love — thank you.
You’ve already experienced the beginnings of hate for life.
Those whispers and stares targeting you as you waddle breathlessly — and sometimes for miles — across campus — have nothing to do with you. But you will take them on anyway — and you will suffer and sacrifice. For him. And Him.
You will be rewarded. And, one day, you will turn that same fierce, kind, loving, compassionate face toward those same women who turned away from you — and toward you to ridicule and shame you.
You are nothing but brave. There is no shame where he grows. There is no shame where He has been planted and sowed. The only shame belongs with — and to — the man who raped you.
I know you don’t believe you have a voice right now.
I know you feel deafened by your own silence. Don’t worry. Your voice will have its day, and it will be deafening.
You will be heard, and you will speak for many who can’t. You will speak for him and Him and through Him.
You’ll want to run. You’ll want to runaway. Almost every day.
But you won’t. Because He won’t let you and he needs you. He will hear you. He will hear your prayers, your cries, your frustrations, your joys, your fears, your pleas. And He will hold you.
They’ll tell you you’re not capable of staying.
They’ll tell you you’re not capable of caring for him.
They’ll tell you you’re too young, too poor, have too much to offer the world, too much success to have. (Ironic, right?)
They’ll tell you you’re throwing away your future.
They won’t talk about his future.
They won’t even recognize his heartbeat or the nails beginning to grow on his newly formed fingers.
They most definitely won’t tell you that his DNA has already formed at just five weeks and that it’d been forming even before you knew about him — at the very moment of his traumatic conception when the rapist forced himself on you.
No one will talk about your son’s future. They won’t tell you he could be a software engineer or that he could invent life-changing technologies that would change the world.
They won’t tell you he could give your mother and father joy and peace they’d been missing for years.
They won’t tell you he could increase your already strong drive and make your world brighter, more secure and more meaningful.
They’ll tell you you’ll have nothing.
They won’t tell you the nothing they speak of will become everything you’ll need to navigate an ugly world.
They won’t tell you countless women will look to you as an example as a woman who had the audacity to say yes to motherhood in an anti-mom world.
They won’t tell you your boy will be Truth and Light and Love.
They’ll talk a lot about you. And them. But never about HIM. Or Him. They’ll never tell you the Truth and they’ll never give you a truly informed Choice.
You’ll be informed through him and Him. And you’ll speak. You’ll finally speak. With Truth and Compassion and Knowledge.
So, 18-year-old beloved self, go forward with boldness and in Truth and He will lead you. He will be your refuge and strength. He will not forsake you.
And your boy will live and thrive and grow and know TRUTH.
Cassaundra Baber is a mom who conceived in rape, award-winning journalist and founder of Momdacity, a pro-life movement empowering women with the audacity to mother in an anti-mom world.