How Childhood Experiences Can Cause Us to be Fearful

The New York Times bestseller, Waking Up in Heaven, chronicles the life of Crystal McVea, a Christian wife and mother from Oklahoma. Her book reminds us yet again that EVERYONE has a story.

Her story confirms my observation that our childhood experiences can deeply impact our choices as adults. Those experiences can make us feel worthless and unlovable. So many times, we do not realize that we feel this way, because this was our normal. It may have been very dysfunctional. Yet it is the only “normal” we know.

Will my child be ok? 

As I have gotten to know other women who have chosen abortion, I have found with those that I have had substantive conversations, fears stemming from childhood experiences, giving rise to feelings of panic in having their own child. Will my child be abused, despite my best intentions? Will he or she live in poverty? Will they know authentic, expressive love?

Several women I have met were abused as children, physically and/or emotionally. Others were raised in extreme poverty. Still others experienced unusual loss, illness or death of a parent, sibling or close friend. My grandmother, for instance, lost her father when she was nine years old, and lived most of her childhood not knowing where she might have to move to next to find food and work. When I thought about her life experience, was it really so surprising that she had an abortion during the Great Depression?

We all have a story. 

Our world is still an imperfect place. Children are still abused and live in poverty. Women are still not in equal standing with men in positions of leadership. And when it comes to having families, whether you are a man or a woman, there is still lack of legislation (in the US) that adequately protects family life.

I believe the pro-life and pro-choice movements ultimately want the same thing – a reduction in the need for and rate of abortion. Certainly, I think this is what women want. I have yet to meet a woman who wanted to have an abortion. Perhaps if we were able to address more of the basic needs of children and families, abortion (along with a myriad of other social issues), might be greatly reduced.

And then, perhaps, both sides might get what they really want in the first place.

Everyone has a story. It’s time to make those stories better for our kids and future generations.


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