Should-have-been birthdays

h pray candle

Hannah Rose Allen-Luke's Heaven DayAs summer turns to autumn and the leaves on the trees begin changing hues and the air gets a bit cooler, my heart remembers. This is the time of year I should have welcomed my first child into the world. He should be turning four this year, as he was due at the end of September or beginning of October.

He should be playing, laughing, learning, growing, and a part of my every day. I should be baking a birthday cake with four candles to be blown out. The day should be full of balloons, presents, and all things related to a little boy’s birthday.

Instead, I must carry the weight of his absence for the rest of my days on earth. I carry the grief over losing him and knowing he should be here, bringing joy and beauty to this world, had it not been for a sinful decision I made. Regret barely conveys the depth of my profound emotion. At times over the past four years, the deep grief and sorrow has threatened to consume me.

If I had not taken the RU-486 pill on February 6, 2009 at 6 weeks gestation, I would have a four-year-old now. Although it was too early to know for sure he was a boy, I believe God has revealed that knowledge to me. A son whom I’ve named Luke Shiloh, meaning “light and peace” because God has brought light in the midst of the deepest darkness and peace to my wounded and aching heart.

I was distraught as my baby grew, distraught as I took that little pill that I thought would “fix things” and distraught afterwards. I did not fight for my baby’s life, like a mother should. I did not place his life before my desperate thoughts of self-preservation. I was deceived into thinking he was not really a baby yet at that gestation, so what I was doing was perfectly okay.

A fog settles in on my heart around this time of year, just as a thick fog settles on a city on a cold, rainy day. I don’t quite know how to picture how my Luke would look, who he would have grown to be by now. Each time I try to imagine, it seems just out of my grasp, like how a dream feels when you’re waking up and trying to remember what you were dreaming of. Healing has taken place. But, the ‘what-ifs’ remain. What would my baby be like today if I had chosen LIFE? What color would his eyes be … would he like trains or dinosaurs … what shape would his nose have … what would his first word have been … who would he be growing up to be … a mighty man of God … a voice for unborn life …

When I made “the choice” that should never have been mine to make, nobody ever told me about how each year, I would ponder what might have been.

It is my prayer that in being honest about the devastating reality of abortion and how it’s a decision that impacts the rest of one’s life, other women will not buy into the lie that it’s the quick fix to a tough situation. The challenges of an unintended pregnancy are temporary, but the scar of abortion lasts a lifetime. I shudder at the thought that anyone else live through the “should-have-been birthdays” and other painful anniversary dates.

But, for those of us who did believe abortion to be the easy fix and must go on without our babies, I declare this – there is healing and hope to be found after your child is gone. You can never have your child back, but his/her life can make an impact on this world! For the men and women who cannot undo their devastating “choice,” it is my hope and prayer that through our stories, others will choose LIFE. This is a call to action – we must stand up and be willing to share the truth of how abortion hurts everyone involved. We must be the voice for our children who lost their voice. We must sound the alarm on their behalf.

I would give anything to go back and embrace Luke Shiloh’s life, but since I cannot, I will live with this profound loss forever. The grief I feel is hardly as big as the love. This abiding love I have for my baby knows no bounds. My heart is broken that I discovered this love too late. Nonetheless, I have hope in the assurance that I will know him in eternity in a way that I never would have here. It brings me great joy to tell others of his valuable life and the beauty God has wrought in me due to his precious life. God has placed within me a passion and purpose because of him

If you are in search of a way to honor your lost baby on what would have been their birthday, consider lighting a candle, writing them a letter, naming him/her, having a balloon release, or getting a name plate for them at the National Memorial for the Unborn in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I have found it crucial on my journey towards healing to take active steps to honor, remember, and celebrate Luke Shiloh.

The words from Flipsyde’s song “Happy Birthday,” about his aborted child, resound in my head during this time each year… “Happy birthday, Luke Shiloh, I love you, whoever you would have been.”

Though he went to Heaven before taking his first breath, my precious child’s life is worthy of celebration; so in his honor each year, I will bake him that birthday cake.

You can follow my journey at www.facebook.com/HannahRoseAllen

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