shared via email newsletter: 10/8/23

I got pregnant with my first son, out of wedlock, at 17-years-old.

It was one of the most difficult times in my life. People came out of the woodwork – mostly extended family members, who were Catholic or fallen away Catholics – to share their thoughts.

They told me how disappointed they were in me. How I should consider all my options.

How I should get an abortion and move on.

There was a lot of pressure on me and my now husband to just get rid of the baby and thus the problem. And I won’t lie, I was tempted.

As a Catholic (who wasn’t as serious about her faith at the time), I remember wishing I could be ignorant about when life began. At the time, I wished I was blissfully clueless or could be apathetic.

But I, very anxiously and fearfully, trusted in God’s plan for me, my future husband, and our son.

And let me tell you, it took heaps of trust (that I didn’t always feel) to walk that path.

I struggled through my pregnancy with the decision of what to do. Then, I grappled with postpartum depression. I felt so disconnected that, for the first 18 months of his life, I held my sweet boy in my arms and wondered when his real parents would come get him.

I wept when my husband was deployed to the Middle East just nine months after he was born. I met the eyes of friends and family knowing what they must be thinking about me, how I toted around my cooing, toddling son, a permanent reminder of my sin.

The first two years of his life, I was barely hanging on.

But God showed up.

He showed up rich in mercy, abundant in love, and overflowing with grace.

My son is the best gift I have ever been entrusted with. And he is the reason I started Gather & Pray. He loves to help in any way he can and has an absolutely giant heart. He is such a joy and light to our lives and everyone who knows him.

There are a couple reasons I wanted to share this with you today.

First, October is the Month of the Holy Rosary and it’s Respect Life Month.

And I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this month holds both of those sacred pieces. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we honor Mary – the unwed, young mother who gave her wholehearted yes for our salvation – and renew our belief that every human life deserves protection and dignity.

Prayer, especially praying the Rosary, is one of the best ways we can support the pro life cause – this month and every month.

Second, I want us to take a moment and reflect on what it means to be pro life. Many of the people who weren’t supportive of my pregnancy and felt the need to voice their disappointment, would’ve considered themselves pro life. Are we pro life only to strangers or to those we know and care about?

A little food for thought today.

Thank you for letting me share my heart with you.

God bless you and your family!


P.S. I want you to know that if you’ve had an abortion, premarital sex, or any other sin, it is not who you are. There is nothing God will not forgive you for if you ask. Go to confession, friend. Let Him strike your slate clean.

P.P.S. If you’ve had an abortion and are looking for a resource to help or want to provide a resource to a friend, please checkout Project Rachel.

March 05, 2024 — Olivia Olachea