A Note for Students for Life Leaders….. And Everyone Else

Written by Emily Wilkinson, Students for Life West Coast Regional Coordinator

We can all think of times in our lives that we’ve had a tendency to give up on something. This could be because we feel like the task is too overwhelming, or it’s too late to get started, or we’d be better off waiting until another time that we could do a bigger and better job.

For pro-life students who constantly face an uphill battle, the temptation to give up in different ways can be very strong.

Maybe you scheduled a meeting and only one other person showed up…….so you leadersawkwardly apologize and tell him the meeting is cancelled.

Maybe you tried recruiting members but you only signed up a few names…….so you chalk it up to the campus being super pro-abortion and you stop trying altogether.

Maybe you have a small club…….so you decide not to hold any events until you get bigger.

Maybe you’ve been considering starting a Students for Life club all year…….but since you’ve already waited until April, you decide you may as well wait until next fall to get things going.

These are all understandable situations. And if you’ve experienced any one of them, don’t feel too special, because struggles like these are common for many Students for Life clubs. Very few are the perfect picture of success with dozens of members who faithfully show up to every single meeting and event and eagerly volunteer to help with every task in their overabundance of free time!! And the groups who are super successful have put in a lot of effort to get to that point.

Running a Students for Life group on your campus is hopefully fun and inspiring at least some of the time. But most of the time, it will be difficult. It will challenge you, exhaust you, and take up your time. You will be frustrated with other members, run into problems with your administration, and face a campus that seems overwhelmingly pro-choice or hopelessly apathetic.

Most all, leading a Students for Life group requires sacrifice.

Nobody said it would be easy! But we must remember that babies are dying and mothers are being hurt every single day. That fact should bring a sense of urgency and recognition of the importance of our work that overwhelms the day-to-day struggles. You are not single-handedly responsible for abolishing abortion, but you are called to simply do what you can.

So the next time you have a meeting where only one person shows up, don’t cancel it- use that time to go through your agenda together, brainstorm about recruitment, and plan your next event.

The next time you have a less than successful day of recruitment, don’t give up- let it strengthen your resolve to try again tomorrow and find those hundreds or thousands of pro-life students on your campus who exist (we know they exist because half of the population calls themselves pro-life!).

If your club is just a few members strong, don’t wait to grow before you become active- decide to become active in order to grow. Many easy events can be planned and executed with just a small handful of students, such as hanging posters, chalking pro-life messages, holding a simple diaper drive outside a grocery store, handing out literature, or setting up a simple tabling display to engage students. Being active will attract the attention of campus and naturally bring new members, because people want to be part of a group that actually does things.

And if you are considering starting a Students for Life club, don’t wait until next year- start now, and whatever you accomplish in the next few months before the school year is over will put you WAY ahead next fall when other new clubs have to spend the whole semester just getting established. In a couple of months you could easily gather some interest, have a few casual meetings, and do an easy event or two. Contact your Regional Coordinator for help getting started!

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

-Edward Everett Hale, 19th century author and clergyman

Encounter in a Vegan Cafe

By Jane Riccardi, Students for Life’s New England Regional Coordinator

I used to think that the dreaded question, “So what do you do?” was an instant expiration date on any conversation, a malignant diagnosis that the Small Talk had metastasized and the interchange was more doomed than a relationship when one of the parties announces “we need to talk.”

Not so when you work in the pro-life movement.janeslaptopstickers

Whenever I meet new people, it’s always interesting to see how they react.  Many times they smile politely and move on to other topics, but many other times that one simple admission galvanizes a veritable Pandora’s Box of questions, accusations, complains, diatribes.  Sometimes it gets awkward, like that one time I found myself discussing ectopic pregnancies while salsa dancing on a Friday night.  I mean, there’s a time and place for everything.  However, one occasion a few weeks ago solidified my resolve to never proffer an ambiguous “I work for a non-profit,” because the reality that you might be meant to be something for someone struck me anew.

I was grabbing a smoothie and catching up on emails at a local café.  It was a vegan café, a detail I mention because it provides some context for the conversation that ensued.  Another contextual detail is that I have pro-life bumper stickers on my laptop, one of which reads “Adoption Saves Lives.”  I had not been sitting there long, when an older women, upon reading this sticker, approached me rather congenially and said,

“Oh I love your sticker!  You’re talking about animal adoption, right?”

Now, I have nothing against animal adoption; in fact, I think it’s a great practice.  Nevertheless, I did feel it my duty to disillusion her.  “That’s great too,” I replied, “but actually mine is talking about human adoption.”

Her face crestfallen, she turned away, and I heard her friend whisper to her as they left the vegan café, “She’s one of those pro-life people.”

I thought that was the end of the interlude.  A few minutes later however, one of the waitresses approached me, also studying the Times Square of pro-life stickers on my computer.  “That one is interesting,” she said, pointing to the one that declares, “I Am an Abortion Abolitionist.”

“Thanks,” I replied, and then on a whim asked, “are you pro-life?”

She hesitated.  “No, well I don’t think I am.”   A longer hesitation.  “I had an abortion a few years ago, so I guess that means I’m not.”

And then we started talking for real.  Two complete strangers in a vegan café talking about life and loss, relationships and bad decisions, regret and hope.  In this case, no job description was necessary; a simple sticker was all the encouragement someone needed to reach out and open up.  Two weeks ago was the New England Leadership Summit, at which I spoke to students about not being intimidated by the controversy of abortion.  The intimidation is real, because broaching the topic of abortion with a total stranger is kind of like playing Minesweeper (anyone who says they know how to play that game is a liar).

Talking about abortion will always involve some level of hurt, because hurting people is the MO of the industry.  When people talk about abortion survivors, they usually mean babies who have miraculously survived the procedure.  But in reality, any woman who has been exploited by this industry is also a survivor – left, often alone, to pick up the pieces.

This woman – I’ll call her Sarah – and I only talked for about fifteen minutes, but her story, so ordinary, so relatable, struck a chord.  She was young, she loved someone, she thought he loved her back.  When he placed an ultimatum on her, she chose him over the baby.  She told me how hard that decision was, but she felt like she had no choice.  Interiorly, I thought about the brutal irony of an industry that sacrifices women who feel powerless and trapped on an alter to personal freedom.  Out loud, I told her about ministries like Rachel’s Vineyard that offer healing retreats for post-abortive women, and gave her the information for the local Boston chapter.  She seemed interested, but that was end of our conversation.  She went back to work, and I left shortly thereafter.

As I drove home, I couldn’t stop thinking about how relatable her story was.  Granted, not everyone has an abortion, but we’ve all done things we probably shouldn’t have done in the name of love.

Each of us is potentially one bad relationship away from being in a position where we will be faced with a choice, and it’s our job to make sure that those who must actually face it are not alone.  We must help them, in whatever ways we can, to realize that there is hope, and that they are not alone.  We can’t let the fear of a conversation gone wrong prevent us from the dozens of conversations that have the potential to offer hope to those who think they have none.  Sometimes all it takes is a friendly question, a compassionate smile, or even a 2 inch x 2 inch sticker.


Do you know someone hurting from abortion?  Visit www.rachelsvineyard.org or www.hopeafterabortion.com

April Event in a Box: We Care

April EIBAs abortion has become less accepted as a moral right in and of itself, many people are uncomfortable with the complete banning of abortion due to what we call the “hard cases.” These are the situations that you hear in so many conversations that can seem difficult to answer: Rape, Life of the Mother, and Fetal Abnormalities. We want to take this month and address these hard cases so that you know how to answer the questions well and students at your school can make informed decisions, even considering hard situations.

We know this can seem like a difficult event to host, but we have seen incredible results when students address these hard situations. We have seen it can result in amazing dialogue and unique partnerships. Your peers simply want a safe place where they can share their concerns and discuss difficult topics with compassion. Let’s provide that for them!

Abortion in cases of Rape – When we address abortion in cases of rape, it is imperative that pro-lifers respond with noticeable sympathy, kindness, and grace. A large part of why rape is so often thought of as an “exception” is because it is such an evil, traumatic, and frightening crime – we need to understand how abortion advocates are perceiving this and respond accordingly.

Abortion in cases of the Life and Health of the Mother – When we talk about the life of the mother, the situation is direr. The reality is that there are some cases, despite being extremely rare, when pregnancy can produce some life threatening conditions for pregnant women. But this does not mean abortion is the only option. Abortion is never medically necessary to save a woman’s life.

Abortion in cases of Fetal Abnormalities – The reality of fetuses and born children having deformities and chronic/genetic diseases is undoubtedly tragic, and parents of these children have an incredible burden to carry. Despite this terrible reality, would the common person ever accept a form of “mercy killing” upon children with genetic diseases or severe deformities?

What’s in the Box:

  • 25 “What if it’s not my fault?” Postcard
  • 25 “Life of the Mother” Postcards
  • 25 “Fetal Abnormalities” Postcards
  • Hard Cases Discussion Guide
  • Sexual Assault Hotline Information

How to use the box: 
With the sensitive nature of this event, every group members needs to be present for a training with your Regional Coordinator on how to approach the issue. Ask your Regional Coordinator for the “We Care” training near the time of your event. Reach out to women’s groups or sexual assault awareness groups on campus and ask to co-host an event on campus about sexual assault. You can host a pro-life speaker who has had an experience with rape, has conceived in rape, or was conceived in rape. Make sure that all of your interactions with students are compassionate and loving.

Additional Resources:
Before you host your event, make sure you request an Advanced Apologetics Training with your Regional Coordinator. If you would like additional post cards, ask your Regional Coordinator for more!

  • If you are a student in CA or NV, please contact Emily Wilkinson.
  • If you are a student in OR, WA, ID, MT, HI, AK, ND, or SD, please contact Lisa Atkins.
  • If you are a student in CO, NM, WY, UT, or AZ, please contact Lo Castillo.
  • If you are a student in MI, IN, or OH, please contact R.J. McVeigh.
  • If you are a student in VA, MD, DC, PA, or DE, please contact Michele Hendrickson.
  • If you are a student in KY, TN, or WV, please contact Brenna Hartwell
  • If you are a student in VT, CT, NH, MA, RI or ME, please contact Jane Riccardi.
  • If you are a student in NE, KS, IL, MO, or IA, please contact Reagan Nielsen.
  • If you are a student in OK or TX, please contact Katie Martin.
  • If you are a student in NY or NJ, please contact Keri Landeche.
  • If you are a student in GA, FL, SC, or NC, please contact Ryan Eyrich.
  • If you are a student in WI or MN, please contact Maddie Schulte.
  • If you are a student in AL, MS, LA, AR, or PR, please contact David Hesketh.

If you are a college student, click here.
**SFLA Resources are only available to active high school or college student groups. If you are a youth minister or community member, please email info@studentsforlife.org for other options.

Apply for the 2016 Stevens Fellowship!

Are you a leader or officer in your high school pro-life group? Do you want to continue your pro-life work throughout college? Do you want to be mentored by a national pro-life leader?

If you answered “Yes” to all of these questions, then apply for the SFLA Stevens Leadership Fellowship!

When asked to describe their experience, here is what some of our previous Stevens Fellows had to say:

“I feel so blessed to have been able to partake in this fellowship, and I am so thankful to Students for Life for making it happen. It has helped me get a realistic glimpse into the movement which I hope to eventually work in and it has given me the training, knowledge, and connections I need to really be able to make a difference in my community. If you ever hope to help lead the pro-life movement, or even if you simply want to improve your leadership skills, this fellowship is for you!” – Kaitlynn W., Stevens Fellow


“Being a part of the 2013 Thaddeus Stevens Fellowship has taught me a tremendous amount and has significantly strengthened me as an abortion abolitionist. Learning how to better plan my year, coordinate members of my group, how to be a better apologist and activist has helped me in all aspects of my pro-life activism… The bi-weekly calls are also very interesting and helpful, as well as handy to keep in touch with the other students, and with dynamic, professional abolitionists, activists, and speakers in the pro-life movement. The reading we have done has been phenomenal in teaching me new ways to deal with others, myself, and how to effectively fight the good fight for life.” Samantha B., Stevens Fellow

“The Thaddeus Stevens Fellowship has been amazing and such a blessing! I have learned so much and been inspired to do so much. The training over the summer made me even more committed to my pro-life group I started. Without the Thaddeus Stevens fellowship, I probably never would have been motivated enough to put on our youth conference that we had over 165 attend. It has taught me so much and pushed me to always live to bring about a culture of life at my high school, in my community, and in my city.” – Gabriel V., Stevens Fellow

The Mission
The mission of the Students for Life of America Stevens Leadership Fellowship is to raise up the next generation of pro-life leaders. We want to train high school student pro-life activists to be leaders at their schools (and beyond) and to network those student leaders with their counterparts in the national pro-life movement to help further develop their skills. Simply put, the SFLA Stevens Leadership Fellowship is the training you need for a future in the pro-life movement!

What SFLA Stevens Fellows Will Do During the 2016-2017 Academic Year

  • Learn what it takes to be a leader by reviewing various books and participate in bi-weekly webcasts for discussion and guest speaker lectures
  • Assist Students for Life of America in its mission of equipping the pro-life generation
  • Working with their National Stevens Mentor (a leader of an existing national pro-life organization) who will help network them with the national pro-life movement.

The fellowship will consume a couple of hours a week; no financial stipends are available.

The Kick-Off

All SFLA Stevens Leadership Fellows will be flown to Northern Virginia for the kick-off weekend training from July 15-17th. Flights, housing, and meals in the Virginia area will be covered by SFLA.

Who is Eligible to Apply

  • Any high school or homeschool (high school-aged) students may apply
  • Must be a leader in a pro-life student group throughout the 2016-2017 school year

Visit http://highschool.studentsforlife.org/stevens-leadership-fellowship/  or contact Rebekah Chiew at rchiew@studentsforlife.org for more information on how to Apply for the 2016-2017 Thaddeus Stevens Leadership Fellowship.

March Event-in-a-Box: What Has Roe Done?

Roe Picture

During the month of March, we celebrate women and their historical accomplishments. Women have played a crucial role in our advancement of society and women’s rights. But, the legalization of abortion is not one of these cases. On January 22, 1973, seven men on the U.S. Supreme Court struck down more than 30 state bans on abortion, and legalized abortion in all nine months of pregnancy, for whatever reason, across the United States. Although it is seen as a “triumph for women” by abortion advocates, we are asking the question, “Did it really help women?” Regardless of whether you know their names, these historic decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, have affected our lives. Abortion advocates argue that legal abortion is necessary for women’s liberation, but what has Roe really done for women’s rights?

This month, we want you to educate your peers about the affect the legalization of abortion has really had on our society.

Consider just the impact that abortion has on a woman’s health:

  • Suicide rates among aborting women are six times higher compared to those who give birth and two times higher compared to those have a miscarriage.[i]
  • Abortion increases the risk of placenta previa in later pregnancies by 30%. (Placenta Previa can lead to life-threatening hemorrhages before and after birth.)[ii]
  • Abortion increases the risk for breast cancer. (At least 53 out of 68 worldwide studies demonstrate this fact. One of the most prominent of these was conducted by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, which found that the risk of breast cancer was 50% higher among those who had an abortion.)[iii]
  • Increased risk for pre-term delivery in future pregnancies. (Pre-term delivery significantly increases the risk of infant death and disabilities such as cerebral palsy.)[iv]

Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton have left more than 40 years of devastation in their wake. Legalizing abortion did not help women. The pro-abortion scare tactics that thousands of women will die when abortion is made illegal are false. The majority of pre-Roe abortions were not committed in back-alleys and the abortion industry has admitted that it made up the myth that tens of thousands of women died every year from illegal abortion. When abortion is illegal again, there will not be an epidemic of women dying from abortion.

There is nothing safe about legal abortion. Abortion will always be dangerous for women and bad for their health. Roe has done nothing to change that. Legal abortion has not made abortion clean or safe. Abortionists like Kermit Gosnell and Douglas Karpen are butchering women in dirty facilities. They are the norm for the abortion industry, not the exceptions. Legal abortion enables men to cover up abuse of women and coerce them into having abortions. We need to be offering real support and options for women experiencing crisis pregnancies. Ask your peers these questions:

Click on the links below to find out how you can share the truth with your campus this March!

What’s in the Box:

  • 50 We Need Legal Abortion* Cards
  • What Has Roe Done Flyers
  • What Has Roe Done Talking Points
  • Abortion is Proof Society is Failing Women Flyer
  • Women Betrayed Post Cards

*This postcard is not advocating for legal abortion. The wording is meant to be eye-catching and encourage someone to read the information that might otherwise not. The information on this card debunks the myths that legal abortion is necessary.

How to use the Box:
Pick a date in time to host a tabling event or speaker. Use the flyers provided to advertise what the group is planning. Set up a polling table asking students, “Did Roe v. Wade help women?” Use the poll to jumpstart conversations with people about their opinion of the case. Hand out postcards to people as they pass by if they do not stop to take the poll.

Additional Resources:
Before you host a polling table, make sure you request an Apologetics Trainings with your Regional Coordinator. If you would like additional post cards, ask your Regional Coordinator for more!

  • If you are a student in CA or NV, please contact Emily Wilkinson.
  • If you are a student in OR, WA, ID, MT, HI, AK, ND, or SD, please contact Lisa Atkins.
  • If you are a student in CO, NM, WY, UT, or AZ, please contact Lo Castillo.
  • If you are a student in MI, IN, or OH, please contact R.J. McVeigh.
  • If you are a student in VA, MD, DC, PA, or DE, please contact Michele Hendrickson.
  • If you are a student in KY, TN, or WV, please contact Brenna Hartwell
  • If you are a student in VT, CT, NH, MA, RI or ME, please contact Jane Riccardi.
  • If you are a student in NE, KS, IL, MO, or IA, please contact Reagan Nielsen.
  • If you are a student in OK or TX, please contact Katie Martin.
  • If you are a student in NY or NJ, please contact Keri Landeche.
  • If you are a student in GA, FL, SC, or NC, please contact Ryan Eyrich.
  • If you are a student in WI or MN, please contact Maddie Schulte.
  • If you are a student in AL, MS, LA, AR, or PR, please contact David Hesketh.

If you are a college student, click here.
**SFLA Resources are only available to active high school or college student groups. If you are a youth minister or community member, please email info@studentsforlife.org for other options.


NARAL flips out over babies and the Super Bowl

Did you catch the Doritos Super Bowl ad last night? It’s not like everyone is talking about it or anything.

One of the biggest abortion groups in the nation, NARAL, was losing its mind over it because *gasp* it showed an ultrasound of a preborn baby and it *gasp* was a baby!

This is what they tweeted:

They need to chill out and tell their social media person to slowly back away from the wine (maybe that explains their insane tweets last night, which pretty much made it known they don’t like babies).

Besides the fact that Doritos should be commended for their hilarious ad but also for showing the normal things that women do during pregnancy, like having an ultrasound that shows their baby, NARAL demonstrated their anti-woman stance and lack of true empowerment of women. How is decrying an ultrasound empowering women? Or worse, how is being deceitful about the fact that a preborn baby is a baby? By being horrified that an ad “humanizes” a fetus, they are saying that the fetus isn’t human, which is an outright lie and anti-science.

The other ad that got NARAL’s panties in a twist was the #SuperBowlBabies ad, which was so awesome! It heralded the fact that after a team’s Super Bowl win, data shows that there is a bit of a baby boom in that particular city, which NARAL deems horrendous. Babies? OH NO.

So this Monday morning, our team at Students for Life are going to grab some Doritos and get to work saving babies and helping their moms facing unplanned pregnancies.


Host a Conference Watch Party!

Because of #Blizzard2016, aka #Snowzilla, we had to cancel the 2016 SFLA East Coast Conference. Although we livestreamed the 2016 SFLA West Coast Conference on Sunday, January 24th, many students were unable to watch as inspiring speakers like Lila Rose, Stephanie Grey, and David Daleiden graced the stage.

We don’t want such an important event to be missed by any pro-life student. So here is our proposal:

Host an SFLA National Conference Watch Party for your pro-life group!

Here’s what you will get:

  • SFLA will send you the link where you can watch the entire conference.
  • SFLA will send you as many conference bags as you need that are filled to the brim with pro-life literature and other goodies.

Please fill out the form below and we will send the info you need!


Announcing Our New Regional Coordinators

We are excited to announce our newest additions to the Students for Life of America team, Ryan Eyrich, Jake Simon, and Brenna Hartwell!

Ryan Eyrich grew up in Augusta, GA and plans to graduate in May of 2016 with a BA inUntitled History and a double minor in both Government and Economics. Ryan has always been an adamant advisory for the Pro-Life cause. Even as a young boy he knew that abortion was wrong and that every life was special and worth defending. Once Ryan started at Belmont Abbey College, he soon became Belmont’s Pro-Life club’s president. Ryan remained president for his Freshmen and Sophomore year. Besides leading Belmont Abbey’s Pro-Life club, Ryan has participated in the annual March for Life and other Pro-Life events.

Ryan will serve as the Students for Life Southern Coordinator, working in NC, SC, GA, and FL.  He can be contacted at reyrich@studentsforlife.org if you need help in his region.

Jake Simon was born and raised in Southern California. He attended Clemson University to study economics and history, where he helped to get Clemson University Students for Life off the ground, before transferring to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona in 2009. While at NAU he continued to work with the pro-life movement in any way possible, from assisting with events to support local crisis pregnancy centers to leading classes aimed at educating students on how to better communicate their pro-life convictions.

Jake will work alongside Lauren Castillo in the Rocky Mountain Region. Email Jake at jsimon@studentsforlife.org for help with your group in AZ, WY, CO, UT, and NM.

Brenna Hartwell is an English major set to graduate from Xavier University in May of 2016. She has been involved with the pro-life community of Cincinnati since she was a freshman at Archbishop McNicholas High School. In her 8 years as a pro-life student, she has attended 8 Marches for Life in Washington, D.C., organized teams for a local annual pro-life 5k, collaborated with Pregnancy Resource Centers around Cincinnati, and organized many events hosted by Xavier’s Students for Life group, such as their annual Pumpkin Memorial. As a new member of the team, she looks forward to using her experience working with other pro-life students along with her skills as a writer to help Students for Life of America to empower the Pro-Life Generation.

Brenna will be working as the Students for Life of America Appalachian Regional Coordinator in KY, TN, and WV. Contact Brenna at bhartwell@studentsforlife.o

Never Thought We’d Be Here

By Nicole L. Dice, former president of Bethany for Life

My head was spinning as my mind reeled over what the doctor was telling me. “This is fatal.” “It’s a severe form.” “Your baby won’t survive.”  My baby won’t survive. How could that be?  I’m having a great pregnancy and everything has been fine.  How is this happening?  I looked into my husband’s eyes as we both wept.  We never thought we’d be here, yet here we are being told to make a choice.

I always proclaimed myself pro-life and never imagined any situation where I would be left to choose whether my baby lived or died, yet here it was.  The medical specialist explained that our baby had a chromosomal mutation and diagnosed our son with thanatophoric dysplasia.  We had been trying to have a baby for almost three years and finally on March 30, 2015 we saw that double line, but now this life is being taken from us.

We are 20 weeks along and they’re telling me I have to make a choice.  The doctor explained that I should consider terminating the pregnancy since the baby won’t survive.  My mind cleared and I thought, I can’t believe she is recommending for me to kill my baby.

I looked at the doctor and said, “That’s not an option.”

She continued to explain that I would most likely miscarry so I need to take some time to consider my options.  I looked into her eyes and replied, “I don’t need time.  God will decide when my baby’s life is over.  I will not kill my baby so tell me what we can do to help my child.”  She looked at us stunned, then began explaining where we go from here.  Nothing could be done to reverse his mutation so we were determined to carry out the pregnancy with extra monitoring until we delivered or miscarried.  I fell to my knees at God’s mercy every night asking that He provide my baby with life.  I researched as much as I could find, but found little hope.

We began treating our son as though he was already here making memories with him since we didn’t know if tomorrow existed.  We read to him daily, I sang to him children songs and church hymns, and we prayed together every night as a family.  My husband read children’s Bible stories to our son each night and I often sat in his nursery telling him about all the details of his room that he would never see.

One week went into another and each week when we visited our local doctor we heard a strong, beautiful heartbeat.  Every time I heard his heartbeat I praised God for giving us another week of his life.  I loved feeling him kick and watching my belly push out as he adjusted his body inside mine.  I sat on the couch for hours staring at my big belly and telling my son how much we loved him and that we would always protect him.  I went back to the specialist every six weeks and each time they would say the same thing.  “He’s still alive but you need to be prepared that you could go in one week and not have a heartbeat.”

I knew in my heart that God would give us his life and told the doctors that my God will grant life and I will deliver my son alive.

At 36 weeks, my husband and I welcomed our son, Daniel John Dice, at 8:38am at our local hospital. Daniel let out a beautiful little cry just before he was born and he was alive.  The doctor laid him directly on my chest and I thanked God for granting him life.  My husband and I prayed with Daniel, sang him “Happy Birthday”, read him books, told him how deeply we loved him, and held him with so much joy.  We sang some hymns to him and prayed with him again as he passed away in my arms, 89 minutes after his birth.

We wept for sorrow and joy.  We were so sad that his life was short, but we were so joyful that we were blessed with time to spend with him.

I reflected on the option my doctor gave me to terminate my pregnancy at 20 weeks and while looking at Daniel felt peace that I chose life for him.  I can’t imagine how different my life would be if I did not have all the time with him making memories during my pregnancy.

I chose to give Daniel a chance and give him life, but Daniel is the one who gave me life.  He opened my heart with a depth of love I can never fully explain.  I was able to spend 36 weeks with him growing inside me and 89 minutes with him in my arms alive.  I reflect on all the memories we made with him and how precious those minutes with him after birth were to our family.  I never imagined my son would have a short life, but I feel so blessed to have sustained his life and given birth to him.  By us carrying out Daniel’s life, it has provided hope and faith for us as well as others.

Getting a fatal diagnosis does not have to end in termination.  By carrying Daniel, I was able to spend weeks with him and make memories that I will forever cherish.  Knowing that I gave him life has helped me grieve his death.

Although he’s gone, I know I did everything to provide a life of love and grace for Daniel which sustains me.  As a tribute to my son’s life, I have dedicated a website in his memory to help other families find hope.  Please visit Daniel’s website and my blog at www.OurAngelDaniel.com.