“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
–The Road Not Taken By Robert Frost 1920
I read a post this morning by a Catholic homeschooling mother of ten children. It was a brutally honest blog about finding herself unexpectedly pregnant and struggling to deal with a pregnancy that she does not want. I can relate to her experience on a myriad of levels. My last two pregnancies were not planned. I cried for several weeks both of those times when I discovered I was pregnant, but not because the child was unwanted. Pregnancy is hard. If I were to become pregnant at this point in my life, it would be a crushing blow. I honestly don’t know if I could even survive it. And this is the exact point at which the road divides.
On the one road are the travelers, like Rebecca who find themselves in a situation which they don’t like, don’t enjoy and didn’t specifically choose; but who knew that pregnancy was a possibility, remained open to that possibility and will make the best of the situation as they go forward. The road appears dark and overgrown. It is scary and full of the unknown. It will test your stamina and push your limits physically and emotionally. It is very much the road less traveled. As you go along this road you will meet some amazing people who will encourage you and lift you up. You will discover strength and grace in abundance and will see amazing sights that could never before be imagined. At the end of this road are abundant blessings that cannot be counted. Sound familiar? It is the promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The other road appears straight and easy. It is well-traveled. The travelers on this road are beckoning you to join them. “This could have all been avoided so easily,” they tell you. Some will encourage you to “end the pregnancy” without considering the ending of the life that will come from it. Some will be stuck in telling you that you “made your bed and now you need to lie in it” without offering encouragement or assistance. On this road will be many well-meaning people who offer advice while at the same time judge your choice of being open to life, how many children you already have, and why you even considered having another. And to sharpen the pain, many of these people will claim to be Christians or even Catholics. If you don’t choose to end the life of your child, the travelers on this road will continue to dwell on what should have and could have been done to avoid the pregnancy in the first place. Neither position dwells in accepting the reality of the circumstances, but only attempt to alter that reality.
Too many people choose the well-traveled path and it leads to more pain and suffering in the long run. I believe the choice is made far too often because we are not fully aware of where the paths ultimately lead. Too many people do not trust in the message of Christ. Maybe they have never heard it, or maybe they are deceived into denying it like Eve in the Garden of Eden. Friends, don’t let your logic and emotions deceive you from trusting God who is Truth and Love. Remember that as Christians it is our duty to get ourselves and others to heaven. This should be our first goal. How we live each moment directs us down the path of our own choosing. This is especially evident when we follow the will of God despite the fact that our weak human will desires the easier route. So, if you find yourself in the position of an unwanted pregnancy, cry. Mourn. Weep. It is okay to feel. But, then pick up your cross and go forward. The grace and strength will be supplied in abundance by our Loving Father. If your path crosses with that of an expectant mother, offer an encouraging word or two; and if it is possible, offer physical help. Whether it is her first or fifteenth, pregnancy takes a real toll and physical help with the home, cooking or other kids is one of the greatest gifts you could give her. Be her Simon of Cyrene and help carry that heavy cross without criticism. Just imagine if Simon was helping Jesus and said, “You know, man, you could have avoided this whole thing . . .”