I have asked myself many times, as Adoro Te Devote did the other day, if I killed my baby. Years ago, long before I would have ever even considered the Catholic Church, I was in a “serious” relationship, meaning that we were dating only each other – I don’t know how “serious” it really was, as I didn’t ever really intend to marry this guy, though my thoughts about marriage at that point in my life were far different than they are now.

Oh yes, we used contraception. Who doesn’t? Go ahead, challenge me, I all but shouted to the world. Go ahead, question my lifestyle, I dare you! I remember, so clearly and with such shame as I glance backwards, leafing through the phonebook, even though I wasn’t sure I “believed in it,” for abortion providers. You see, I was late. That’s not supposed to happen under the glamor of sex life on the Pill. That’s what caused my heart to drop, because I was in my senior year, but I had so far to go. My life wasn’t about to be destroyed by something like that. No way.

It’s funny to me now: I never got a pregnancy test, but the next day, I wasn’t “late” anymore either. It was all washed away, forgotten, and I moved on.

God’s grace is so much bigger than our sins. The hardest part about being baptized into the Church was forgiving myself for these sins of mine, letting myself let go of the questions I had asked myself about that past life, moving forward with the sins in my mind and having them forgiven and washed away. Why is it hard to be forgiven? It was hard for me, in part, because I didn’t think I deserved it. And I didn’t. I still don’t. But He forgives me all the same. I can goof up and stink all the way to high heaven, and He will be there waiting, just like the merciful father in the story of the prodigal son, with His arms open wide and His mercy awaiting my asking.

I look at my daughter, and I see all that God makes possible, even with a sinner like me, even with a sinner like you. Even when the devil tempts me into despair with the memories of how bad I’ve been or allures me into self-righteousness with thoughts of how far I’ve come, I can be assured of my forgiven state. I have been forgiven. I will sin again, without a doubt, but God will forgive me.

Gazing at my daughter, and thinking of the baby to come, I wonder how many children I aborted in my contraceptive days. And I pray, so fervantly, that there were none, but if there were, that they rest in God’s hands, in the arms of Mother Mary, who loved them before I was capable of the sacrifice it requires.