By Amanda Gaudet
I started doing pro-life work when I was 13 years old. After attending a family conference where a presentation was made on abortion, I felt that I could no longer sit idly by. The call to action stirred within my young heart after seeing graphic abortion images. My heart broke for the babies, but at the same time grew firm with resolution.
Growing up a cradle Catholic, home-schooled and with 9 other siblings – actually, I only grew up with 6 siblings since 2 passed away and 1 was born 9 days after my wedding – I always grew up in a pro-life atmosphere, and had a general knowledge of what it meant to be pro-life: we lived it. So after seeing the images, nothing really changed for me, except the passion began to take root and grow. I became the vice-president of a youth pro-life group and we began doing activism all over Edmonton. We prayed outside of the abortion clinic and occasionally spoke to clients. When I turned 18 I was asked if I wanted to participate in the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) a graphic image project on campuses that compared different genocides to abortion. I debated young and old, students and profs; and I was TERRIFIED. But the passion grew.
At 19, I became the Ministry Coordinator at The Back Porch Project – an 11th hour ministry for those reconsidering their impending abortion – in Edmonton. When this project was underway, I helped with small renovations to the house and volunteered for a few months. After coming back from a 6 month Catholic mission’s trip, I was hired. This was my dream job: I even turned down a degree in psychology for this ministry.
I helped build this ministry from a small part-time job, with less than a hand full of volunteers and clients only coming in maybe a couple times a month (lucky if a couple times a week!). I married my husband Ryan, two years after starting this job and I wanted to get pregnant right away. I always valued pregnant women and the mystery of life they carried within them. I felt that a pro-life pregnant woman would have a profound impact on those contemplating abortion.
When we got pregnant the first time, we were both ecstatic! I couldn’t believe that this little miracle was happening within my body. A couple weeks later we miscarried and I was devastated. The pain is very difficult to describe, and I didn’t want to go to work where I was fighting for women to not kill their babies while mine had died. After taking a week off, I was needed back on the job. It broke my heart to go into work and every day I felt like it broke just a little bit more. We named our baby Gerard.
When I got pregnant the second time, I held my enthusiasm in check but hoped that this time would be the time. It wasn’t. This little baby joined his/her sibling up in Heaven and I began to morn again. I didn’t think the pieces of my heart could break any more, but they did. I became depressed and withdrawn. I struggled daily and it affected my husband and certain friendships. We named this baby Jayme.
I was back to work just days later. I was numb and broken. A married couple came into The Back Porch that day. As we spoke I felt the powerful urge to share with them about my losses. They had born children and wanted to abort this one. I shared that I had two of my babies die. I shared that I had wanted them so badly, but they died and there was nothing I could do to save them. I told them how broken and depressed a mother feels when her babies are no longer within her when that is where they should be. I told them that I had no choice, but that they did. They could choose to NOT let the doctors kill their baby. They could choose to WANT this baby. They could choose to save this baby and themselves from a life of pain and regret. “I didn’t have a choice, and I’m suffering the pain of my loss. How much worse will your pain and suffering be if you choose to let those doctors kill you baby.” This became something very common for me to share with those who entered the Porch, and it has saved lives.
I decided to quit pro-life work. My pain was too much, the politics within the movement were too intense, and I began to doubt whether or not we’d actually win this battle: I also felt so alone. When I handed in my resignation to the vice-president of the board, she encouraged me to continue with my plans to go for further pro-life training and if I still felt the same at the afterwards, they would accept my resignation.
Upon arriving in Calgary, and being shown to my room for the week, a bookmark laid on my pillow. The words jumped out at me and stung with sharp conviction: “Don’t quit!” I persevered through the training that week and in the end decided to persevere in my calling to do full-time pro-life work. A month later, I was pregnant again: 9 months later I held my daughter in my arms as I began my new calling, the call to Motherhood. Sixteen months later – after a VERY unplanned and emotionally difficult pregnancy – I held my son in my arms.
I went back to work after my daughter’s first birthday, then for a few months after my son was born. Despite the fact I was doing great work in the office, my homelife was becoming strained. With much prayer and peace, I officially quit at The Back Porch to become a full-time mom. But I have not quit pro-life work. I am still being called, and have so much more to give!