Caroline Metzinger isn’t an Aggie, but married one as fast as she could! She was born and raised in Australia and moved to the US to work with NET Ministries in the late 90s. She is wife to Nathan, proud fightin’ Texas Aggie class of ’97. They have six children and live in St. Paul, Minnesota where Nathan is Chief Mission Officer for St. Paul’s Outreach. When not corralling her brood, Caroline is a music teacher and lead singer for the band Sonar, which plays around the country and at Steubenville Conferences. This week is the 45th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States through all three trimesters of pregnancy. As Catholics, we believe that all life is created by God and precious from conception until natural death. Caroline comes to us today via the interwebs, as our sister in faith, to share one of many powerful prolife testimonies.
When my brother was born, the eighth child in our rowdy Australian family, my Mum found out she had deep vein thrombosis. She was kept in the hospital and her doctors advised her and my Dad to not conceive again, as a pregnancy could end her life. They took the doctor’s word to heart, and avoided pregnancy using Natural Family Planning. That worked like a charm for eight years.
In October of 1973, Mum found out that she was expecting again. While shocked at this news, they trusted that this development was the Lord’s will. My Mum and Dad were very devout Catholics.
They visited their doctor to have the pregnancy confirmed. The conversation with the doctor shocked them. He strongly advised terminating the pregnancy. He had several reasons for presenting this as an option for my parents. First, Mum’s thrombosis experience with her prior pregnancy was a serious concern that could be fatal to both my Mum and the baby. My Dad, 51 at the time, could be a widower. Second, the likelihood of both of Mum and baby surviving would be slim, but should only one survive, the doctor’s preference would be saving the mother’s life, not the baby’s. Third, because Mum was 45, she was already considered a high-risk pregnancy candidate which increased her chances of delivering a baby with birth defects. The doctor shared that the baby could have Down Syndrome. In his opinion, the doctor said, this was reason enough to terminate the pregnancy.
My parents were scared. My Dad was overwhelmed at the thought of being a widower at 52, raising a newborn by himself and caring for the other eight children, three of whom were still at home. My Mum was numb. Would this pregnancy end her life? Would she lose her baby? If the baby did have a disability, what would it be and what changes would need to happen to care for their child?
I cannot imagine what they went through. But, I do know this – two things kept them grounded. Their faith and their incredible network of faithful friends and family. Mum would call her friend Miss Peggy and share her heart: spiritually, emotionally and physically. And Miss Peggy was always there to give her encouragement, support and a sisterly shoulder to cry on. Mum and Dad received the sacraments regularly, prayed fervently and entrusted the pregnancy to the Lord, knowing that whatever happened, He was in control and He had a plan.
They walked away from the doctor’s recommendations and decided they would give this tiny person’s life a chance. While still overwhelmed and anxious at times, a prevailing sense of peace settled over them as the baby grew in Mum’s womb.
Well, I was born on July 24, 1974. I came out crying, nice and pink and completely healthy – despite Mum’s emergency C-section. And here I am today, looking out the window of my lovely home, writing this testimony to you.
I want you to know that my Mum and Dad sacrificed in ways I will never comprehend in order to bring me into this world. And I am so glad!
The reality that my Mum’s life was on the line caused my parents real pain and fear. It was a very real possibility that they would be preparing for a funeral instead of welcoming a new little life into their family.
This thought is still completely overwhelming to me, and yet it is clear that the Lord had His own wonderful divine plans. What blesses me is the incredible witness of faith and trust that my parent’s gave me before I was even born. Ending my life was NEVER an option for them. My life was precious to them, despite everything.
Today, I want to echo that to you – all life is a sacred, precious and a GIFT from God. We do not have the right to take that life away.
When my parents were still alive, they told me, “We cannot imagine our life without you in it. You bring us joy! We are proud of the path you are taking in following and loving the Lord. We love you!” I have these precious words tucked away in my heart forever.
I often think of the courage my parents had in surrendering their plans to the Lord. If they had listened to and acted on the doctor’s many reasons to end my life, the world would now be deprived of our six beautiful children and the mark they are making on our world. Because of my parent’s brave ‘Yes’ to the Lord, six more unique and unrepeatable individuals have been born into a life of love and faith.
For this, I am eternally grateful.
Join Aggie Catholics at the Prolife Mass, March and Rally at the Texas Capitol on Saturday, January 27. Learn more here.
* every situation regarding maternal heath and pregnancy is different and can be difficult. But, thankfully, Church teaching is clear. If you’d like to learn more, you can read this document from the National Catholic Bioethics Center.