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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Bowman

Motherhood and a social work career: How God prepared me to defend the voiceless and the fatherless

Mother and child
Photo by Hollie Santos

By Natalie Bowman

I’ll never forget the day I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. It was my husband’s birthday, and I had been feeling sick all week. I have endometriosis, so I thought having children would be a difficult journey for me and that pregnancy couldn’t be the culprit of my nausea. I decided to take a pregnancy test just to be sure. It turned out having a baby was indeed in God’s plans, and I very quickly read “positive” on the pregnancy test.

My husband and I were shocked. Amazed. Scared. Each of these emotions and more were felt intensely throughout my pregnancy. I was scared about becoming a mom. I was worried about the difficulties of pregnancy and delivering a baby.

But not once did I consider ending my baby’s life through abortion. Why?

I am a licensed social worker and spend my days providing options counseling to women who are pregnant and want to make adoption plans for their unborn babies. I hear from these women all the time about the fear and anxiety that accompanies unexpected pregnancy. I personally relate to these fears and anxieties now that I am a mom and have walked the journey of pregnancy and parenting. The difference between myself and most of these women is that I have a very strong support system, stable income, and a safe home environment. I have the knowledge and faith that God is in control and has a plan for every situation in which I find myself. I also know without doubt that my baby was alive and real the moment she was conceived. She was not just a clump of cells. She was a baby—a precious, God-given gift.

Not all the women I speak with believe the same. It breaks my heart every phone call I receive when a woman asks for abortion options. Some will say they can’t follow through with the pregnancy and want to have an abortion just so they can move on with their life. Others say their boyfriend or husband wants them to have an abortion and will help pay for it, but they themselves aren’t confident about it. The more heartbreaking conversations are the ones where women tell me after I follow up with them about the adoption option, “I decided to get an abortion. Thanks for reaching out though.” This was an actual response I received several months ago. I sat at my desk, burdened for that precious baby whose life was ended.

It was that text message that has motivated me to write down my thoughts and share them with you, because I want to do more to protect the sanctity of life. I also want to share something that will surprise many of you reading this. I think it’s safe to say that most people assume the women who get abortions just think of the baby as a “clump of cells” like they’ve been told by abortion clinics. However, this is not the case. Some of the women I talk to tell me they had an abortion for a previous pregnancy, and they admit they know the procedure killed their baby. The reason they called me is because they don’t want to end another baby’s life. They admit what abortion is – killing innocent life. They understand their pregnancy is not just a clump of cells. They DO know they are growing a living being inside them. Take a moment to let that sink in.

Those who do not turn to abortion have two options: make an adoption plan or parent. Because of the cycle of poverty, abuse and neglect, and lack of resources (and many more reasons), the women planning adoption are trying to make the best plan for their unborn children. Occasionally, there are women who come through an adoption program because they do not have the desire to parent, or they are older and don’t wish to start over with parenting another child in addition to the children they already have. Many women are struggling to provide a stable livelihood for the children they’re parenting, so they turn to adoption to provide a better life for one or more of their children. Other women choose to parent, and while it is possible for them to be successful, it is not often the case for the women who initially thought adoption was the better choice because of their financial, emotional, and physical stability. The babies the women choose to parent will often end up in foster care if their parents are unable to maintain a stable home environment.

What happens to the babies who end up in foster care, you ask? They stay in foster care for months that turn into years while the child welfare system does them a disservice and takes too long, in my opinion, to determine a permanent plan. The children in the child welfare system who do not receive permanency in the form of a safe, loving home then grow up with more trauma than you can imagine, have children, and face the same decision their parents did—parent or place their child for adoption. Thus, the cycle continues, one child after another.

Becoming a mom has brought me both joy and a stronger sense of purpose. It has given me a greater understanding of just how beautiful human life is. I want nothing more than to protect children, both the unborn and born. I want my daughter to know she is loved, wanted, and has a purpose in this world. I want other children to know the same – God gave them life, and they deserve to both survive and thrive.

The only way I know how to help these children outside of my social work career as an individual is to advocate for churches and organizations to work together. I have no doubt that if churches became more engaged in the needs of the child welfare system, both foster care and adoption, the outcome for these children would improve immensely. I also know nonprofit organizations like foster and adoption agencies, pregnancy help centers, and child advocacy centers would benefit from the support of their local churches. I understand that the words “child welfare system” sound scary. It can be scary. It is indeed a broken system in dire need of help. The Danbury Institute plans to produce material that will provide options for churches like yours to become involved in protecting and advocating for the lives of children all over our country. I encourage you to stay tuned for this information and much more in the coming months. If the information I shared above moves your heart and mind to explore an opportunity to become involved now, please reach out to The Danbury Institute. We would be so excited to walk alongside you as you learn more about your call to protect children just as God has instructed us.


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