I never thought I'd have any compassion or understanding for someone who has had an abortion.
The thought of killing a developing baby so offended everything in me, it was virtually impossible to imagine a scenario where I could ever get past it — especially the longer our battle with infertility dragged on. Wherever I go, I always seem to make friends with the atheists, the liberals and the outsiders, but I've never made room for those who fight on the side of abortion.
My wife Jennie and I have found a way to have joy and love despite the baby-shaped hole in our hearts, but we really do feel empty inside at times. And seeing that empty look in my loving wife's eyes was almost too much to bear. I've dealt with physical pain my whole life and I can handle a lot. What forced me to me knees day after day and night after night, however, was seeing my beautiful wife try to be strong for me.
Who doesn't love a good concert?Photo credit: Jon Boldt
I know we don't get everything we want in life, but the 14-year rollercoaster of infertility has been gut-wrenchingly painful, and not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Jennie is my best friend, and while I know the fires of life we have endured have forged a bond that will never be broken, it doesn't make it any easier — and man, do those fires get hot!
Some little boys dream of being an astronaut, some an athlete. Not me. All I ever wanted to be was a dad. Whether it was how to throw a baseball, how to cook the perfect steak or how to drive, I dreamt of the day I would be the one passing knowledge on to a little boy of my own.
I am the oldest of seven and I have three sisters, and the way they looked at my dad made me want to have a little girl of my own — I couldn't wait to be wrapped around her little finger. Just thinking of that now brings a tear to my eye and has me more determined than ever to not give up.
We just spent the last year consulting with more fertility specialists and trying different treatments, and ultimately, IVF. We found out a few weeks ago that our embryo that was created and transferred did not take, and the pregnancy never even got off the ground.
We had been so hopeful and thought for sure this was the time it would work. Needless to say, we were crushed. I tried to pick up the pieces as quickly as possible so I could be there for her, and I did, but it wasn't easy. Now we are facing what could be our final shot (unless we win the Powerball or something).
This is the moment we thought all our dreams came true.Photo credit: Jon Boldt
Throughout this process, I can't help but think of all the unwanted pregnancies versus how many people are struggling with infertility. It really started to upset me thinking about all the drug addicts and teenagers who were, as Barack Obama said, "punished with a baby." I found myself becoming angry, bitter and resentful.
Just a quick glance at the numbers is enough to make your head explode.
In 2017, there were about 880,000 abortions. At any given time, about 10 percent of women between the ages of 15-44 struggle to conceive — that is 6.1 million in total. Think about that. There are enough women who want to have a baby but can't to adopt the number of aborted babies nearly 7 times over. The cost of adoption is a whole other can of worms I won't get into, but if we could reform adoption, we could all but eliminate the need for any abortions.
Over the past couple of months, I've lost count of the number of shots I've administered to my wife. First, it was the hormones to aid in the egg retrieval process, and then it was to help the embryo to implant and continue to grow. Over that period of time, I was excited and hopeful, yet the nagging feelings of resentment wouldn't pass.
You don't want to know how much money is in this picture!Photo credit: Jon Boldt
I knew the only way to get over these feelings was through prayer and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, so I went to work. I didn't want to be angry anymore. I wanted to enjoy the process of getting pregnant, so I hit my knees. The thoughts came slowly at first, and one was something Glenn shared that might not seem like it correlates at first, but bear with me.
This is what he said:
Hate is not the opposite of love, apathy is.
Here's the meaning: hate and love operate based on the same emotions and engagement — but with different goals and outcomes. What kills love is not hate, it's apathy. And this inspired me to come up with a solution. I felt like I couldn't overcome this without putting together a path forward, and this quote hit me like a bolt of lightning.
We don't stand much of a chance on changing the minds of the militant left, and they don't stand much of a chance of changing the minds of pro-lifers. The battle lies in the mushy middle where apathy has a stranglehold. Apathy is the enemy to both pro-life and pro-choice advocates — whoever wins that battle wins the war.
So many people say they would never have an abortion, but they support someone else's right to choose. That's the group we need to connect with. The upcoming movie, Unplanned, is one way we can pierce their hearts and open their minds to see the evil abortion truly is. We must do this all without judgement in our hearts, and instead, act with love and compassion.
We need to separate the real people from the organizations: Planned Parenthood and the politicians who have pushed this agenda so far that we are now debating whether or not it's ok to kill a baby after it's born. I can't believe this is where we are. This agenda is pure evil and we must take a stand.
The deeper I've thought and prayed about this subject, the more I feel relieved of the burden to judge anyone for any reason.
It is beyond me to understand what's going through the mind of a teenage girl who thinks her life is over when she finds out she's pregnant. Likewise, the pain of a sexual assault is something I cannot begin to fathom, and compounding that with a pregnancy is a decision I have no room to judge. The deeper I've thought and prayed about this subject, the more I feel relieved of the burden to judge anyone for any reason. We will all be held to account for what we've made of the life granted to us by our Creator, but we are not meant be the judge.
It's time to throw winning and losing out the window along with all the tactics that have failed completely. We cannot change hearts and minds if all we are trying to do is change the scoreboard. This issue is about people, love and compassion — and loving someone doesn't include keeping score.
I believe there are four ways we can change our behavior in order to achieve different results. But the key is making these a part of us, not a tool to get what we want. Here are the four behaviors :
FORGIVE: We must forgive those who have chosen to abort. It's not only the compassionate thing to do, it's what is required of us by our Savior, Jesus Christ. Plus, forgiveness always edifies and uplifts all parties, allowing reconciliation to happen.
LOVE: Find ways to show love to those who have already made this choice as well as those who are now facing this decision.
STRENGTHEN: Strengthen those who are in this situation and educate them on all the options available to them. So many times the choice seems to be either "ruin your life" or "abort." There are so many other options, and education is key.
STAND: Take a stand, and don't let the forces of darkness win. Refuse to give in, and help people shake the apathy from their slumbering eyes.
Politically, the focus needs to be on waking the sleeping masses, because the left and the abortion racket do not have the polls in their favor. By and large, people tolerate abortion to a certain point, but very few actually embrace the choice, and, in fact, a lot of those who have had abortions deeply regret it.
The trial my wife and I are facing isn't entirely unlike that of a woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy. Both have options and choices, both involve the creation of another life and both have eternal consequences. Apathy would convince my wife and me to give up trying and enjoy a life of traveling, doing fun things and getting a good night's sleep. It also would convince the unintentionally pregnant woman that her choice doesn't really matter in the long run — it's just a clump of cells that she can get rid of and forget.
We must fight apathy with all we have in us, no matter the issue. Let's put down our cell phones and turn off Netflix once in a while, and live life.
We must fight apathy with all we have in us. Let's put down our cell phones and turn off Netflix once in a while, and live life. If we can combine being pro-life with pro-choices, meaning educate and give more options, I believe more will choose life.
This time around, we'll be transferring two frozen embryos and the doctor says the odds are good at least one will take — and it's 50/50 we'll end up with twins. Who knows? Maybe our dreams will come true this round. Or maybe we will continue to be our nieces' and nephews' favorite aunt and uncle while we explore other options.
No matter what happens, I know love and life are most important, and I will defend both with every ounce of strength God will grant me. I will gladly stand shoulder to shoulder with any and all who will join me.
Even if you've had an abortion.