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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Mothers (05/02/05)

TITLE: The Gift of a Child
By Cheryl Thompson


At 16 years of age, Kara knew what she wanted in life. A straight “A” student, she was involved in several extra curricular activities. The Captain of her cheerleading squad, the sophomore class President, elected to the Homecoming Court, a Beta Club member, and hours spent volunteering in her community and church. She was full of life, laughter, and the hope of a bright future. Everything she did was done for the future she knew she was destined to live. The future that revolved around Chuck; the Captain of the football team.

“Push Mary! You’re doing great, Push!” Jim said, as he coached his laboring wife. “It hurts!” Mary cried, as the contraction eased and she was able to catch her breath. Mary and Jim had enjoyed 15 years of marriage together. They had tried for years to have a baby, but every failed attempt began to take its toll, and Mary finally resolved to give up hope of ever becoming a mother. So when Mary’s queasiness turned out to be a pregnancy, they were beside themselves with joy.

Kara waited a month before she even made an appointment; she already knew what the results would be, but she didn’t want to think about it…until she had to.
“How could this have happened?” She asked the nurse, knowing what the answer was. “We used protection… I’m only 16!” Kara blurted out, and with that, she buried her face in her hands and cried.

“We’re almost there Mary!” Jim excitedly told Mary, “I can see the head!” Tears streamed down Mary’s face. She cried for the joy of finally knowing motherhood, and for all the years they had waited. Her tears were offered in thanksgiving to God, for the miracle of this child. The Obstetrician made a little bow out of gauze and put it on the crown of the baby’s head. “Now, if this is a boy,” the Doctor said, pointing at the bow, “don’t you ever tell him I did this! Alright Mary, one more big push and we’ll have us a baby.” Mary began to bear down one more time… “1….2…..3” Jim counted…

“You have other options.” The nurse told Kara. “What do you mean?” Kara asked. “Well,” The nurse said matter-of-factly, “Abortion. You don’t have to continue with this; it is your choice.” Kara’s heart pounded, as her future flashed into her mind… with an abortion, she wouldn’t have to change anything. College, her career… and her parents would never have to know… all of her plans would still be attainable, if she chose to have an abortion. Having a baby would change everything. She didn’t even know if Chuck would stay with her, but she knew she had to tell him. “Before I make a decision,” Kara told the nurse, “I have to talk to my boyfriend.”

“It’s a girl!” Jim shouted, as the Doctor passed the tiny, unmoving infant to the nurse. “Is she okay?” Mary asked; No one responded. “She isn’t crying.” Mary told Jim, “Oh my God, Jim what’s wrong? Why isn’t she crying?” Mary asked frantically, “What’s wrong with my baby!?” The Doctor and nurses feverishly worked to stimulate, and suction the baby, hoping she would respond. Jim and Mary heard their suffocating words...“She’s blue." "She isn’t breathing!" "I can’t find a pulse!" "Get NICU down here STAT!” “Nooooooooooo!” Mary screamed, as Jim fell to his knees.

Kara came across an ad in the classifieds… “A Loving home for your baby.” It had been six months since she and Chuck went their separate ways. Kara had been greatly disappointed in Chuck’s behavior when she told him she was pregnant. He said he wasn’t ready to be a father, and why didn’t she just get rid of “it.” But Kara couldn’t. Deep within her heart, she knew abortion wasn’t just about her choice; it was about the life of the child she carried. Abortion offered an easy way out, but Kara would not have been able to live with that. Kara’s parents were very supportive of their daughter’s choice. They talked, and cried together, then got down on their knees and prayed together. “God’s will be done.” Kara prayed…and now, as she dialed the number in the ad, her heart was pounding and her hands trembled. “Hello Mary? My name is Kara…”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Chris Miller05/09/05
I enjoyed the back and forth experiences of the expecting teen and the mom with pregnancy difficulties. I liked the ending.
Just a suggestion: in dialogue, it might help to start new paragraphs when a new speaker begins.
Helga Doermer05/10/05
I like the contrasting images [very realistic]and the way you wove them together at the end.
Sally Hanan05/13/05
Having known a few girls who gave up their baby this was very realistic. To help with the switching it's a good idea to put *** lines between sections.
Deborah Porter 05/16/05
Cheryl, congratulations on your 3rd place in the Level 2 Challenge. However, that doesn't tell the whole story. I think you deserve to know that you were 9th overall - which means you were next in line for the Editors' Choice awards. Feel free to move up to Level 3 now - I think you're more than ready for it. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)