WASHINGTON, D.C., December 21, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Meet Stephanie Spidell. She’s a single mother of five children, one of whom has special needs. Now she’s raising six, because when her sister was murdered, she took in her niece, as well.
According to medical experts, Stephanie’s youngest child shouldn’t be here. Her daughter Khya was given an “incompatible with life” diagnosis while Stephanie was still pregnant with her.
Khya suffers from Alobar Holoprosencephaly, a brain abnormality that often results in miscarriage, stillbirth or early death.
Doctors urged Stephanie to abort.
If Khya survived the delivery, the doctors said, she would only live a few minutes or hours. If she was extremely lucky, she might live six months at most. Have an abortion, they told Stephanie, to “put [Khya] out of her misery.”
Stephanie refused to do it. “Even before I felt her move within me,” she said, “before I knew her gender or gave her a name, and especially when she was given an ‘incompatible with life’ diagnosis in utero, my daughter was a special gift who deserved to be loved and protected as a legal person.” She resisted her caregivers’ pressure to abort.
Stephanie said the decision to have Khya was an easy one. “I just decided that if my child was sick and facing one of the biggest challenges in her life, that I would take that time to comfort her, to love her, to be there with her, and to help her through any transition that she was going to make,” she said.
Khya is now nearly two years old.
“I’m very blessed and honored to be Khya’s mom,” Stephanie said. “Along with my other five children, we are Khya’s full-time caregivers and we want to share her story so that people will understand that all life is precious! What the world sees as ‘imperfect’ or a ‘mistake,’ we see as our much loved little sister and daughter.”
She says her goals for Khya are to keep her healthy and growing so their family can keep showing her unconditional love.
Stephanie wasn’t always so staunchly pro-life. “Before I had Khya,” she said, “I had a number of abortions. Some of them, I wasn’t married at the time, and I just didn’t want any more kids. And I had a few abortions in my marriage, and I found myself having a baby and being pregnant three weeks later.”
“It’s sad to say, I used abortion as a form of birth control,” Stephanie said.
That’s part of the reason Stephanie is so glad she gave birth to Khya. She says it feels like her path to redemption. She’s hopeful it will send an important message about the value of life and unconditional love to her older children and the niece she is raising.
She said she hopes they “never have to feel the guilt I still feel at times, knowing the decisions that I made.”
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Stephanie is now raising all six children without help from a husband or extended family. When her sister died, she said, “it tore our family apart.” Instead, Stephanie has relied on pro-life advocates and the Roman Catholic Church for help.
“Khya has taught us so much about faith, hope, and love,” Stephanie said. “I thank God for picking me to be her mom.”