I came across this letter the other day that I wrote Olivia for her first birthday and was so moved by reading it again, that I thought that I’d share it with all of you. For anyone out there who still doubts the impact of abortion, please read my love letter to my firstborn below.

Just think, if that abortion would have been successful in ending my life, I never would have had the opportunity to be a mother. I never would have had the opportunity to be HER mother. Just think, my daughter would never have lived if I had not survived.

April 26, 2009

My dearest Olivia, Today is your first birthday! I just can’t believe how fast the year has gone! It seems like just yesterday I was lying in bed at the hospital, anxiously awaiting your arrival! You have grown so quickly from a little baby into a big girl!

I will forever cherish the memories of my pregnancy with you, and I will never forget just how active you were in my belly—no one really could believe or understand me when I told them that you never rested in there, but I think now that they’ve seen how active you are over the past year, they can start to believe me now! And oh, what a stubborn little thing you were on the night of your birth! You were not coming out of there without a little bit of a push (or actually pull)!

You made the Dr. look for more help with getting you out, but in true Olivia-style, you decided to come out at the last minute, after having pushed him to look for other options! In that moment that you arrived into the world, I could feel your strength and your will—you are such a strong girl, already at your young age. And you were so beautiful! A head full of dark hair, a beautiful, dark complexion, and plump, the Dr. even had to remark about how fat your little cheeks were! You didn’t cry much when you came out, even when the nurse pushed you to do so.

Your birth was the most wonderful night of my life.  I would do it all over again, because you are worth every ounce of pain that I experienced.  Just as your birth was the most wonderful night of my life, this past year has been the best year of my life (even though at the time I am writing this you STILL don’t sleep through the night!)

There are so many things that I can say about your first year of life, but I will try to keep this as short as possible.  You have brightened the lives of everyone that you have come into contact with, especially mine.  Everyone who knows you, loves you, not just me.  Your daddy adores you, you have your grandpas and grandmas wrapped around your little finger, random strangers are struck by your beauty and your funny personality.  Seriously, we can’t take you anywhere in public without someone remarking about how pretty you are!

What are my favorite things about you?

You are so funny! Never before have I met a child who makes people laugh like you do.  Whether you are playing peek-a-boo, chasing me around the house, screeching and babbling, waving, or simply just hugging on someone, you are just a delight to be around.  You have the most wonderful little belly laugh—I love to tickle you just to hear it!

You are a beautiful girl, period.  I love everything about you from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, but most of all I love your big eyes and your beautiful smile.  I suspect that you will grow up to be like me, and you will tell a lot through your face and your gestures; you already tell a lot through the flash of your eyes—it is easy to see if you are happy, sad, or just plain mischevious.  You have been quick to smile ever since you were just a few months old, but for a long time, you only flashed that beautiful smile to those that you REALLY liked.  Now you smile more often than not, and your wide grin, full of teeth (a couple of them crooked), is just a beauty to behold.

Believe it or not, I have always loved your hands and feet! Let me explain why….Your hands never stop moving (nor do your feet really, either).  Just like when you were in my belly, you are constantly touching, twirling, pinching, grabbing, pulling and scratching at things.  Even when you were just a few months old, you loved to take your index finger and scratch at new textures that you came across.  Of course, you using those little hands to pinch and scratch yourself so you stay awake is not so fun, but it is pretty funny!

As for those cute little feet of yours, I have known you had monkey-feet like me since your birth, and boy, have you figured that out.  You love to pick things up with your toes, rub your feet up against things to feel their texture, and you are not crazy about wearing socks or shoes.  Someday I will share stories with you about how you used to cry when I put your socks and shoes on you!

What are some of my other favorite things about you?  You are strong, physically and mentally.  You are not a delicate girl, by any means.  You play hard, you are rarely phased by falling down, you like to be active, and you sure communicate to us what you want and need.  You are a very determined girl, to the point that many others have noticed this about you, too.  Whatever you want to do or get, you work at it until you get it.  Of course, you are likewise a stubborn little thing, like your Mom and your Dad.  Once you set your mind on something, there is no one or not one thing that is going to change it.  Ahhh….I can see the power struggles that we will have in your teenage years, already!

My list of what I love about you could go on and on and on, but my last one for this letter is this:  I love that you are my daughter! I am so blessed to have you in my life, and I look forward to all of the rest of the years of my life with you in it.  Thank you for being you and for loving me!

What is my favorite memory of you from this past year? I have way too many to count, but I will share a few of them with you:

∙The moment you were born.

∙All of your firsts-Your first smile, your first laugh, first time of rolling over, first time sitting up by yourself, first time pulling yourself up, first time standing, first steps, first time saying mama, dada, hi, waving bye.  Even the first time that I saw you hit another kid at daycare was a favorite memory of mine!

∙Even though I am not fond of being up all hours of the night, I love snuggling with you in the rocking chair in the deep, dark of night, while you play with my hair; I will treasure those memories forever.

∙I love story time with you and have lots of great memories around it.  I enjoyed rocking in the rocking chair and reading to you when you were in my belly.  I started reading to you when you were just a few weeks old, and although you’ve always seemed to enjoy it, you have taken a huge liking to it since you were about 10 months old.  You like to point to the books you would like to read, and you definitely have your favorites—The Can Do Choo-Choo and all sorts of pop up books.

∙You waking up in the morning.  You have been a morning person from the very beginning, but as you have gotten older, you have been more and more vocal about it.  Some of my favorite memories from this past year involve you waking up and chattering away, climbing all over your Dad and I in bed, looking for the dog or cat to pet.  I tell you, you are not one who takes awhile to wake up.  The minute those eyes of yours pop open in the morning, that’s it—you are ready to take on the day!

∙Our family time each evening.  Although what this looks like has changed as you have gotten older, I have wonderful memories of the times that your dad and I have spent with you each night.  When you were first born, this usually consisted of you cuddling up with us and watching tv or going for a walk.  As you have gotten older, it progressed to working with you on rolling over, sitting up, standing, walking, playing with toys, dancing and singing, playing outside, and most of all, climbing and hugging all over us!

∙Your attendance at the Siouxland Interfaith Prayer Service and my speeches in Storm Lake were very special to me.  You are an important little girl in the pro-life movement already!

This letter will be the first of many letters that are written to you on your birthday.  My plan is to write you a letter for each of your birthdays and leave them for you to read when you are old enough to read and understand them.  I hope that you enjoy them when you get older.

Although you are not old enough right now to understand why I am crying tears of love and joy as I write this letter, someday you will understand.  You have been the greatest gift of my life, and I love you more than I could ever put into words.  You are by far the most amazing little person that I have ever met, and I can’t wait to see the amazing big person that you will become.

All my love, Mommy