Surprise Visit with my Mentally Ill Birth Mother

My mother was raped; many would say I am the rapist’s baby.  Those mothers who have been raped will quickly say their child is their baby, not the rapist’s.  In my case, I was never the rapist’s baby, nor my mother’s.

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Mothers whether you love them or hate them, they are always yours.  Deep down you know that when trouble comes, your mom will be there for you.  She may give lots of unwanted advice at times, but at least she is there to give it.  For women who are mentally ill like my birth mother, who is schizophrenic, correct motherly responses are almost impossible.  When I was born, Michigan still had state mental hospitals, and she had many visits there.  While she was finishing a stay in the mental hospital after I was born, a local couple cared for me.  When she got out, they tried to teach her how to care for me. Under her care, I would go all day not being fed or changed; when the crying would not end, her husband would call for help.

The local couple, Ursula and Zara Hunter, continued to step in to help when asked.  When I was five years old I was legally adopted by the couple. Before this, I was an orphan.  My biological father discarded me the moment I was conceived through his horrible act forced upon a mentally and physically defenseless woman. Though it’s possible that on her good days, my biological mother wanted me, she was not capable of caring for me.  Through no fault of her own, a mental illness robbed me of a relationship with her.

When people hear that I’m adopted, the first thing they ask is, “Do you know who your ‘real’ parents are?”  My response is always the same: “Yes, their names are Ursula and Zara Hunter.”  But I know what they are really asking.  After visiting my biological mother and her husband almost 15 years ago, I didn’t go back for a long time.  My mother seemed quiet and, at times, indifferent about the visit but answered the basic questions I asked.  After this visit, bizarre behavior surfaced.  I was told by her legal guardian at the time, not to visit again.  I continued to visit her husband when I could and sent pictures of my family.  He explained that if she got to the mail before he did, she would rip up the pictures explaining that she did not have a daughter or grandchildren.

When her husband died, she acknowledge me at the funeral.  Afterwards, I made more of an effort to write and would occasionally ask if I could stop by for a visit.  She did not respond to the requests.  However, a few weeks ago I received a response to my most recent attempt to connect.  Her written response to, “Can I stop by to visit?” was, “I don’t care what you do. Make your own decision. Sincerely, your Mother.”

What to do?  Stop and hope it’s a good day, or always wonder if she was having a bad?  Since we were going through the area that evening, I decided to stop.  I must admit it’s difficult to see how she lives, and her behavior.  The visit was short and my family stayed in the car.

My hope is to visit again but I know that it will never be a normal situation.  So does that mean I should have been aborted?  What if my traumatic conception and birth always cause her pain? Would having an abortion have made that pain go away?  I have heard so many women tell me that they regret the abortion they had after being raped-that the abortion made it worse not better.  What about the grandchildren she doesn’t want to see? Are they not real because their mother was conceived in rape? Of course not! Their lives matter as does mine.  Yes, the memories will last a lifetime, but the pregnancy only lasted nine months. But an abortion would not have ended the memories, only my life.  I may not have the fairy tale ending many who have been adopted dream about. The reality of that makes me even more grateful I was adopted and not aborted. I was never given away, I was given a family!

Mary Rathke learned of her conception at the age of 32 yrs, she is a licensed minister, Pro-Life Speaker and is on the board of Save the 1.

Edited by Shawn Spry

Pregnant Woman Jailed Because She Is a Rape Victim

An 18-year-old woman who was searching for a rental home for herself and her husband was lured into an empty building and was gang raped by seven men. A police officer found her after the incident and dismissed her statement, because it was a Muslim holiday and he did not want to take the time to investigate. The men who raped her had told her during the event that if she told anyone what had happened they would kill her. The police officer who found her did nothing, so this confirmed her fears that no would would help or take her seriously. She lives in a country where rape convictions are rare, and, instead, the VICTIM maybe prosecuted for adultery.  (Full story here- http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/18/sudan-pregnant-alleged-rape-victim-charged-adultery)

She is now seven months pregnant. Because her attackers filmed the event, she was arrested for adultery, and could face death by stoning. She is now sleeping on the concrete floor in a jail cell. Victim’s rights in many different parts of the world are not looked upon the same as here in the USA. We hear about her horrible ordeal, in wonder and dismay. I look at her situation and realize there are three victims. The woman, her husband, and her unborn child. In America that child would be marked for death. Advocates for justice cry out against her stoning, but many of those same supporters of the woman are staunch believers that injecting her womb with a salt solution so the baby scalds to death would be okay. Many believe abortion in case of rape is okay.  Why are we appalled by how her country’s judicial system condemns the pregnant rape victim to death, and not realize that we condemn innocent children to death because of rape, here in our own country through the laws that are passed everyday!?

 I pray that this woman is not found guilty of adultery. I hope the video will help the judge realize she was not a willing participant. No one who wants to have sex needs to be held down while each man takes their turn. Victims need just laws and fair courts. She does not desire death by stoning and neither does her child. No child wants to die.

My son was one pound, eight ounces when he was born…  I was told that he was a fighter. Our 27 week gestational age baby was fighting for life. This desire and fight inside him to survive did not instantaneously occur on the day he was born, rather it was in him from the moment he was conceived.

This woman tried to fight off her attackers, and now she has to fight a brutal judicial system. This corrupt system does not recognize her as the victim. Please join with me as we pray for her release, that she receives understanding and grace from her husband. And, pray for life and  blessings for her soon-to-be-born child. “Every preborn child deserves to be born, no matter the circumstances of his or her conception. Abortion only perpetuates the violence. Life liberates.

Edited by Shawn Spry

No Medical Treatment for 4 year old, Molly Dies! ~satire

I was having a busy day when I reached for the phone; as I said “Hello”, I heard a frantic voice on the other end. I stopped looking at my emails and focused on the call. It was Cindy, a single mom who had attended our church for the last three years. She had a cute four-year-old daughter named Molly who was a chatter box, I often had her in my nursery class. Cindy was crying and it was hard to make out her words.

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I began to talk in calming words, “Cindy what’s wrong? I’m right here, it’s okay. Do I need to come meet you somewhere?”

Slowly she began to make sense. She had been at the doctors with Molly and they discovered that Molly had a brain tumor. The doctor went over treatment options with her. I sat speechless as she began telling me about Molly’s diagnosis. Without treatment she will probably die in the next month. The doctor had never seen a case this severe in a young child.

“I didn’t realize how ill she was,” Cindy explained.  “The day care ladies would say she was fussy once in a while, and she occasionally complained about headaches. But I never imagined she had a brain tumor!” Cindy sobbed for a few minutes, I sat quietly and began praying. Soon she calmed down and continued, “The doctor says that with nine months of intense treatment, if I drive a few hours back-and-forth to Ann Arbor every few days, she has a 75% chance of making it. If we do nothing she will be dead within a month. What do I do?” she pleaded.

This question startled me, “What do you do?” I thought, “Fight for the life of your child!”

However, I didn’t say anything. I took a few moments to pray and in a steady voice said, “What do you mean, Cindy, what are you thinking you should do?”

“I don’t know?,” she said, “I’m so close to being finished with my master’s degree. I just can’t put my life on hold for nine months right now. What kind of quality-of-life will she have after all this treatment? She’s only four years old, I’m not sure she should suffer during this time. If I just do nothing, within a month it’ll be all over and she’ll be in heaven.” Cindy began crying again.

I sat quietly and pondered what Cindy had just said. Cindy has been a part-time college student since becoming pregnant with Molly her freshman year of college. Two years after Molly was born Cindy was pregnant with her second child and she came to me explaining that she needed to have an abortion, she couldn’t put her life on hold for nine months again. I tried to talk her out of it, and even offered to adopt the child myself. I explained that I had been conceived in rape and had been given a wonderful family, but she insisted it was her life, her choice. And now she’s faced with a similar choice.

“Cindy,” I said, “Molly’s life is valuable, she’s worth fighting for. Even if she has some ill effects from the treatment, she will still be a beautiful precious girl, bringing joy to all those around her.”

The thought of this laughing little girl–who had played in my office and nursery class–now lying in bed sick, made me sad.

Cindy was quiet for a few moments and finally said, “It’s my choice, it’s my life that will be affected. I’ll lose my apartment, I won’t be able to work, or to finish school. You can’t understand.”

“There are many of us that would be willing to help you as much as we can,” I replied. “I know you might have to put your life on hold for a few months, but it’s just temporary. Once Molly is gone she is never coming back.”

“I know,” said Cindy in a very small voice, “but it’s my choice.”

I continued to reassure her that we would be there to help, but Cindy kept restating that it was her choice and she was not sure what she’s going to do. She hung up quite upset with me in the end. Unfortunately, she did not choose life for Molly, and she died three weeks later. I was always haunted by that conversation. Should I have called the state to report child abuse?  Should the doctors have insisted that Molly get treatment, or have her placed in foster care? Was it really the mother’s choice about how to take care of her child when it came to life and death? Or, did society owe Molly a fighting chance at life, especially since she had such a high chance of surviving with treatment?

The story I just shared with you is fictional, however the excuses Cindy used are real. Instead of a four-year-old, mothers are talking about their developing pre-born child.  A woman doesn’t want to put her life “on hold” for nine months. It’s her body, her choice. I hear women say it’s their right to choose an abortion, especially those who have been raped. It was not their fault they got raped, someone else perpetrated an evil against them. How could they be expected to bear this child and put their life on hold for nine months? Just like the choice Cindy had to make for her daughter, Molly, many women are faced with a choice.

If they choose as Cindy did, their children will never have a chance to laugh and play, to live! There are Mollys, Marys, Rebeccas, Jims, Toms and Wesleys all over the world that will never be given the chance to live, because of a selfish choice. Society would be appalled at a mother not willing to sacrifice nine months of her life to care for her child, but yet we find it acceptable for mothers to end lives through the choice of abortion. Shouldn’t the law protect those children whose mothers won’t? Until all mothers embrace life and forsake abortion, I will speak out to protect the unborn, I will encourage all mothers to choose life.

Edited by Shawn Spry

 

My best response to “hate mail” -from a woman conceived in rape.

“You sick twisted b@&#!…”– I should have stopped reading as soon as I absorbed these first four words. What I continued to read, kept me up for hours.  “Why continue reading it?” you may ask.  I wanted to make sure that I was not receiving an actual real threat against myself or my family.  The awful, hate-filled, vile-soaked words felt like vomit on me, and filled me with horror.  The classic ending I have heard before, was there as well: “Your mother should have killed you.”

This type of hate is foreign to me.  Sure, I have been angry before, but never have I felt the need to degrade another human being–a stranger at that! When I receive ugly emails, blog comments or posts on my Facebook page, I pray for these people. I want God to fill their hearts with peace.  I pray they may feel the love of God.  Maybe they have never known peace, joy or love.  What kind of households did they grow up in? Were they taught to spew evil?  I am sad for them.

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I had to report one person on Facebook because he explained what he would do to women on an abortion table!  Others just go on and on calling me hateful names.  “But, my name is Mary!” I want to shout. My name is beautiful!  My name is “loved, happy and glad-to-be-alive!!!”  It doesn’t matter how many times you call me bad names–they are not mine! I will not accept them, or believe them, they are lies.  To the authors of such vileness, I say, your name is “sad, angry and needs-to-be-loved.”  I pray someone will cross your path that will open your heart to love, blessing and forgiveness through our Lord Jesus Christ.

From now on, I will stick to the “hate mail plan” I set up after I received media attention last December for speaking out against tax-payer funding for abortion in cases of rape/incest at the Michigan state capital.  I will not open these messages and read the lies, but will forward them on to a trusted, Pro-Life adviser who will screen them for actual threats.  I will only accept positive feedback on my personal blog page. I read enough negative, pro-choice debate on other sites.  My blog was not created to engage debate, but rather to tell the world that I am Mary; I am wanted and blessed, and like me, all babies conceived in rape are not an ugly reminder of a tragic event. We are beautiful, loved, happy, blessed, and glad-to-be-alive!

Edited by Shawn Spry

I don’t deserve death!

Because of the circumstances concerning my conception–by RAPE–I, and all those who will be conceived in the same manner have been marked for death by a great number of people. We are called the “demon seed,” who are unable to contribute to society, unable to bring our mothers joy. Unprotected, sadly, even by some individuals and organizations who refer to themselves as “pro-life”. How sad that so many who purport to champion the cause of the unborn, consider me “an exception”. But I’m NOT an exception…I am a human being, just like any other preborn human being.

I am here today, because my mother–despite the fact that she was mentally ill AND raped on her way home from work one night–decided my life had value, that no matter how I was conceived, I was valuable and worth protecting. I am far from “demon seed”.  I am a beautiful licensed minister who volunteers to help the homeless, a wife, mother and friend. Yet, like so many minorities in America, I am the target of hate. My people group (those conceived by rape) are not protected by law like many other minority people groups. Instead, every time a law is passed with a rape exception, a clear message is broadcast that my life has no value.  (Current bill being debated with a rape exception is the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act)

What if a certain amount of the population–say a specific racial group, were to be considered  “demon seed?” Wouldn’t there be outrage!?  What if a law was proposed to limit abortions for everyone except the 1% of those minority, would you support it? Ninety-nine percent are worth saving, but not that one percent? This is blatant prejudice.

For someone who was conceived in rape-like me, I see this as a prejudice issue. Similar to a hate crime, we are often referred to “demon seed.” I have received hate mail stating my mother made the wrong choice and should have aborted me. I have friends who, because they were conceived in rape, were spit on. So sad.

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If you are Pro-Choice you believe it is the mother’s choice and any child may be aborted. However, if you are Pro-Life you have a decision to make. Are you Pro-Life “except in the case of Mary Rathke, conceived in rape, or Kristi, conceived in rape/incest?” Can you look me in the eyes and tell me my mother should have had the option of legally aborting me and that my life is not worth fighting for?

cropped-rathke-482cp-web-3.jpgThose running a race don’t settle for 99%, they want to finish the race, they don’t train and plan on stopping yards from the finish line, happy they made it that far. Too many have lost focus on the big picture here. The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) does not have exceptions, it does not leave out those who are albino or have vitiligo because they may appear “white” to some. Why do Pro-Life people have exceptions? If you fight for life, I implore you, fight for mine as well.

During World War II the American soldiers did not go into the concentration camps and only liberate the Jewish captives and then deny the gypsies release. They fought to release them all, and so must we!

Please find out who your legislators are by typing in your zip code (click here) and call their offices. Ask them to support Congressman Paul Broun, MD’s amendment to remove the Rape Exception from the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act.” Let us not allow taxpayer money to be used to target a specific people group for abortion. If the law goes into effect with a rape exception, we are abandoning the one percent, leaving those babies and women in a more vulnerable position, prone to more violence, harm and regret. Their life is worth fighting for!

Legislators do not go back later and remove the exceptions, instead they set precedent that exceptions are okay. Please speak out for these so-called “exceptions”. If you don’t, who will?

Edited by Shawn Spry