Mary Payne’s Story Conceived in rape, Mary lives in Oklahoma City. She is an advocate for adoptees and is the current moderator for Stigma’s e-mail support groups.yahoo.com. Mary is available for speaking — firstname.lastname@example.org
Ladies and Gentlemen and Friends of Life, my name is Mary Payne. I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you today. I have written this piece because I want to share with you that all life is important and children born from rape or incest are no different from you. I can say this because I was born as the result of a conception, which occurred after a rape/assault. Although I came from a criminal act, does not define who I am. I am a loving daughter, faithful wife, Nurturing mother, and doting grandmother. I am very sorry for the pain and anguish that my birthmother endured on my behalf. I wish I had the power to wipe away all her suffering, but I can’t. I love her even more now, because I know the details of my conception. She certainly did not deserve the events that occurred in her life.
She made the best of a tragic situation. And the only thing I can do at this point is to pray for her every day and to work toward being the best and most loving person I can be, breaking the cycle of abuse.
Our two-year-old granddaughter lives in California. When her mom or dad puts her on the phone and she says, “I love you, Gramma!” My heart just melts. All babies are so special.
I’d like for you to close your eyes for a minute and picture in your mind the first time you held a newborn baby. Think about how it felt to have the baby nuzzle your neck. Look at the baby’s hair, her little toes, her fingers, and her skin. Visualize the baby’s eyes. At that moment in time when you looked into her eyes, did you stop and ask yourself, “Gee, I wonder what the parents were saying to each other when this little person was formed? Did the mother consent? Is it OK for this baby to be here?” Absolutely not! And that is what I want to impart to you today. Life is life. And life in the womb — no matter how he or she was precipitated — is still a developing human being and should be constitutionally protected. What if great statesmen like Thomas Jefferson, or George Washington, or honored poets like Maya Angelou had been aborted? We will never know what great individuals are missing from our society because we have condoned abortion for 33 years.
I am so grateful that my birthmother chose life for me. I found her in 1991, but I didn’t learn the circumstances surrounding my conception until 1993. My birthmother wanted to spare me the details of knowing I was conceived from rape. I cannot deny that it was difficult. I felt dirty, guilty, and less-than-a-human-being for a period of time. To be perfectly honest, because our society looks down on violence, illegitimacy, and factors associated with unwed motherhood, I was unprepared for the news. My self-esteem plummeted. I had always been told that my birthparents were just two kids in love who were too young to get married. Naturally, it was a blow to learn the truth. The floor could have swallowed me. My brain cells shattered and for a time, I had difficulty thinking about anything other than my conception. I bought a 6,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, because working jig-saw puzzles helps the brain to overcome trauma. I reasoned that for the kind of trauma I had, it would take 6,000 pieces! We lost our dining room table to the puzzle. It took 10 months to complete. My husband bought a microwave so he wouldn’t miss any meals. Well, you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do! As I worked the puzzle with my husband’s and sons’ support, faith gave me the power to sort through my thoughts and feelings about conception. My conclusion is that I am okay. I didn’t cause the rape, I can’t cure it, and I couldn’t control the result. I can just be me. When the egg and the sperm meet, the egg actually surrounds and envelopes the sperm, rather than the sperm penetrating the egg. At the moment of conception, God’s creative energy flows through the newly created cell. Because God has a purpose for everyone, his energy flows through the cell, giving it life. If God did not have a Divine plan for the embryo, the mother would perhaps miscarry the child naturally.
Even children who are miscarried can be a blessing and a child whose life ended early is still a soul who exists in Heaven. The time that a mother spends with an unborn child in her womb is a blessing, even if it is for a short time. So many women rejoice just finding out that they are pregnant. That’s the way God planned it to be — that the knowledge of a conception would be a cause for joy, but He gave us free will and our choices have interfered with His plan.
When Roe v. Wade was argued in 1972, one of the reasons given was that society had to protect women who were raped. It was supposed to apply to a narrow segment of embryos, sometimes called Castaway Souls.” But if people are given an inch, they will take a mile and the number of Castaway Souls ballooned into football stadiums full of “unwanted” baby humans, who were not allowed to be born. What legalized abortion actually does is to pre-empt God. It gives man control over who lives and who dies — not God. Too bad we have been so ego-centered and materialistic that we have thought we knew better than God.
I am grateful to each one of you who has the inner intuition of knowing the value of every human life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you are doing. You are standing for life and those of us who were in danger of being aborted salute you for all you do; for being here; for phoning your legislators; for passing out flyers; raising money; talking to your friends and neighbors about the meaning of life. And, last but certainly not least, for voting for life YOU are our advocates. You honor us with your efforts and so I honor you.
We must prevail to give even the tiniest victim a voice for life. In a democracy, every life is important. Our society cannot afford to lose even one statesman or stateswoman to help guide us through the twenty-first century and beyond.
~ Mary Payne