Caitlin’s Laughter

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After my first husband left me, I struggled along for a few years as a single parent with my daughter and young son. Then I met Jim. Jim had two young children of his own. His business required more extensive travel than I’d anticipated, so I was now mother to four and often still lonely for adult companionship. Eventually, we had a son of our own and it became apparent that one income was not sufficient for our needs. I returned to work. The combination of raising a baby and four very active children, plus working full time, taxed my physical and emotional resources to the breaking point.

One evening while fixing spaghetti dinner—kids playing noisily in the other room, husband gone on business—I heard a voice, “You’re going to have another baby.” At first I tried to brush it off. When Jim and I married, it took me a long time to conceive. Since our son’s birth, I had been using birth control. I was sure that I could not be pregnant, nor was I willing to be.

Then I heard the voice a second time, “You’re going to have another baby.” Ignoring had not worked so I said to the unseen voice, “No way! My husband is never around, we can’t afford it, and I cannot handle any more children!” The voice did not return. I tried to forget, but the message nagged at my mind. I broke down and purchased a pregnancy kit. I followed the directions, waited, then hesitantly checked. I was pregnant!

I collapsed onto the bed, body totally exhausted, mind racing. How could I survive? Tears flowed as I raised my fist toward heaven, “God, how could you do this to me. I am doing all I can to raise five children! I just cannot handle a sixth!”

I descended into depression. For nearly a week I mostly stayed in bed. I did not want to talk to or see anyone. I was overwhelmed, torn with doubts, and felt betrayed. My pregnancies were always fraught with complications, and I had a husband who was not around very much. I was frightened. There was no way I could handle this baby! In desperation I opened the telephone book, located Planned Parenthood and scheduled an abortion appointment.

One night as I laid in bed, I became aware of laughter… the infectious laughter of a young girl. Immediately suspicious, I tried to shut it out, but could not. I then heard the girl’s voice, “Why are you so sad? I’m Caitlin, and I’m your baby.” Her tone shifted to pleading, “Please don’t do this! Everything is going to be okay. All you have to do is ask for what you need and the help will be there for you.” Desperately she continued, “Please don’t do this! I want to be there in your life, and I need to come now.”

The next few days, I felt Caitlin’s presence stronger and stronger. It is hard to describe, but she became a part of me. I could not deny her reality. I felt her exuberance for life, her excitement about coming to earth and being my child. In spite of myself, I was falling for her. Finally I caved in and made a deal with her—I would be her mother, but I needed help… oh how I needed help! Caitlin again promised help would be provided if I asked for it in prayer. I canceled my appointment with Planned Parenthood.

Later, Caitlin conveyed to me things I had to change in my life so I could receive the blessings I needed. She promised that if I made these changes, I would receive help at crucial times. I became aware that others were with her, offering their support for both of us. I could now hear Caitlin’s laughter intermingled with the others. Caitlin was elated that I had committed to become her mother and her unseen friends shared her joy.

When Caitlin was born and placed in my arms, I knew her. I knew her characteristics, what she would look like, her whole being. I worked to make the changes Caitlin indicated and the things she promised have been fulfilled. I’ve had major challenges and still do. It has not been easy and I have to struggle, but when I really need help, it is always there.

Compiled by Sarah Hinze