The Life-Giving Story of Tara
‘How can there by too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.’ — St. Teresa of Calcutta
When Tara’s mother found out she was pregnant with her in 1979, a sense of desperation overtook her heart.
“My mom was dating an older boy during her senior year of high school,” Tara said in an interview with the Register. “She felt so alone and scared. She had acquaintances she knew who had had abortions, and she turned to them for help. They gave her the number, and she made the call.”
The teenager soon found herself on the phone with an abortion facility more than three hours away. She was totally caught off-guard by the question she was asked.
“The receptionist said, ‘Honey, have you told your mom that you are pregnant?’” Tara recounted. “This was really surprising, because this is not a question that they normally even care to ask at abortion clinics. It planted a seed of uncertainty in her heart, prodding her to go home and talk it over with her mother before going through with the abortion.”
Her grandmother’s response to the news was a blessing for her daughter and granddaughter.
“My grandma simply told my mother that having an abortion was not the choice she would make for her and said they would help her to do otherwise. It was such a beautiful response. She wasn’t angry with her or ashamed of her. As a family, they took care of her and brought her to a maternity home, where she lived until she gave birth to me.”
The love that her grandmother showed to her and her mother was a profoundly inspiring example of what it means to make the gospel of life a reality.
“The subtext of what my grandma said to my mom was, ‘I’m here. You are safe from judgment and condemnation. You can take a breath. I’m here for you no matter what … because you matter to me.’ My grandma met my mom exactly where she was, with compassion.”
She continued, “My father had left the picture early on, so my mother made an adoption plan for adoption to a local couple, but the adoption plan fell through, and I remained ‘unclaimed’ for the first week of my life. My mom had refused to see me, per the recommendations of the adoption counselors. However, right before she was to be discharged, her closest brother encouraged her to ‘just see the baby once.’ So she did — and she says she fell in love with the most beautiful baby she had ever seen.”
After gazing into the eyes of her precious newborn, her mother made a choice in honor of life, goodness and truth.
“Soon, my mother came back for me and decided she would make the very most of the situation and raise me all on her own. She couldn’t live with my grandma because she had five sons, so she had to get an apartment by herself, but she did it. She has always been my mom, and I am glad she ended up making the right choice.”
Growing up, despite her mother’s love, there was gnawing angst within Tara’s heart.
“I found out about my biological father when I was around 12,” she recalled. “He had married and had two children by then. Something ugly burrowed deep in my soul upon learning this. This ‘ugly thing’ said that he didn’t reject having children — he just rejected me. He wanted to be a dad, just not to me. I felt thrown away like garbage, something easy to walk away from — too inconvenient, too much of a burden, too unlovable.”
And confront those feelings she did, with tremendous courage and help from on high.
“It has been easy for me to forgive (or to not have anything to forgive) my mom because I’ve been in close relationship with her. I know she deeply regrets making that phone call to the abortion clinic. I know she is fiercely proud of me and is grateful for me. But it has been a harder thing for me to forgive the man who walked away and abandoned a woman and his child. And I’ve had to bring that brokenness — that discarded child — to the feet of Jesus more times than I could ever count.”
Instead of allowing this terrible cross of rejection to weigh her down or turn her against the Lord, she did just the opposite.
“My brokenness brought me to seek the fatherly heart of God as a teenager, and I felt his healing in knowing that there was a plan for my life, even if no one had actually planned on me being born,” she said. “A Scripture passage from Jeremiah was spoken over me sometime in my teens, and I’ve kept that chapter with me ever since: ‘Before you were formed in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. … Do not be afraid of them, for today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, a bronze wall, to stand against the whole land …’” (1:5;10).
Eventually, she became a registered nurse and began working at a sexual health and pregnancy clinic that provides evidence-based medical services, education and support in a respectful, professional environment.
“I have always enjoyed nursing and have felt especially honored to work in the area of sexual health with my patients,” Tara said.
“Since I became the director, we have seen a 123% increase in patients, and we have acquired a mobile unit trailer so we can bring our services all over the state,” she said, adding that she is committed to “being a refuge for women like my mom who feel like no one is there for them. It’s an incredible joy to be a place of peace and compassion and to meet women exactly where they are, affirming their dignity and purpose.”
Many around her have been touched by her journey.
Over time, her commitment to receiving the healing the Lord wills for her has inspired those around her.
Little by little, her interior conversion experience bore bountiful fruit, as well.
When asked how parents can lovingly respond when their child faces a situation similar to that of her mother, Tara responded: “I would encourage parents to try to react the same way that my grandma did and see that the child in front of you is in an impossible situation. She needs to be heard and supported by you, now more than ever. Anger and disappointment often have roots in what that pregnancy means for the parents, not for their child. Whether it’s the parent’s lost dream of college success or how the situation reflects on them, if a parent is able to look past themselves and empathize with their child, a lot of positive things can come out of this situation.”
And when asked about how Catholics can help young people remain chaste and make pro-life decisions, she offered helpful advice:
“Love your neighbor sacrificially. Uphold their inherent dignity and worth by walking the extra mile with them. And don’t be afraid to talk about sex with young people. Most kids have phones, and even if they don’t, their friends do — and I promise that phone is teaching them about sex. It’s not enough to just tell kids that ‘sex before marriage is wrong.’ You need to recognize that risky sexual behavior is acted out of a deep longing for God, for communion and for love. Address this longing, and affirm his purpose for their lives. You have to tell them the truth, making no question too embarrassing and no topic off-limits. And always cover them and their peers in prayer.”
Tara herself is impacted by her pro-life worldview:
“I think I went into marriage and motherhood thinking, if I do everything right, I could somehow rewrite or redeem my past and heal myself. I believed perfection (sexual purity, planned pregnancies) would rectify the hurt I still carried. I had high, unrealistic expectations of myself and my husband. … I finally discovered God intended marriage and motherhood as a gift for me, not a test I had to ace or else. He was interested in my heart and my trust in him, not my efforts and control. When I let go of my own means to finding peace, I was able to experience his healing of my heart and enjoy his gift of my family, ultimately walking in freedom and joy I’d never known before. He is healing my past and giving me his grace for my present role of wife and mother. I’m so thankful for my patient, steadfast husband and our beautiful children.”
In a post-Roe world, she views her job with new hope:
“What we do as believers in response to a post-Roe culture is infinitely more relevant. The climate out there, in which young women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy are surrounded by, does not foster peace or security. How distressing it must be, to be expecting and be yelled at by the media about how terrible this is for them. For the reported 10,000 babies saved from abortion, my earnest prayer is that 10,000 women, and their partners, were met with unconditional support and an abundance of resources and surrounded by love — so much love — to conquer any and all added fear and insecurity about carrying their child at such a time as this.”
Editor’s Note: This moving account is a testimony to the pro-life story of Tara and similar stories like hers and that of her family; personal details are withheld to protect her privacy and those seeking life-affirming care.