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The womb is the first environment every human experiences. When we were carried by our mothers, their bodies were our shelter.  And when they breathed, they imparted to us the breath of life. During pregnancy mother and child exist together in a liminal space where they are simultaneously one and two. This is an exalting part of the feminine experience, but for some it feels far from elevating.

Destiny Herndon-De La Rosa became pregnant when she was sixteen and sharing life when she was so young herself knocked the breath out of her. She wanted to pull her stomach away from the rest of her body. This sudden change to the course of her life was terrifying, but she couldn’t run away–anywhere she went this baby would go with her. Destiny was supported and encouraged by her mother who fostered a life culture in their home. That baby is now eighteen and is the older brother to three rambunctious siblings.

While Destiny chose to have her baby, several of her classmates chose to have abortions. Navigating this contrast deepened Destiny’s understanding and prepared her for her current advocacy work as the leader of New Wave Feminists. NWF focuses on changing the culture around pregnancy and providing support for women with unplanned pregnancies. We were pleased to have Destiny join our Big Ocean Delegation to the UN this year and learn how we can create a stronger support system for women who are burdened by their pregnancies.

Here are some things she shared:

  1. If there is a woman behind you in line at the supermarket holding a pregnancy test and crying, talk to her! Destiny says that harsh words condemning abortion will likely have the opposite of the intended effect. These women need us to “love on them.”
  2. Find out what the resources are for women in your community, write them down, and keep them in your wallet. It may be that you never need it, but if you do find a woman in crisis, you will be prepared with practical direction. Be sure to call and make sure that the centers on your list do not perform abortions but rather life-affirming support and resources.

In Big Ocean we talk about the model of powerful impact, which is the belief that our power comes from God and then emanates from us to impact our family and the broader community. Life culture is a physical manifestation of this attitude. The life within us (both our own and, at times, that of an infant) ripples outward to enrich our families and communities.