This is the first picture of my daughter, Bella.
She was a little unexpected. My husband and I decided to have another child and ended up pregnant with spontaneous triplets.
Bella was in a sac by herself and her two sisters were together in a separate sac.
The first doctor we saw suggested we selectively reduce the number of children we were pregnant with. In other words, he suggested that we terminate Bella’s part of the pregnancy to give the other two a better chance and to make sure I didn’t have as tough of a pregnancy.
We were not prepared for triplets.
It was a shock.
We did not think we could handle or afford three infants at one time.
We knew there would be struggles.
We knew that a triplet pregnancy would bring physical struggles to me during the pregnancy and the babies might be born with health issues.
She was unplanned, posed a risk to my health, could have been born with health issues, and we didn’t know if we could properly provide for her.
My husband took a job that he needed, not the job of his dreams. He worked nights, days, weekends, and holidays. He took a job that provided a safe salary and insurance. After being in the work force for 16 years, I had to quit my salaried job and stay home with the triplets. We cut out all unnecessary expenses, let go of many of the things we thought we wanted, and changed our lives so that we could provide for our children the best we could.
When they were born we required help from the government so that we could feed our babies. After putting into the system for many years, we accepted WIC for one year. Formula for 3 babies was more than we could handle. After a year of taking advantage of the program that was set up for families like ours, we opted out because we were finally in a position to not truly need it.
Bella was in and out of the hospital. She was born prematurely and struggled with lung issues. We spent many nights watching her as she slept in a hospital bed.
Even with all of those struggles, the choice not to terminate her life was never a regret.
Bella is 10 years old. When she was six she started a homeless ministry and since then has touched the lives of hundreds in our homeless community. She is dedicated to helping the lives of others and I have no doubt that she will grow up to be an amazing humanitarian.
Because we knew Bella’s life mattered, even when the doctor thought it would be less of a burden on us if she didn’t exist, lives have been changed. She is changing the lives of others because she was given the chance at life.
This is the most recent picture of Bella on the day she provided 100 pairs of new shoes to our homeless community and reminded the least of these that, no matter what their circumstance, size, gender, political view, religion or status, they matter as much as she did before she took a breath of air.
She mattered before she was born and because of that hundreds of people, who might not ever know what unconditional love feels like, have gotten a glimpse of what good in this world looks like.
This article originally appeared at Women With Worth.