Darby Ramsay with her son Noah.

B. C. CATHOLIC PHOTO | AGNIESZKA KRAWCZYNSKI

Darby Ramsay with her son Noah.

April 20, 2015
AGNIESZKA KRAWCZYNSKI
B. C. CATHOLIC

A young girl from Salmon Arm, B.C., has become a cheerleader for women in labour after facing motherhood at age 16.

Darby Ramsay, 19, is a doula, a woman who gives emotional and physical support to women before, during and just after they have a baby.

"(Giving) birth is a significant event and it leaves a mark on women for the rest of their lives," she said.

Ramsay is also a bold speaker for the pro-life movement. Her testimony, part of LifeCanada's You'll Never Regret Loving This Much campaign, was featured at a series of events at university campuses last month.

"I knew (abortion) was bad, but I also didn't know how I was going to cope," she said at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey March 19.

Ramsay was a high school student dating a boy named Morgan when she found out she was pregnant.

"I was just immediately going to get an abortion. I thought, 'I have to stop this, I can't go on.' That was my immediate fight or flight (reaction): flight, escape."

She was afraid of telling her Catholic family. "It's not exactly the news they want to hear from their 16-year-old daughter." Her boyfriend also urged her to get an abortion, saying they were too young to be parents.

The clinic nearest her Salmon Arm neighbourhood would only perform the abortion up to 12 weeks and required a doctor's referral. Ramsay sought one out and he scheduled her ultrasound appointment.

She didn't have a driver's licence or a cellphone. The day of her ultrasound, Ramsay skipped a chemistry class, which her father taught, and asked a friend for a ride.

The image revealed she was exactly 12 weeks pregnant. "I knew that I was going to be having the baby," she said. "I didn't know what my life was going to look like from this point on, but I knew that this was happening."

She spent the Easter long weekend with family in Williams Lake. While visiting an aunt, she glimpsed a poster that affirmed her decision.

"On her wall, there's a little piece of paper that says heartbeat starts at 21 days, brainwaves start at 45 days and sex is decided at conception," she said. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh! I am 12 weeks pregnant. My baby is really functioning like a little baby.'"

INFORMING PARENTS

She told her parents the following Tuesday, having to explain why a doctor had phoned her home.

When Ramsay phoned back, she learned she had missed an abortion appointment she didn't know about; a doctor had been waiting upstairs for her on the day of the ultrasound.

Her son Noah is now two and a half years old. He likes to play with cars and trains, but his favourite activity is playing hockey, like his dad.

"He came, and then we looked at him and we were thinking to ourselves: what were we worrying about? He's so perfect."

Ramsay said her parents, friends, and boyfriend's parents were great supporters for her as she gave birth to and raised Noah. She and Morgan are back together.

"We do plan on getting married one day and having more kids and babies, and both of us are so thankful for Noah and how much he has changed our lives for the better," she said.

Ramsay also spoke at the University of the Fraser Valley and Columbia Bible College March 18, and a video of her story was played at Simon Fraser University March 17.

"That's the whole thing we were doing: showing there is support for women," said Anastasia Pearse, organizer and western coordinator of National Campus Life Coalition.

"They don't have to choose between being a student and being a parent."

BEST DECISION

At SFU, UFV and Kwantlen, a pro-life group ran a small outdoor booth from about 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pearse said the team handed out 800 information cards to passing students and displayed a donation jar that raised $150 at SFU for women in crisis situations.

"I'm so thankful that I don't have to live with the regret of choosing an abortion and wondering what my life would have been like. Now I know I made the best decision," Ramsay said. "Nobody can tell me that was a bad choice."