Another Christmas Story: How an Unplanned Pregnancy Saved a Dad’s Life

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The Christmas story is about baby Jesus entering the world to save humanity. But God doesn’t stop there.

For Catholics and other orthodox Christians who celebrate the liturgical calendar, today is still part of the Christmas Season. And it is also the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which commemorates the babies King Herod killed in an attempt to eliminate the rumored newborn King of the Jews.

Catholics venerate these little babies as martyr saints, and pray for their intercession as we serve the Infant King. While on a much smaller scale, little children are still transforming lives – according to one father.

Just days before Christmas, a series of tweets went viral after a Michigan dad named Derek revealed why he’s pro-life: Because one unplanned pregnancy turned his life around.

Derek began his story as a 22-year-old who “lived to party.”

“I’d get drunk every single night at my favorite dive bar,” he tweeted Dec. 21. “I had nothing going for me. Dead end job, lived with my parents, barely working car.”

But his life took an unexpected turn after he “got exceedingly drunk” with friends on his birthday, and had a one-night stand with an “old fling” named Jenna.

“A few months later, I’m working the night shift stocking shelves at a grocery store, i get a call,” he remembered. “It’s [t]he girl from my birthday night. She’s pregnant.”

He panicked.

For guidance, he turned to a pastor who “asks me if i want a kid.” Derek responded with a “Hell no!” But that didn’t deter the pastor, who recommended a relationship counselor for the two of them.

While they found the counselor a “little out there,” the meeting prompted Derek and Jenna to agree they “should get to know each other.” But before continuing his story, Derek stressed that Jenna had a promising future – unlike himself.

“Jenna’s dad is a doctor, she’s had everything she’s ever wanted or needed in life. She’s a great student and college athlete,” he highlighted. “I’m a f****up, my parents, while wealthy, have mostly cut me off.”

He also explained Jenna’s options.

“That poor woman is faced with a couple bad choices: hitch her wagon to a f***ing deadbeat loser, get an abortion, give the baby up for adoption or keep the baby, cut me off and try to finish school as a single mom at 20,” he said.

But, he said, “she decided to go with me” in what he called the “worst decision (later best) she’s ever made.”

When she was between four and five months pregnant, the two decided they “wanted to keep the baby and maybe get married.” But Derek worried because “She hadn’t told her parents yet and she was starting to show a little.”

He concluded he would have to break the news because “everytime we tried to tell” Jenna would suffer a “panic attack.” He contacted Jenna’s father and set up a meeting with him.

“Folks, i was not a brave man. I always took the easy way, i was a coward and a weasel,” Derek admitted. “But i went to that f***ing meeting and i broke that poor mans heart. He knew what i was, and now his beautiful, intelligent, sweet daughter was forever linked to me.”

But his future father-in-law, he said, “took it stoically.” When Jenna found out, she was “furious” and “called me every name in the book.” Her mother reacted by inviting him to dinner.

At the dinner, Jenna’s family made clear they “wanted to make the best of the situation” and even offered to pay for their counseling.

A couple months later, Derek and Jenna decided to marry – even though that meant drastically changing their lifestyles. Jenna left school for a job “sewing decorative pillows” and Derek “started to get my act together with work.”

“I had no choice, it was sink or swim and i had to carry two others on my back,” he said. “I worked my tail off and got some promotions and small raises.”

At that point, his parents reached out to him “out of the blue” and offered to help them with a house.

A month after they moved in, little Charlie was born.

“Charlie changed my world,” Derek said. “From the moment i found out about him, he began to save me.”

“I didn’t see it then, but that tiny little human inside Jenna changed me more than any outside influence ever could,” he continued. “He made me be a man, he saved my life, and he brought the love of my life into my life.”

In his conclusion, Derek summed up why he was pro-life.

“Because i understand that a small, seemingly insignificant and helpless human can have a profound impact on the world,” he said. “Simply by existing a unborn child has the power to save someone, to radically change a life.”

On top of saving him, Charlie brought Derek and Jenna together to have “two more wonderful amazing people”: another boy and girl, Henry and Annie.

“A life is never a mistake!” he concluded. “The power in a life to save others is immense. It may not be clear at the time, but in time it becomes clear. Charlie saved my life.”

In a side note, he added that Jenna’s pillow business “took off” and he now manages a factory of 200 employees. His relationships also improved – with both his parents and in-laws.

“I can’t imagine where i would be if we had choose abortion,” he concluded. “Abortion is an evil thing.”

At a time when the media unabashedly applaud abortion (and dismiss men’s roles in the matter), Derek’s story breaks the popular narrative to show the importance one child can have in transforming others’ lives.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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Katie Yoder serves as the associate culture editor at NewsBusters and is a columnist for CatholicVote.org. She is also the Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow for the Media Research Center’s culture division. Follow her on Twitter @k_yoder.

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