Pressured to Abort: One Mother’s Heroic Journey
By Victoria Robinson
I’ve been fortunate to meet incredible people throughout my life. My favorite kinds are those you’re better for knowing.
I’d like to take a minute and tell you about one of mine. Her name is Marissa.
I first heard of her through her sister who wrote a letter about the sacrifice her sister was making for the life of another.
She told me during the second trimester of Marissa’s third pregnancy, doctors discovered a tumor in her brain called Glioblastoma. This is one of the deadliest, most aggressive types of cancer. The life expectancy is 12 to 14 months, with fewer than three to seven percent of people surviving longer than five years. Without treatment, survival is typically three months.
Marissa was only 30 years old and otherwise healthy. The doctors told her she would need to begin treatment immediately for any hope of survival.
The only challenge? In order to save her own life, she would have to end the life of another.
Pressured to Abort: Never an Option
Encouraged to have an abortion in her second trimester, Marissa refused. She knew the risks, but abortion was never an option for her. She was already the mother to two boys and now her unborn child, a girl, would complete her little family. Marissa knew the life growing inside her was real and alive.
When it was evident to her doctor’s she had no intention of ending the life of her unborn child, a plan was made. Marissa would undergo scans weekly to determine if the tumor was growing. She would continue the pregnancy as long as possible to give her daughter the best chance of survival. Marissa prayed daily that her pregnancy would continue long after the time her daughter needed to safely develop her lungs and heart while residing in her Mommy’s womb.
Weeks went by without any change in the growth of the tumor until the 27th week of her pregnancy.
Marissa’s baby had to be delivered early. The doctors administered medication to help her unborn daughter’s lungs to mature. Marissa underwent a cesarean section to deliver her baby girl. Immediately following delivery, she began cancer treatments.
I was at the hospital the day Marissa was preparing to meet her daughter. She was so excited and felt encouraged they’d come this far. Marissa could sense her baby was a fighter like her mother.
On August 18, 2019, weighing in at 2 lb. 3 oz. and 14.25 inches long, a beautiful baby girl named Victoria Lee was born. Victoria would spend 83 days in the NICU before being released to go home. Today she is a healthy little girl, who’s talking, walking, laughing and playing with her brothers. She is a joy to her family and loves her mommy.
The Fight for Life Begins
After her treatments began, we were thrilled to hear Marissa’s tumor had shrunk. It seemed the treatments were working. With the support of her family and friends, prayers of thousands and hope never waning, it looked like Baby Victoria wouldn’t be the only miracle we were going to get. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be.
Marissa’s faith was paramount to who she was. She deeply loved the One she served and wanted her story told in hopes it would make a difference for someone else. She hoped to teach others that sacrificial love is not an act to be viewed as a burden, but as something beautiful.
Marissa was funny. She loved singing in church. She loved her husband, her children and her family. Not to mention, she was witty, kind, beautiful and loved with her whole heart, as was evident in how she treated others.
In my many conversations with her, through tears, she’d say, “Victoria, it’s not that I’m afraid to die. I’m not. I know where I’m going. That’s not it. I don’t want to leave my children. I want to be here for them and watch them grow up.”
Marissa fought valiantly to the very end. She desperately wanted to live.
But, on Feb., 2, 2021, Marissa said her final goodbye’s to her family and three small children. She lived with no regret about the decision she’d made. She was buried on her 32nd birthday.
There will undoubtedly come a day when her daughter, Victoria, will learn about the willing sacrifice her mother made. She’ll never have to daydream about heroes like Superman or a Prince. She already has a hero of her very own.
It’s her mother.
Read more stories of women who chose life, even when they were pressured to abort.