They were 17. She was a cheerleader and he was a football player. They were popular seniors in a small, rural high school and had an ongoing adolescent romance since they were 15. They were in love and inseparable!
On a warm afternoon in September of 1985, she approached him exiting the locker room following football practice. She had something weighing heavy on her; something she needed to tell him. She was pregnant. She found a quiet moment and just said it. The emotions were heavy but at the same time the two had little appreciation of what this meant. How did this happen to us? Why us? What does all this mean? What will we do? When will we tell our parents and friends? They felt empty and alone and clinged to each other.
From that moment, nothing would ever be the same again. The couple concealed the pregnancy as long as possible and waited 6 months to share the news when physically it was no longer possible to hide it. They experienced many difficult moments with family, faculty and friends including, “why didn’t you tell us earlier so we could have got you an abortion?” The small town lent itself to the shame associated with the pregnancy. At 17 years old, it was very hard to process what the options were and what help was available. Information was not readily available and help was scarce. The couple never wavered and never thought of anything besides having their baby through the grace of God guiding them.
These teenagers went on the have their baby boy about 2 months before their high school graduation. Not exactly the dream scenario anyone has. Those next coming years were extremely difficult; trying to raise a son with the help of grandparents, commute to college and work long, hard hours to make a living. With the fortunate guidance of a caring Catholic Priest, they waited 4 years to marry upon completion of their college degrees.
And then they went on to bring 7 wonderful children into this world by the grace of God.
This couple was my wife Lisa and myself. We understand the challenging situation that an unplanned pregnancy brings. We appreciate how easy it is to choose abortion over life when facing this crisis. We know that good, faith-filled people can find themselves at these crossroads and many are not as fortunate as us. And we understand the need for pregnancy resource centers across our country that bring options, compassion and hope.
I am fortunate to have persevered through the difficult moments in my life because they have made me who I am today. The opportunity to serve on the PAC Board of Directors is an amazing blessing to support this life-saving ministry in a way that I could not have even fathomed.
If our story lifts one person out of the darkness, then it was all worthwhile.
Life is always the right choice. Let’s help everyone make it.
Aaron Bartlone is the Vice Chairman of the PAC Board of Directors. He and his wife Lisa live in Milton GA with their 7 beautiful children. In his free time, (and we are not sure how he has free time) Aaron loves to play tennis, the keyboards and bass guitar.
We adore his positive uplifting spirit, his personal passion for our mission and are so blessed to have him on our board. Thanks for all you do for our mission Aaron!