When Amy Pedersen set out to write a children's book about life in the womb, she had no idea the impact the project would have beyond her own family. On one level, The Miracle of Me (Marian Press), became the book Pedersen had imagined — one that gives a week-by-week account of how a baby grows and develops. But on another level, it has become a powerful force in the pro-life movement, pointing to the mercy of God and the miracle of life. The Miracle of Me can and has saved lives when shared with those who are fearful about their pregnancies. In thanksgiving for the beatification in September 2007 of the Marian Founder, Bl. Stanislaus Papczynski, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are pleased to expand Amy's mission by offering a buy-one-donate-one book offer to allow individuals and organizations to support women in choosing life — through parishes, pregnancy resource centers, and anywhere else where it can make a difference. Learn more about this program.
The following is an interview with Amy:
Why did you write this book?
When our daughter was just 15 months old, my husband, Jon, and I learned that she was going to be a big sister. Since she was so young, I struggled with how to explain to her in real terms about the baby growing in my belly. It was then that I was inspired, no doubt by the Holy Spirit, to start my little project. Originally written with a child audience in mind, I used simple language and poetry to spotlight the gift of life. I cite God as the ultimate miracle maker as the baby's creator. For example, in Week 18, I wrote:
The pads on my fingers and toes
Are blank for God to tweak.
He'll add swirls and lines and other designs
So that I will be unique.
So explain how your original goal evolved.
I began to see value in this project on two levels. One, it addressed my immediate need. I could explain to my toddler about the baby in my womb via real in-utero photography in a resource that was appropriate for children. She could see him, not just imagine him as a fictional character. Even better though, I'd be laying the foundation for her. I would begin teaching her at a very young age that life starts in the womb, not when the child was born. So as she grew up, she'd have this as a founding principle to come back to when others may try to tell her otherwise.
Your book has been endorsed by Fr. Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life. It's now found in pregnancy centers around the country. Explain how your target audience expanded.
When I was researching the details of fetal development for this book, I felt called to get these into the hands of pregnant women as well, particularly those who weren't particularly thrilled about a baby being on board just yet. This became an even bigger issue for me when I came across some of the many statistics on abortion. For example, since 1973 when Roe v Wade was handed down, more than 45-million babies have been killed by abortion. That's roughly one-third of my generation. And let me tell you, it could have been me. So putting it in an annual-perspective, that's roughly 1.4 million babies per year, or one child every 20-25 seconds. Basically the same number of victims that died in the September 11th attacks are killed everyday by abortion in this country.
So what could I do? I was just a stay-at-home-mom with a crazy idea that I could change lives. My hope and my prayer was that by getting these books into crisis pregnancy centers that I could help initiate an early connection between mother and child. After all, many crisis pregnancy centers offer free pregnancy tests and give the women with positive results a small gift of congratulations, like a pair of booties or a bib. I wanted to give these same women a copy of my book as well.
Why was this so important to you?
Because these ladies may not be overly excited about the news of their pregnancy. They are often unlikely to run right out and buy What To Expect When Your Expecting. They are not necessarily interested in reviewing the multitudes of brochures available to them about the technicalities about fetal development. But my book's a little different. It's a tangible resource to help these women connect with their babies as they are educated about the life in their womb through a simple yet entertaining and engaging book.
You are the founder of Project MOM. What is Project MOM?
MOM is not only an acronym for The Miracle of Me, but also a simple statement of who we are trying to reach — women who may be considering abortion. Through this ministry, we're getting these little books into the hands of vulnerable pregnant women across the country.
Can you share some stories on how this little book has helped to save lives?
One CPC director in Georgia reported that a pregnant woman came in to their facility pointing to her stomach saying "Gotta get it out. gotta get it out" in broken English. This mom reluctantly looked at the book, but then she broke into tears when she saw the in-utero pictures. When the director recaps the event, she says, "At that moment, words were not needed. It was like a breakthrough, and I believe that her baby might have been saved at that moment."
Last October, a pregnant teenager in my parish sought me out. Her mom had bought her The Miracle of Me as a gift. This young woman had been to a couple crisis pregnancy centers and was seriously considering abortion. She came up to me, introduced herself and her boyfriend, and explained that they were expecting. She wanted me to know that she had read the book and it opened her eyes. She had changed her mind about an abortion. Candidly, I had hoped this book would save lives one day. I never imagined it would be a life from my own suburban parish!
I have to admit. I am partial to this one though: One woman literally left an abortion mill in tears having changed her mind about the abortion she was about to have when her boyfriend took a copy of The Miracle of Me in to her. He did not want her to go through with it, but he felt helpless. A woman on the sidewalk had given him. When they left the building, he smiled at the volunteers there and waved the copy of the book at them while his girlfriend raced out ripping off her ID bracelet. She did not go through with the abortion.
How does the message of Divine Mercy figure in with your pro-life mission?
Every human life, no matter how small, is a precious gift from God, since we are created in God's likeness and image. The psalmist says, "You formed my inmost being; You knit me in my mother's womb. I praise You, so wonderfully You made me" (Ps 139:13-14). We are truly wonderful signs of God's love and mercy that He has brought into the world. Though we are sinful, finite human beings, God desires that we share eternity with Him in heaven. He showers us with His graces and mercy in order to lead us to our lasting home with Him.
God the Father, who is "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4) gave us His greatest gift in His Son. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Jesus, Divine Mercy Incarnate, loves each of us so much that He would have died on the Cross if you or I were the only person ever to be born. His personal and passionate love for us is poured out in mercy right from the cross. As we are invited to pray at the hour of Jesus' death, the Hour of Great Mercy: "O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You" (Diary of St. Faustina, 84).
I believe we will ultimately be judged on our works of mercy done out of love for the Lord. Caring for the vulnerable in our midst — the unborn, the elderly, the dying — is a great act of mercy. As I advance The Miracle of Me and Project MOM, know that I'm in for the big prize. I strive to hear the words "Well done, good and faithful servant" when it's my turn to join our loved ones in heaven.
The fact is, is that God loves us and he has plans for each and every one of us. And while we may make mistakes along the way, His mercy is greater than our sins. How blessed we all are!
It is no coincidence that we kicked Project MOM off two years ago on the anniversary weekend of Roe vs. Wade, the case that legalized abortion in this country. What I've learned over the years as I've comforted people whom I'm close to that have had abortions, is that this choice effects more than just the baby. Regardless of the circumstances that influenced their decision, these loved ones continue to regret their actions and are still plagued by their choice years and years later. It's important to know that this book and this initiative are not about passing judgment. We know God's mercy is divine. It's about educating the reader through simple words and gentle photographs on the medical realities of babies in the womb. And, ultimately, it is about exposing them to LIFE. Each life is precious and a gift from God. After all, we were all chosen by Him.
I ask you and all who are reading this to pray that God would work yet another miracle to put an end to abortion in this country and across the world. Until then, please pray for this book, that it will educate young and old to the beauty of life in the womb.
Buy One, Donate One Program
For every copy of The Miracle of Me you purchase, we will include another copy free of charge and stamped "donated" (donated books may not be resold). To Order: Call 1-800-462-7426 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reference a special order code, R-MIME and method of payment. The cost of the book is $11.95.