As a little girl growing up in Houston, Texas in the 1970s, Carrie had a reoccurring dream for years.
In her dream, there was an unborn baby girl. “The baby in the womb was fighting and screaming for her life, which was being taken away,” Carrie recalls. “I never understood what that meant, until later.”
In her early teens, Carrie shared her dream with her mother. “That’s when she sat down [in our small living room] and told me about the abortion,” she says. Her mother already had two small children and believed she could not afford to raise a third child on her own, so early in her pregnancy she borrowed money and had an abortion at a small, make-shift clinic in Texas in 1969. That first-trimester abortion failed, and about a month later Carrie’s mother found out she was still pregnant.
Carrie remembers asking her mother, “You did what? Why?” Remarkably, Carrie forgave her mother rather quickly. “I accepted the things she did, and she accepts the things I do,” she explains. Today, they are best friends. But, life has certainly not been easy.
During much of her mother’s long, 36-hour labor, Carrie was lodged in the birth canal, and doctors now believe that resulted in facial paralysis and vision impairment.
Throughout her childhood, Carrie was bullied at school because of her physical appearance. “I was called every name in the book,” she says and remembers countless times of being beat up and being made fun of by both classmates and teachers.
She had low self-esteem and questioned why God would let her live.
Growing up, she wondered if she would ever be loved. By the time she reached her forties she had almost given up on finding the love of her life. But, in 2011, she met and married her husband, Richard. At first, she questioned why he would love her, but in time, she knew his love was real.
Today, Carrie is an inspirational speaker, and she’s testified before the Texas legislature.
She tells people,
“Everybody is worthy of love. There’s no particular person that you can say, ‘No, you can’t have love because you’re this way.’ We are all worthy of love, and we all want to know that we are loved.”
She challenges people, particularly those with disabilities, to have confidence in themselves.
“You can overcome anything… Believe… Don’t let what people think steal your purpose. Never give up. You have a purpose, and you are worthy of love.”