I always told myself I'd never consider having an abortion — then I found myself facing that choice, and everything I thought I knew and felt turned upside down.

Let me get one thing straight before I continue: I do not believe in elective abortion. I believe the creation of life is a sacred thing and not something that should be taken lightly. I do not believe in ending the life of a healthy baby for the sake of convenience or because the parents don't feel they can provide for the child. There are other ways, in my opinion, we as a society should handle these circumstances, such as more easy access to birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies and adoption when an unplanned pregnancy does occur — but that's a different discussion for a different day.

I have, however, always thought there were circumstances that could warrant an abortion, such as rape or incest, the mother's life being jeopardized or if the baby has a condition that will not support life. I've always felt pregnancy termination should be on the table in these circumstances, but never thought I'd ever considering terminating a pregnancy myself.

But then we received Luke's anencephaly diagnosis.

Anencephaly is a neural tube defect where "a narrow channel in the fetus that normally closes to form the spinal cord and brain, does not close properly between the third and fourth weeks of pregnancy," according to the Cleveland Clinic. It happens in approximately 1-3 in every 10,000 births, according to stlouischildrens.org. Anencephaly may be a lot more common than that, but it's just that many of the cases naturally end in miscarriage.

For whatever reason, our case of anencephaly did not.

As we left the doctor's office the day we received our baby's diagnosis, both Blake and I were uncertain what to do. As trivial as it sounds when I type it, we started going over the pros and cons of terminating the pregnancy as we drove home from the hospital, and our conversation repeatedly came back to two points: Would the baby be in pain, either in utero or during birth, and what effect would either decision have on our 2-year-old son, Jack.

Our doctor called us a few hours later to check on us and answer any other questions we had, and she explained to us that our baby would not feel pain — in fact, physically could not feel pain — because of the portion of his brain that was missing. She also explained that babies with anencephaly are born blind and deaf.

Even with this information, we were still unsure what to do. We are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches that elective abortion is morally wrong. It's an opinion we already knew we agreed with, not because we were "told" to agree, as some might think, but because we had thought long and hard about it from both a faith and political perspective long before we were ever faced with this choice.

The church agrees, however, that some circumstances — such as rape or incest, the mother's life being jeopardized or if the baby has a condition that will not support life — may be grounds for a pregnancy to be terminated but encourages members to counsel with their local leaders and pray about individual decisions.

We called our bishop, who is also a friend of ours, and asked if we could meet with him that night. Instead, he insisted on riding his bike over to our apartment — on his lunch break — to be with us. It was another little ray of sunshine on a dark day knowing we had a friend who would drop what he was doing to help us in our time of need.

We explained our situation more thoroughly to him, and he helped talk us through our thoughts and fears, but didn't tell us what to do — not that we expected him to. One of the things I appreciated his perspective on most was the reminder that we, and Jack, would ultimately be OK. Our bishop has two young children who are some of Jack's closest friends, so he knows our family. He reminded us that Jack is a good, strong, resilient kid, and we are capable, loving parents, so no matter what we chose, we would make it a situation for our family to learn and grow from.

He prayed with us, gave Blake a priesthood blessing (Blake had already given me one earlier) and left us with hugs and reaffirmations of his confidence in us to make the right decision for us.

After he left, both Blake and I felt overwhelmingly that there was no right or wrong choice, but there was one choice that felt like the path we — our family specifically — should take.

My mom flew out that night to be with us — yet another blessing that she was able to come so quickly — and help take care of Jack while we processed things. Blake and I went to the temple the next day and left feeling confident in our decision.

We chose to carry to term.

Since we've made that choice, I've had many people say to me that we made the "right" decision. And while I appreciate the sentiment and their desire to provide support and reassurance, I also do not agree with them.

Let me say that more clearly: I do not believe in situations like this that there is a clear-cut right or wrong decision, one that applies universally to everyone.

According to the CDC, 91% of all abortions happen within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. These numbers include both elective abortions and abortions done for reasons such as such as rape or incest, the mother's life being jeopardized or if the baby has a condition that will not support life.

Anencephaly is just one of many fetal defects that would cause for a baby not to live beyond birth, but like anencephaly, most, if not all, would not be detectable in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, at the very earliest.

In situations like ours, a family choosing to terminate the pregnancy DOES NOT mean they didn't love their child. Getting to the point in pregnancy where they could receive a diagnosis like anencephaly means they chose to receive prenatal care, that they chose to have that child, or at least chose to continue the pregnancy.

Terminating a pregnancy in a situation like anencephaly does not make someone a monster or a baby killer. It means they were faced with a no-win situation — that's what this is, because no matter whether you choose to carry to term or terminate, a baby's life is still lost — and made a choice that felt most bearable for them and their family.

We have complete, deep, lasting compassion for anyone faced with a situation similar to ours who chooses to terminate the pregnancy. We will never, ever judge someone who made a different decision than we did.

So why did we choose to carry to term then if we don't believe there is a right or a wrong answer?

Ultimately, it simply comes down to the fact that we wanted to meet our baby and for Jack to meet his little brother. We knew it would not be an easy path, but the alternative wasn't easy either, and we just wanted the chance to meet him, regardless of whether he is stillborn, lives for a few minutes or lives for a few hours. We wanted to have that time with him, both in utero and after birth, because we knew it would be the only time we'd get with him for a while.

We believe that a person's spirit — some other people not of our faith might know it as a person's soul — lives on after death, and we also believe that because of promises we have made with God in his holy temple, we will be a family forever. That family includes our baby, Luke. I really do believe I will get to be with him again after this life, but continuing to term, for us, felt right since we knew this would be the only time we'd have with him in this life.

I saw a post on an anencephaly support group that said, "We were going to teach you about the world. We will now teach the world about you." The post was intended as a way to encourage anencephaly awareness, which is important. But as I've pondered those words, I've found myself giving the words a different meaning.

Yes, we had hoped to be able to teach Luke about the world, to teach him to walk and talk, to help him with his science fair projects, to see him get married and have his own kids one day. But that's not what God intended Luke's life to look like.

But we haven't been robbed of anything. Instead, we've been given so much.

Most importantly, we've been given the chance to tell his story. We get to tell the world about Luke, to tell them of his value, what he's taught our family and what we believe about how we will be with him again one day, to use his story as a call for compassion and understanding, and most importantly, love.