Kathy Brace grew up in a dysfunctional home with an abusive father and detached mother. She began searching for love in all the wrong places and became pregnant by age 15, eventually giving her baby up for adoption.
Kathy spent much of her life looking for true love, chasing after her dream of a picture perfect family. Yet over and over again, she only found bitterness and rejection accompanied by a string of failed relationships and unwanted pregnancies.
Kathy’s life continued spiraling out-of-control and appeared to be completely hopeless… until Christ appeared and offered her True Hope.
This is Part 1 of Kathy Brace’s story.
Win an autographed copy of Kathy’s book “Born to Deliver” by entering the giveaway contest further down this page.
The following is a summary of the podcast interview above with Kathy Brace. Many more details are included in the original podcast episode and we encourage you to listen.
Unwanted from Birth
Kathy Brace’s mom never wanted her. When Kathy’s mom gave birth to Kathy’s older brother, Kathy’s dad came into the hospital drunk and made such a scene he had been kicked out by the hospital staff. Kathy’s mom was mortified and decided she didn’t want any more children.
But then she became pregnant with Kathy. Kathy’s mom was determined to avoid the humiliation she had experienced during her last birth, so, when she went into labor, she secretly took a bus and checked herself into the hospital.
When Kathy was born in 1950 the doctor asked her mom what name to put on the birth certificate, Kathy’s mom looked the doctor square in the eye and answered, “I really don’t care. You name her.”
The first thing that came to the startled doctor’s mind was his own wife whose name was “Kathy Ann” – which is the name Kathy received. Unfortunately, this sad phenomenon of being unwanted even as a baby would plague Kathy for much of her life.
A Detached Mom & Abusive Dad
Kathy’s mom was consumed with working, doing her best to keep her family clean and clothed. There was little time left over for Kathy to interact with her, and Kathy never had conversations with her mom.
Although Kathy’s mom was detached and distant, the situation with her dad was much worse. Kathy’s dad was an alcoholic, and, in his drunken states, was often violent in their home. Kathy was usually terrified of him.
On one occasion, Kathy remembers her father coming home in a drunken rage and beating her older brother while she hid under the bed. She was 5 years old.
Kathy’s mom and dad, along with her older brother, made up her family until things got too dangerous and Kathy’s mom took Kathy and her brother away from the environment when Kathy was 5. Even though Kathy was relieved to be away from her dad, she mourned the loss of a complete family unit with a mom, dad, and children.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
Kathy’s childhood was filled with loneliness and rejection. If only Kathy had known then that God loved her and was with her during every one of those dark days, her path forward may have looked very different, but Kathy had never been told about God. She had only ever encountered anything related to God when she attended church once a year, on Easter.
So, when Kathy moved d into a large high school in 7th grade and boys began giving her attention, she desperately ate it up, hoping they would give her the love she never received at home. Kathy dreamed of one day having her own family, the perfect family she had always longed for.
Eventually, Kathy started dating a boy named Lester, and her life took a significant turn for the worst. The prospect of true love led her to make one bad decision after another until Kathy found herself pregnant at 15 years old.
Pregnant at 15
At first, Kathy was in denial. She was getting sicker and sicker, running out of class to throw up, and she noticed she was missing her cycle. But surely…she couldn’t be pregnant. Could she? Just as she started to realize, in horror, she was indeed pregnant, Lester moved on to another girlfriend.
Kathy became desperate. She started starving herself to keep the baby from showing, and she stole a girdle from a department store. She even threw herself from a moving car, hoping it would somehow end all of the pain in her life.
Kathy’s efforts to hide her secret were successful until she hit the 5 month mark. At this point, Kathy’s mom discovered that Kathy was pregnant.
She told Kathy to pack her bags. They would leave for Abilene, TX, the next morning to “get this thing taken care of.”
Alone in Abilene
Kathy’s mom took Kathy to a home for unwed mothers. Kathy would stay there until she gave birth to the baby who would then be adopted.
When they reached the home, Kathy’s mom dropped her off. At 15 years old and 6 months pregnant, Kathy was left at the end of a long driveway to make the walk to her new home by herself. She was alone with only her small suitcase and $10.
A Scarlet Letter
Kathy began counting down the days until she could go back home and move on with her life…if that was even possible. It was a long 3 months of waiting, especially in the brutal heat of the Texas summer.
Kathy came to dread Sundays. The home Kathy was living in had one requirement in order to live there: you had to attend church every Sunday, and you had to wear the dress that was provided to you. So, every week, Kathy reluctantly went to church.
She loaded up in the van, along with the rest of the women in the home, and filed into the back row reserved her and her fellow housemates. She was never spoken to, and neither were the other women. It was like they all had a scarlet letter stamped right on their foreheads
Kathy sat through the services, as she was required. But she didn’t believe in God. If there was a God, why would He let this happen to her?
Go Into Labor. Now.
Time moved forward until, one day, Kathy’s mom called and told her she had to have the baby right away in order to get home in time to enroll for school. Kathy’s mom said she should get a bottle of castor oil and drink it with some orange juice.
Kathy knew nothing about childbirth and had no idea how castor oil would help her have the baby, but the next day she downed not one, but two bottles of it. The castor oil quickly did its job, and Kathy was soon in labor.
The woman in charge of the home drove Kathy to the hospital and dropped her off. Kathy was once again all alone for what would be one of the most traumatic events of her life.
After 52 hours of excruciating labor and a terrifying delivery experience, Kathy woke up and found out she had had a baby boy.
“I want to see him,” she demanded. But no one would allow her to see her baby. She would change her mind and not let the baby be adopted, they told her. She would be haunted.
Kathy persisted for days though and refused to sign the adoption papers unless they would let her see her baby. The hospital finally agreed to give Kathy 2 hours with her baby. Two hours to tell her baby everything she could think of, etch his memory into her heart, and name him. She called him “Lester” after his father.
Broken and Hopeless
Kathy signed the adoption papers then headed home broken, ashamed, and completely hopeless.
Giving away her baby haunted her, and she felt like she had left a piece of herself behind. She wondered who would still want her now. It seemed her hopes and dreams of one day having a perfect family were now dashed to pieces.
Married at 16
When Kathy got home, she discovered she would have to move. The school had figured out that she had been pregnant and wouldn’t allow her to come back for a year. She went to live with her cousins and go to school with them in another school district.
In a new environment with new friends, Kathy began to think maybe she could move on with her life. Especially when her best friend introduced her to a handsome and winsome Sicilian, Bobby. He and Kathy hit it off right away, and, after meeting only twice, he suggested that he and Kathy marry. Desperate to get out of her situation, Kathy agreed.
They crossed the state line, forged Kathy’s birth certificate, and were married. Kathy was 16, and she thought that now she would have the family she had so longed for. It took only a couple of weeks, however, for Kathy to realize what a terrible mistake she had made.
A Terrible Mistake
It quickly became obvious that Kathy’s new husband was an alcoholic. She had done the one thing she had said she would never do – she had married her dad.
Several months into their marriage, Bobby and several of his friends crowded into their house. They were all drunk and began taking punches at Kathy. Terrified, Kathy ran to the bedroom and locked the door.
She felt like a failure. How could she have gotten herself into such a bad situation once again? She called her brother to come get her and began throwing her belongings into a suitcase. In the process, she discovered a loaded gun.
Ending Her Life
In complete despair, Kathy made a split-second decision. She put the gun to her head and pulled the trigger. But it didn’t fire. She tried again, and nothing happened. Kathy had never held a gun before, let alone fired one, and had no idea it had a safety switch.
Frustrated, Kathy began fiddling with it, and, in the process, managed to turn the safety off and fire it in another direction. Chaos exploded in the house. At that moment, Kathy’s brother burst through the door, picked her up, and drove her to their mom’s home.
Kathy never saw Bobby again. Once again, her dream of having a family had been crushed. Kathy’s friends and family told her to “move on” with her life. But Kathy couldn’t; she was pregnant once again.
Ericka and Amy
This time, Kathy was determined to keep her baby. She couldn’t fathom leaving another baby. When her baby Ericka arrived, Kathy resolved to make sure Ericka would have a different life than she had had.
Kathy was convinced she needed to find someone to marry, a daddy for Ericka, and it wasn’t long before Kathy wound up in another relationship with a man named Johnny. Kathy ended up pregnant for the 3rd time, and Johnny didn’t want the baby.
There was no way Kathy could support another child, so, heartbroken, she concluded that she would have to give another baby up for adoption.
When Kathy handed over her baby Amy, she felt defeat rush over her again like a wave. She kept making the same the same bad choices, the same mistakes, over and over again. She felt like a complete failure.
Finally, Kathy managed to get into a relationship she was proud of. This time it was with a football player for the Oakland Raiders who appeared to have his act together. And he seemed to really care about her!
Things were starting to look better for Kathy… until she found out she was pregnant. Again. When Kathy broke the news about the baby to the father, he had news for her. He was already married! He wanted nothing to do with Kathy, and he certainly wanted nothing to do with their baby.
He told Kathy her only option was to have an abortion. Kathy didn’t even know such a thing was possible, but the father gave her instructions on how to go about it and handed her $200 for the procedure. Kathy never heard from him again.
Kathy was crushed but felt she had no other choice. At around 10 weeks pregnant, she made the drive to the abortion clinic. “Do you have the money?” was the first thing she was asked when she arrived. Kathy handed over the money and went through with the procedure.
When it was over, she walked out to her car, drove away, and blocked the whole memory. Kathy knew her life was spiraling out of control and she didn’t know where it would end. She was bitter and never wanted anything to do with another man again.
Kathy did her best to get rid of another guy her friend introduced her to, but he just kept calling and asking for a date. Eventually, Kathy agreed.
In spite of a rocky first date and Kathy’s stubborn resolve to not let another man near her, Mike melted Kathy’s cold heart. After they had dated for a while, Kathy laid down an ultimatum: either they had to get married right away or break up completely. When Mike proposed marriage, Kathy agreed. They were wed in the courthouse shortly afterwards.
A New Life
At first, it seemed Kathy was about to get her wish. She and Mike were happily married and soon they were expecting a baby. It was the first time Kathy was pregnant on purpose with a father who actually wanted the baby, the way she had always longed for it to be.
Mike and Kathy had a little girl, Brandi. Mike’s job moved them to Wichita, Kansas, and Kathy was elated to leave behind her Tennessee home and all it symbolized. In Kansas, Mike and Kathy welcomed another little girl, Holli, into their family.
Everything looked great on the outside, but, in reality, things were far from perfect. Kathy and Mike fought often, and it seemed their marriage was going to crumble. Desperate to avoid admitting failure, Kathy and Mike decided it was time to try something new.
Going to Church
Mike and Kathy and their little family started attending church every week. They did a pretty good job of putting on the appearance that they had their lives together, and, when VBS rolled around that summer, Kathy was asked to teach a class!
Kathy was baptized and started teaching not only VBS but Sunday school as well! Despite her new roles, Kathy still barely even knew who God was. All of that was about to change, though, when a new pastor took over the church and organized a revival meeting.
Kathy attended the revival services twice a day, once in the morning in a special service for women and once at night. She was like a sponge, absorbing a flood of information and truths she had never heard before.
She heard that Jesus loved her, and there was no sin too great that would make Him stop loving her.
What about having an abortion? Kathy wondered. She heard that, through Christ, she could have peace. As much turmoil as Kathy had experienced in her life, it was hard to believe that was even possible.
Kathy Brace, the Saved Sinner
But, by the middle of the week, all of the pieces were starting to come together for Kathy, and she decided to have the new pastor over to talk about it more.
The pastor prayed for her, and, as he did, Kathy felt tears running down her cheeks. She knew that all she had been hearing, the Gospel, was the truth. There really was hope for someone even as broken as her. Christ, and only Christ, could heal the most broken heart and forgive the darkest sin.
Kathy confessed her sins and asked Jesus to save her.
At once, for the first time in her life, Kathy Brace felt true peace in her heart.
More to Come
Believe it or not, this is only the first half of Kathy’s story.
Even though she had found Christ there was still a long journey in front of her, including trusting God with her marriage which was still on the rocks, a life-altering accident that debilitated much of her body, and in one of the most unique twists: God began using Kathy who had given away 2 of her own children and aborted a 3rd, to begin delivering babies at birth.
Come back next week for Part 2 of Kathy Brace’s story.
Win an autographed copy of Kathy Brace’s book, “Born to Deliver” using the entry form below.
Note: Winner must live within the United States or Canada.
Note: Winner must live within the United States or Canada.
Kathy’s midwifery website: Fruitful Vine Midewives
Kathy’s book website: Born to Deliver
Kathy’s book on Amazon
A free study guide that accompanies Kathy’s book