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Megan Dancisak and her son, Ethan.
Photo by Angela Lu
Megan Dancisak and her son, Ethan.

No life without Ethan

Pro-Life Reality | Single and alone, Megan Dancisak chose to raise her son, relying on support from her church community

Television “reality shows” are often heavily scripted. Our goal at WORLD is to describe real reality. We want to show readers actual life in the world that God made and man often messes up. We celebrate resilience in the face of difficulty and creativity that glorifies our Creator.

This week, we’re starting something new in WORLD history: We’re beginning two reality shows, and they're real reality. Today you can read about Megan Dancisak, 26, and her 16-month-old son Ethan. She has the pleasure of raising him, and the hardship of doing so as a single mom. We don’t know what will happen to her as time goes by, but our reporter will find out and update you each month.

We’re also starting a second real reality show tomorrow. It will feature Nathanael and Christina Matanick, young filmmakers who 10 days ago won Best Film at the 168 Film Festival, earning a prize of up to $1 million to make a feature-length film through Echolight Studios. We’ll follow them as they work on their movie: God knows how it will turn out. They and we don’t. Let’s watch together, month by month. —Marvin Olasky

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Golden-haired Ethan Dancisak padded across the apartment in a printed T-shirt, a huge smile on his face. The 16-month-old had discovered a treasure trove—the kitchen trash can—and was fixated on retrieving a used straw. “No,” his mother Megan said. Ethan turned to look, hand still outstretched, long eyelashes blinking.

Megan, 26, never expected herself to be here: Single, living in Los Angeles, and raising a child. But since the day Ethan was born, she would have it no other way: “How could I imagine life without Ethan?”

While most pro-life work focuses on women in crisis pregnancies and their decision to keep or abort the baby, fewer Christians seem involved with helping women after they decide to have the baby. Megan said once she had Ethan, life as she knew it really did end: She’s had to shift her focus from her career plans, social life, and dating relationships to raising her son. Her paycheck from working part-time as a sales associate at T-Mobile now has to cover two people instead of one, and many months she doesn’t have enough money to pay for rent, food, and diapers.

But with the help of her church community, she’s starting to see a new life, one in which she needs to trust in God daily to provide as she learns about Him through her role as a mom.

Megan grew up in Chicago with her single mother, who cycled through dysfunctional relationships before getting married when Megan was 14. Her mother and stepdad moved to a nice area in Indiana and had two children together. But no matter how hard Megan tried to do well in school and fit into the new family, her mom largely ignored her.

So in college, Megan decided to try a new tactic to get attention—as the party girl: “I had so much hurt and pain and I didn’t know how to do deal with it. As I became an adult, I did what the world does—numbing the pain with friendships, sex, and booze.”

After college, things got worse: Her mother had a manic bipolar breakdown, her ex-boyfriend died in a car accident, and she continued trying to fill the void with men, antidepressants, and partying. One night, she decided to commit suicide. But all of a sudden she “felt like Jesus came down, I felt an overwhelming peace I had never felt in my life” and heard Him say, “I love you, you were created for more than this.”

She started going to church and professed faith in Christ. She began dating a godly man she met at church and felt called to move to Los Angeles to pursue ministry. But once she arrived, her boyfriend broke up with her, leaving her stunned.

“I was so angry and confused about why God let that happen. … I asked ‘Why?’ for a year and a half,” she said. In anger, she went back to her old habits of partying and sleeping around. One night she got drunk and had a one-night stand with an acquaintance. Afterwards at church she felt God calling her to stop drinking.

In the following months, Megan started feeling tired. She noticed her body changing and on a whim decided to buy a pregnancy test. It was positive. In disbelief, she took more tests and even went to the emergency room where a doctor confirmed the pregnancy. A nurse came in and slipped Megan a note with Romans 8:28 scrawled on it: “All things work together for the good of those who love God and who are called according to his purposes.”

Life as a single mom is often hard. We plan to follow, month-by-month on WORLDmag.com what happens to single mom Megan Dancisak and her son Ethan.

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