In my 57 years, I’ve experienced some truly wonderful moments, from my election as vice president of the United States to the day I married the love of my life, Karen. I believe these moments are gifts from God, and each one of them is so precious to me. But of all these gifts, one has shaped my perspective more than I could ever have imagined. There is truly no greater joy than watching women forced to experience the miracle of birth.

There’s really no experience quite like seeing women, stripped of all other options by policy makers, bringing forth a new life. Call it clichéd, but the first time you see your legislation force someone to bring a child into the world, your entire life changes. Suddenly, it hits you: You’re not just living for yourself; you’re living to make your constituents sacrifice their chosen futures to support a new human being they never intended to have. It’s overwhelming, it’s dizzying, and it’s positively electrifying.

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I’ve learned that, for a statesman, appreciating the miracle of childbirth means learning a kind of selflessness. It’s not about you, you realize. It’s about the transformational experience a new mother’s been made to undergo. From the instant a new being she can’t legally abort even if it endangers her life starts growing inside her to when she finally holds the child she likely can’t afford to support in her arms, every day is a powerful, mandatory journey. You may feel compelled to step in along the way to provide government assistance for her or her child, but remember: This is her road that she has no choice but to walk, not yours. Instead, just step back, and take it all in.

There’s really no experience quite like seeing women, stripped of all other options by policy makers, bringing forth a new life.

While legislatively enforced birth is such a source of joy for me, I’ve also learned to find beauty in the small moments along the way, too: the way the light goes out of a 19-year-old mother-to-be’s eyes after being told her choices are limited to adoption, the silence that falls as a couple sees their very first ultrasound and learns they’ll have to carry their nonviable fetus to term, the fake enthusiasm in a young professional’s voice as she answers painful questions about her pregnancy from well-meaning strangers on the subway. All these instants are threads in a vibrant, magical tapestry, and when I’m lucky enough to witness them, I know I’m truly blessed.

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It’s moments like those, big and small, that inspire me in tough times. When I’m being harangued by a furious female voter at a town hall meeting or burning the candle at both ends coming up with impossible new building codes to shutter abortion clinics, I just close my eyes and think of all those women forced into becoming mothers because of my policies. I think of the loved ones they’ve had to frantically assemble into a support network. And most of all, I think of the beautiful children I decided had to exist. They remind me of my purpose. They’re the light I strive toward.

Witnessing compulsory motherhood is such a powerful thing. I hope as vice president of the United States, I can help even more Americans experience its majesty firsthand. I won’t rest until I do.