Monday, January 21, 2013

Unplanned Joy

Tomorrow marks the 40th Anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision.  I've always known what abortion is.  My parents were active in the pro-life movement, and I have this distinct memory of being on the playground in the 3rd grade walking around and talking with two friends.  One little girl said her mother had just had an abortion, the other little girl asked what that was, and I oh-so-blithely piped up "Oh, I know what that is, that is when they kill a baby before it is born."

I *knew* but I didn't really *know*.

I've always considered myself pro-life.  I can remember arguing against abortion in Spanish class (of all things...can't quite recall why, I think our assignment was to argue something in Spanish).  In college, I took a bus down to Washington D.C. with a few friends and marched in the March for Life.

I *knew* but I didn't really *know*.

It wasn't until I had my first child that I really and truly understood what abortion is and what a travesty it is.  It wasn't until I saw the 2nd line turn pink, saw that first ultrasound, felt a baby moving around and then gave birth to a little, tiny, brand new person that I really understood.

I can remember after giving birth, seeing those little arms and legs kicking and head turning and thinking "Oh, so THAT'S what I was feeling when you were still on the inside".

That is when I realized in my heart, what I have always known intellectually.  That the beginning of a pregnancy is the beginning of a brand new life and that life is always precious....everyone's life is precious.

It always amazes me how "easy" it is make a baby.  I know couples struggling with infertility don't think it is easy..and my heart goes out to them.   But, I find it amazing how a single act of sexual intercourse *can* lead to a whole, BRAND, NEW, PERSON. It's almost like magic...conception occurs and then POOF, there is someone there who wasn't there before and the mother doesn't have to DO anything (other than continue to eat and nourish her own body).  If all goes well, the baby grows and develops and is born and grows up and leaves his or her mark on the world.   Because, matter how long they lived in this world or what they did, somehow leaves their mark.

Patricia Heaton (of Everybody Loves Raymond fame) and honorary chair of Feminists for Life said

“Women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy also deserve unplanned joy."
And that's what a baby  Sure, pregnancy is hard and painful and birth is hard and painful and raising a child is hard and painful..and giving a baby up for adoption would be very hard and very painful.   All those things require lots of work and sacrifice...but amidst the sacrifice and work and pain, there is joy...there is always joy.

After Elsa was born, when out and about, I was amazed at how total strangers seemed to take such joy in seeing a new baby.  Maybe it's because I live in an area dominated by retirees, or maybe it's because she is exceptionally cute (okay, I know every mother thinks their baby is exceptionally I'm just a bit biased... sue me), but I was always being stopped in the grocery store, or on walks by people wanting to see her and admire her and just look at her.   Just by being a new baby she seemed to bring at least some small measure of joy to others.

And, that is why abortion is such a travesty in our society.  It destroys a life, it destroys a person and it destroys a mother's chance to experience joy through her child.

My heart goes out to women who have experienced a crisis pregnancy.  I never have.  I will admit, I don't know what it's like.  My heart goes out even more to women who have experienced abortion.  I pray they only feel compassion and love and gentleness from the pro-life movement.


  1. Thanks for writing on this topic. I could not agree with you more. I often wonder how as a society we are going to explain to future generations why we denied the gift of life to so many innocent little souls.

  2. YES. Well said. And I love that Patricia Heaton quote! I've never seen it before.


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