Monday, October 22, 2012

Why I am pro-life

I have always been pro-life, but my experience as a mother who lost a baby and a mother who has three babies has changed my perspective... 

It was June 27th. My brother's 22nd birthday. Patrick was out of town at a month long conference. I was teaching a dance camp in Atlanta to make some extra money for the 5th grade teacher and grad student salary we had. I had been spotting for about a week, but as the doctor said, many women did... as long as there was no cramping try not to worry too much, but call if things changed. On June 26th things changed. Through the night and into the morning of June 27th I bled a lot. It was terribly painful. And the next morning I went to the doctor where I passed out from the pain, was rushed to the hospital and about an hour later was wheeled into an ultrasound room where they "couldn't tell me much" until the doctor read the report. Really? Just confirm it for me, please. Through my teary eyes, I begged that tech to just tell me if she saw a heartbeat. She shook her head no. "I see a fetal pole, but no heartbeat." I wasn't sure what she meant by the politically correct term of "fetal pole." I wasn't sure what she was seeing, but I knew at that moment that my baby was gone. Patrick flew down to be with me. We were crushed. Our families were crushed. I even saw my dad cry that day. It will be quite a journey to heal from a loss like this... I have written about this before, but today, I write about it from the perspective of a pro-life advocate.

Before we conceived, we had tried for 2 months. On the third month, we decided to pray a novena. Sure enough we found ourselves expecting the child we wanted so badly. As a woman, I can not explain the joy when you realize you have A HUMAN PERSON growing inside your body! This is a priveledge, an honor, a true miracle. Another beating heart inside my body? How could this be? Truly amazing! So, like other mothers, I tried to eat well, avoided the terrible stuff, stayed away from the toxins, and moved slowly. Haha. I wasn't sure why, but knowing another person was growing in there made me feel somewhat delicate. I didn't want to break him or her. I was super careful with myself.

My friend Melissa made the baby a rosary. My mom had already bought clothes; an array of options for a boy or girl baby. People had sent cards, e-mails and many hugs of congratulations. A new person had been created.

What I realized about this short time that I housed this child was this... even though it was only 7 weeks, I had already dreamt up all I could about this child. Who would they look like? The color of their eyes. Curly hair? Straight? Chubby or skinny? Would they have to wear glasses like me? Would they have flat feet like me? Would they have Patrick's awesome eyelashes? And then to think of their person. Their personality. Their passion. Their vocation. Their future. Their chance to love. The potential for this little person growing in me was more exciting than anything I had experienced. Like I said before it was terribly painful to lose that person who to some would've been an "unwanted pregnancy," "an accident," "a surprise," or even "just a cluster of cells." I was confused even more about abortion after this experience. It was not my choice for my child to die and the pain was unbearable... so I felt so much pain for those women who had made that choice. A lifetime of heart ache, no matter what the reason. A lifetime to wonder about the person who could've been...

A nurse I knew well in college told me, "Sure, anyone can be pro-choice... it is your choice to engage in sexual intercourse. Then once the life is there you must be pro-life. We must be responsible for our choices and accept the consequences." I have seen many women have children at such a young age... they are the most beautiful of women... they made the choice to accept the challenge and rise above it and have done an amazing job.

You ask about rape... not a choice. Agreed. But, let's be honest and ethical. It is not right to commit an evil to fix an evil.

I have watched countless friends try so hard to conceive. I have watched them struggle to adopt. I have experienced this pain with them. And then the joy of adopting. The joy of holding a squishy baby. The joy of watching them grow. The world wants those babies. We certainly did.

A few months after our miscarriage, we conceived for the second time. I was so nervous. I bled for the first twelve weeks. They did countless blood tests at least twice a week, put me on supplements of progesterone, and did ultrasounds on almost a weekly basis.

At 5 weeks, which is 3 weeks after conception, she turned the screen around in the ultrasound room and I saw the tiniest heartbeat... it was in a small little ball (our growing baby) and I cried. A life. At that moment, I again went through the person he would be. His eyes. His personality. His laugh. At six weeks I could make out a head and body on the screen. At 8 weeks I could see hands and feet coming out from the body like little webs. At ten weeks, I bled again through the night with this 2nd pregnancy. We prayed all night and thought for sure we had lost our second baby. I arrived in the ultrasound room once again. She turned the screen to me... arms and legs kicking around!! NO WAY! A uterine hemorrhage. And my baby was still there. After 12 weeks of hormones, ultrasounds, and blood work, I stopped bleeding. It was a long pregnancy. A sick one too. But, miraculously, he hung in there!

On May 10th, Mother's Day in 2009, Gabriel was born. A little peanut. 5 lbs. 13 oz. When I looked into his eyes, I flashed back to that tiniest ball on the screen, beating so strongly, fighting, and wanting to live. Wanting to experience love.

I am always so confused to read about the drunk driver who is accused of a double homicide when the car accident kills a pregnant woman... but in the same state abortion is legal? I am so confused. Why is that so? Why haven't we fought to teach people about the consequences of their choices? Why haven't we fought harder to teach the world about the integrity of every human being, no matter where they live? Why is it OK for a mother to choose? A mother, by the very word, brings about a feeling of safety. She keeps us safe. She doesn't decide she doesn't want us. She doesn't decide it's best for her. She always decides what's best for us. It is our choice to promote a culture of life. Let's do it.

The best way to promote a culture of life is to teach your children and those around you how valuable they are and how to treat others with respect. And how to love.

This issue is about love. And love always forgets self for the other no matter what the cost.