Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Royal Baby and my Niece

It's not new news that the Duchess of Cambridge and her husband, Prince William, are new proud parents of Prince George. What may be news is the news that Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge is receiving over the showing of her postpartum baby bump. While many are cheering her dress choices or crying foul at the media I think that there is something in all this royal baby buzz we are missing. The world waited with baited breath the whole 9 months to welcome her baby.

The whole world and all of the media outlets were happy to divulge the nitty gritty details of Kate's health and the status of her baby. Whether we'd find out the gender, when she left and was admitted into the Lido Wing and how awful her pregnancy symptoms were, especially when hospitalized for dehydration. The one thing that the world seemed to agree on though was that she was carrying a human baby. One that not only had rights to live but had a wonderful chance at destiny being the third in line for the British Monarchy.

This former clump of cells has dignity and a chance to be born. There was also no doubt that Prince George would either be a boy or a girl or at the very least human. In one swoop The world simultaneously acknowledged the humanity of one fetus. They welcomed Prince George in the matter of a moment once the royal pregnancy announcement was made.

I collectively wonder what would happen in the world if we were to acknowledge that level of dignity in every person we meet regardless of child, middle aged, elderly or in utero. Sure the circumstances of each birth may not be as privileged as that of Prince George but it doesn't mean that their life has any less dignity.

I look at pictures of my youngest niece. In the picture above, she's nearly 2 months old. It didn't take a couple good pushes and a deep breath to affirm her dignity as a human being. That red headed princess captured all our hearts the moment we heard her mother was pregnant. Why then can't we support all mothers with love and care and let these children be born?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Unplanned Does Not Equal Unwanted

With the recent triumph in the Texas Legislature returning abortion to the "safe, legal and rare" precedent for their state my Facebook feed has been filled with emotions of why abortion is not practical as a form of birth control. In the debate on whether abortion is safe, we are often so focused on the health of the mother that we forget that in nearly 100% of all abortions, it is fatal to the life of the unborn child. Even if we don't forget, abortion is a safe word that lets those who are pro-choice and pro-life skim over that fact "comfortably."

My husband and I practice Natural Family Planning. Most days I can tell you where I am in cycle without batting an eye, my husband has a bit more of a hazy understanding. However after 2.5 years of marriage, any pregnancy we would have would be definitely "unplanned". We want a child, but have been unsuccessful in growing our family. When we say that a child would be unplanned we don't mean that we don't want a child, just that the positive result would be truly a surprise.

At the same time there are women everyday who find out they are pregnant and it is as the worst possible time in their lives or under the worst circumstances. Our contemporary society tells us that abortion is the best option for the living mother, excuse me, woman. Not only is it encouraged, it's expected. The same is the result of those child who unexpectedly have a physical or cognitive defect while in the womb. The parents may love that child, but in the child's best interests are told to abort. It is a courageous and noble or even stupid choice should parents choose to keep the child.

In these "unplanned" circumstances, why do we show that disposal is a better choice than love. There is a deep societal stigma regarding pregnant women. Unless the child being born is being brought into this world in the best situation, why even have the child?

Love. Love requires self sacrifice and self giving. Society is so wrapped up in convenience and living the easy life that anything truly sacrificial is seen as an undue burden. Only give while it feels good and then call yourself good.

I've used this picture before. I absolutely adore my nephews and the eldest from this family is on the left. I will call him Batman. Batman's mom had a completely unplanned pregnancy. She had been with her boyfriend for about a month and Batman had found his Batcave. She never hesitated once and decided to keep him. After Batman had been born his parents decided to get married. While it hasn't been easy for their family, they make due on work when they can find it, and live comfortably cramped in their small apartment. And Batman in the lead watching over his two younger brothers and baby sister. My sister in law is a great model of faith, hope, and love while doing their best in life.

There is another story which can probably do more to illustrate that not all unplanned pregnancies are unwanted.

We all know the story of a very young teen who finds herself unmarried and pregnant in ancient Israel. The Blessed Virgin Mary found herself accepting the promise of God through his angel that she would be carrying the Son of God. Saint Joseph even found himself wanting to not marry her because she was pregnant. He wouldn't have been out of line to think it was with someone elses child. Leaving her side would have meant almost certain death for Mary and her child. Their society wouldn't have batted an eye at that. Even at that time when it was only Mary who wanted to keep the child, Jesus was definitely unplanned in her life but he was even greatly loved and wanted. Love and self-sacrifice won out. Joseph through the instruction of an angel was told that Jesus would be the savior. Mary had a healthy baby boy and the rest they say is Salvation History.

Children who are unplanned and for mothers' and fathers' who are thinking that abortion is the only way out, please consider adoption for your child. Please consider calling your local adoption agency or speaking with someone at Birthright. There are agencies who will support your choice and help you find the best choice for you.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Praying in Rome

I don't often get excited by giveaways that are on the internet. This is one that you my readers may be interested in. I think this book will be well worth the read and something that you may want to check our for yourself.

The giveaway lasts through the rest of the week so act fast!

Other than that, I will be posting later this week but the wonderful wall of writer's block is back so, we'll see what we get!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I Can Understand the Allure of In Vitro Fertilization

This past week I was on a blessed and relaxing vacation with friends and family. Part of the holiday weekend was spent with my husband's family for a family get together. Over the past few years the family joke was that someone was always pregnant. This was apparent by the 6 children present under the age of 5.

My younger sister-in-law had just given birth 2 months ago and no one else was pregnant. My in laws looked to my husband and I for a surprise announcement but we didn't have any news to share. The secret we had only shared with our respective parents was that we had suffered a miscarriage in November, I would have been about 7.5 months along this past weekend.

Over this past weekend I met my newest niece and the child of my best friend, both these beautiful bundles are less than 4 months old. I have never seen their mothers happier than I did seeing them holding their children, at the same time I have never been more ashamed of how much I wished to have a child.

In vitro fertilization is the combining of a sperm and egg outside of the act of sex and replacing that egg back within the mother. Extra eggs and sperm are combined and saved in order for a higher rate of pregnancy or to try again for additional children. This practice is condemned by the Catholic Church because of the undertaking of playing God by all parties involved. It is also condemned because of the reckless wasting of life through the mingling of sperm and egg. Each of these zygotes also contains a human soul which regardless of implantation or not, means they are still humans. There is a waste of life because of the low implantation rate and that many of these children will not be "utilized" for a pregnancy.

However even with the cost I can see the allure, the desire and craving that parents seeking IVF as an option see. The chance of having a beautiful, biological, child of your own out weighs a lot for many parents. If I did not have the beliefs I did, IVF would be a very tempting option indeed.

However I look inside myself and know IVF is never an option for my husband and me. Let's go through a couple reasons here.

1.     I am not God.

Sex as a marital act requires both husband and wife and including God as the author of life. It is because of this relationship that heterosexual marriage mirrors both the relationship of Christ and his Church as well as the Trinity. By removing God as the author of life we are attempting to play God. Medical science would simply say that they are working to overcome a natural deficiency of the body, we are eliminating the need for faith and trust. We are coping the choice of Adam and Eve's first sin, trying to be as God.

Secondly, I don't always know what's best for me. Just as the parable of the parent who always gives good gifts, I may be asking for the wrong gift to fulfill what is best for me. So as my spiritual father, God will not give me a gift at just because I asked for it. There may be a greater wisdom in asking us to wait.

2.     Delayed gratification over instant.

There is no doubt that our modern society places an emphasis on what I can receive now without waiting. Once a woman finds out she's pregnant, she still has to wait 9 months to meet her child but, it doesn't make her any less of a mother. Because my husband and I are still waiting for a child to be born from us, doesn't make us any less of parents, but how joyful will we be when we are finally able to hold our child and have them safe in our arms.

3.     I have other places to put my time.

My Nephews
There are mother's who can do it all. They work full time, take care of their children, volunteer, keep their home running smoothly and more that I cannot imagine. I have met these women and stand in awe of them. At this time in my life, I don't know if I can ever be one of them. As it stands, I have other children that are in need of my time, they are the students working to grasp and take ownership of their faith, my nephews learning to save the world and friends who are beginning their lives with their children. I am allowed to work crazy hours and take time to delve into other passions. While I still crave and long to be a full time parent, I understand that there are other needs that I can devote myself too in the meantime.

With these reasons, it is still hard to wait. I have prayed very choice words in frustration, heartache, and humility trying to find answers. The biggest answer I have received through prayer is "wait and see." I fully acknowledge the desire to want a child, but are incapable of having one, yet. However, until the answer I have received changes, I will wait and see what the Lord has planned for me.