I'm a convert to Catholicism who has a high functioning autism spectrum disorder. In this blog, I write about diverse topics, such as separating the truth from the lies, new evangelization, living well with autism and growing closer in relation to Christ. I especially share experiences with contemplative prayer and thoughts about works of mystical Christianity.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Mother and Baby: Who Cares Anymore?
When I was a little girl, I wanted more
than anything to grow up to be a mother. I had a baby doll I pushed
in a carriage. I dreamed about having a house full of kids. I think I
was about eight years old when I told my mother, “When I grow up, I
want to have a baby.” My mother said, “No, honey, you don't want
that. You want a PhD. Your PhD is your baby. A PhD is far more
I stared at her, confused. So, thinking
through this logic in my mind, her PhD was more important to her than
me. Of course it was. That's why she spent all her time studying for
it and ignoring me. On the positive side, my mother wanted me to grow
up to be an intellectual achiever. On the negative side, she had no
idea how those words would impact my belief that I was not wanted or
valued by her. I'm glad she did give birth to me, though.
I was raised by two pro-life democrats.
Yes, they do exist, in greater numbers than either Republicans or
Democrats think. The value of unborn life was a value I always took
for granted and never really thought about much. The first time I
really thought about it, I was sixteen and a friend of mine, whom
I'll call Betsy, thought she was pregnant. We went to a crisis
pregnancy center (CPC) so she would get a free test. While the worker
there was reading the test, we were shown a video on the miracle of
life. I was transfixed, amazed at the wonder of how human life grows.
Betsy groaned. “I can't believe we came here,” she said, “These
people are trying to get me to believe that a fetus is a human and
take away my right to do what I want with my body. Let's get out of
We left quickly after finding out her
test was negative. I asked Betsy more questions. She told me to read
books by feminists like Gloria Steinem. I read that and more and
found out a lot about Betsy's point of view. I wondered if she could
be right. Because I was from a liberal democrat family, so were
almost all my friends, and all of them but me were pro-choice. As I
grew up more and more of my friends were having abortions. Two in
particular had five and six abortions each. Having an abortion was
nothing to them, but just having “a bunch of cells” removed. No
concern seemed to cross their minds at all. At some point of time, I
believed the “cell story” too.
I'm very lucky I did not get pregnant
in my teen years or twenties. I didn't need a man. I was a free and
independent woman. Nobody should tell me what to do. Marriage? That's
a piece of paper.
I lived in a heavily abortion-minded
climate. I would tell my friends, “I can't have an abortion myself,
because I'm not sure when the soul enters the body. If I'm not sure,
how can I take even a little risk of murder?” Yet because I wanted
people to like me, I would also say, “Since we don't know, I guess
you're free to take the risk if you want.” Of course, I never
judged anyone for having an abortion. I still don't think a woman who
has gone through with it is someone to be condemned. Most women
choose abortion in a state of panic and often under pressure by
family. More than half of abortions are due to the fear of not having
financial resources to care for the child.
Add to that how little most women know
about fetal development. I really believed that for the first two
months, all that's in the uterus is a clump of undifferentiated
cells. People told me if I went to a crisis pregnancy center, people
would lie and try to show me that a baby was in there. I didn't
realize I could just pick up a biology textbook and see that at only
three weeks after implantation, there's a heart in there that begins to beat. By eight
weeks, every organ in the body is there in the uterus. No, you won't
hear that at Planned Parenthood, because they don't want to disturb
you. But, they will tell you CPC's lie when the materials they are
teaching from are either written by medical doctors or come straight
out of biology text books.
I got pregnant for the first time when
I was 36. I was not married and my boyfriend had just thrown me out
and changed all the locks on the doors. He thought I was lying when I
said I was pregnant. I stayed with a friend who watched me take three
pregnancy tests and she took all three of them to my boyfriend. He
said, “So what?”
I really wanted that baby. I wanted the
baby so much I cried when I was pregnant. A child was all I ever
wanted. I remembered my parents said they both cried when they found
out my mom was pregnant, but they had really good stable jobs and
owned a house. What did I have? Absolutely nothing to offer this
baby. Yet, I wanted it more than anything in the world.
I left California to stay with my dad
in Georgia. Yet, on the way to Georgia, passing through Louisiana, I
started bleeding heavily. I went to an emergency room and took
another pregnancy test. No more baby. I could die. When I got to
Georgia, I saw what I'd lost. A job, relationship and home in
California. A future baby. And with the loss of contact with a new
age group, I realized it was a very convincing sham of spirituality.
My disillusion was pretty total, my depression pretty deep.
I tried to rebuild my life so I could
have a home and family, yet everything I tried to do failed. In 2009,
I moved to Eugene, Oregon to try to start over, age forty. My life
seemed to lose more meaning every day. When I re-discovered God and a
church family, I was prostate by the weight of a life not lived as I
had ever wanted. I came back to the solace and strength I had gone to
in my young teen years, the Catholic Church.
To make a long blog shorter, my life is
rich in meaning and purpose today. I am deeply happy. I volunteer in
a Crisis Pregnancy Center now, and yes, I do want to save babies. I
also want to help make life easier for mothers, so they won't feel
the overwhelming need to abort. Sometimes, I still get weepy when I
put together layettes with all the cute little baby clothes, because
I wish they could be for a baby of my own, but I'm so glad to be
doing something for any baby, especially a baby that might not have
I don't see our culture valuing
motherhood very much anymore. I don't see it much looking at the
lives of celebrities or in movies or television shows. My own mother
didn't value it much. My inborn desire to be a mother was stifled
quite a lot. Yet, I will be forty-four in about five months, and the
one thing I wish I'd been able to do was to marry and create a stable
home for a child.
Most people know that the Catholic
Church makes saving the lives of the unborn a very high priority.
It's easy to see from whence that sentiment stems. How can anyone
look at paintings or sculptures of Mary with baby Jesus and not
contemplate her safe, sacred womb and the violence of invading that
sanctuary with a blade?
When I hear woman say it's not a
decision to be taken lightly, I wonder, why? If there's any chance in
their mind it might be murder, where is the decision in that? I know,
I know, there are atheists in this country who don't believe in a
soul. Why should they care about when or if a baby is aborted? I also
know I've said every word I just said to women who have said, “So
what. It's my body!”
I used to ask women why it is that when
you are two months pregnant and you want to be, you say, “My baby
is growing,” but if you are two months pregnant and don't want to
be, you say “The fetus needs to come out,” just as if it were an
appendix. Women used to look at me, stumped. But recently, I read an
article by a woman bragging about this very thing, about how free she
was that she could call the contents of her uterus anything she
wants, baby, fetus, whatever. I shook my head. No hope, I thought. No
one will ever listen.
The war over abortion is ugly. I have
become the enemy in many people's minds. I have crossed demarcation
lines and have become a traitor. Some will not even post on my
Facebook page or read my posts. Perhaps I think they're evil villains
for what they've done in the past. Of course I don't. Abortion is
murder, but none of the women I've know who had abortions
consciously intended to commit murder. Most of them were badly
deceived. Abby Johnson, an ex-Planned Parenthood director who is now
pro-life, says that overwhelmingly, the most common question women
ask on their way to the surgery room, while they are groggy from
medications, is, “Will my baby feel pain?”
Deep down, perhaps they know the truth.
Deeper down, perhaps it's way to painful to face.