Friday, April 12, 2013

My Children

Last night, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, and I came across an article a friend had posted. I don't know if it was because the doctor's name is Kermit or my friend shared such outrage and disgust at this man's actions, but my curiosity was piqued and I clicked on the link.

I read about a man, a doctor, who has performed countless illegal abortions in his clinic. I read about a man who showed such little regard to women and the human race in general that his clinic, upon being searched, was found to be stocked with rusty and unsanitary medical tools and the remains of aborted fetuses stashed in gallon jugs and empty juice containers. I read about a man who, when desperate women and girls came to him late in their pregnancies, would induce their labors and deliver live, viable babies, only to kill them violently shortly after birth. I read about a doctor who is to blame for the deaths of several women due to abortions gone wrong.

I could not finish the article.
I cried.
I was angry.
I felt guilty.

I was reminded almost immediately of a conversation I had with my husband about 5 years ago: a conversation about abortion. I told him, in my most worldly Christian way, how I knew abortion would never be an option for me, but I felt like it was wrong for me to say that abortion was wrong for any other woman. I spewed anecdotal stories of women who became pregnant in such traumatic and horrific ways, women who carried children with fatal disabilities and malformations, women who had experienced things in their lives that I have been blessed to never have experienced in my own, that who was I to say they should carry their babies to term? Basically, I advocated abortion by choosing to stay silent.

That made me no different than all the state health departments, clinic staff, nearby hospital workers, and various other agencies who knew what Dr. Kermit Gosnell was doing and yet chose to look the other way.

This is not intended to be a political blog. I have no desire and will not engage in any sort of debate with any person, pro-life or pro-choice, about a woman's right to choice or a fetus's right to life. After many years of prayer and study, of confession and questioning and the experience of carrying my own child through nine months of pregnancy, delivering him, and raising him for the past 2 years, I have come to a conviction of what is right. I am firm in my belief. But it took God speaking directly to my heart and through my circumstances to convince me, no blog post could have done it for me, just like me sharing my opinion here will never convince any pro-lifer to embrace choice or any pro-choicer to embrace life.

What I do want to speak on is the overwhelming joy that my children are. I have two children: one is 2 years old, and one is still in the womb, furiously squirming and kicking my hip bone as I type. They both have brought more light and joy to my life than anything else I have ever encountered. Is it because they are both healthy and were both planned and hoped for? That might play a part, But I can't say because I don't know what it's like to be on the other side of that spectrum.

But I do know what it's like to hold your brand new, pink, newborn baby in your arms. What it's like to not be able to sleep no matter how exhausted you are, just because you can't keep your eyes and hands off your sleeping baby. What it's like to feel the pain of being separated from him, if even for a few hours, and the feeling of being whole again when you are reunited. I know the pride that swells in your heart when you witness him roll over, sit, crawl, stand, and walk for the first time. I know what it's like to be a mother.

And tonight, after we had said our prayers as a family and hugged and kissed each other goodnight and tucked our boy safely in his bed, I went to my own bed and stared at the ceiling. I thought, and I tried to pray, but I didn't really know what to say to God. So I just laid there with my hand on my belly, thinking love thoughts to the baby inside.

And when I heard my son struggling to fall asleep in his room, I didn't hesitate to go in and scoop him up and sneak him into the Big Bed while Daddy watched a baseball game in another room. We laid in bed, the three of us: me pretending to be asleep, the baby kicking at his brother through my belly, and Cohen, wide awake but very still and very quiet, enjoying the snuggles he was getting.

Then he reached his hand out and began rubbing my cheek. Then he ran his fingers through my hair. Then he whispered very softly, "You are my friend, Mommy. You are my best friend, and I love you so, so much."

And I pretended to be asleep while silent tears rolled off my cheeks and I cried out to God,"I'm sorry that people like Kermit Gosnell choose evil over good. I'm sorry we don't value children the way You do. I'm sorry that we are silent about things that are important and fight violently over things that matter very little. I'm sorry those women felt that abortion was their only or best choice. I'm sorry they will never get to hold their children and tell them they love them and get to hear those sweet words repeated back to them. I'm so sorry for all this brokenness, Lord! We are so broken!"

I am so thankful for my children. They are my life's greatest accomplishment and no other good thing could ever come close to comparing to them. I have and will continue to pour myself into them each day, asking for nothing from them and yet gaining everything just from their love. They are my legacy-- the only thing I will leave behind in this world. They are a gift, the best gift I've ever received. They are my life's prize. Thank you, Lord, for my children. May I honor and cherish them for the rest of my life.

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