This is a deeply personal post. It's not my natural inclination to share my feelings in such a public way, but I am feeling deeply grieved by the stories being circulated on Facebook and other social media, to the point of sleeplessness, and I feel a need to share my perspective on embryos, babies, tiny humans.
You know the women that always have a pregnancy test stashed away in case they have a late period? The ones that gleefully announce every pregnancy via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? Or maybe they arrange elaborate baby reveal parties to let everyone know about the new addition to their family.
I never was one of those women. In fact, I've only ever taken three pregnancy tests. They were ALL positive. I waited until the last minute with all of them, until there was no other option other than positive. I cried every time.
All of my baby "announcements" were rather sheepish, weighed down by the fact that once again I had failed at "fertility awareness". With the first two babies, I didn't even tell most of my friends until it was obvious that I was "either getting fat or pregnant", as a friend put it. That was around 16 weeks, almost 4 months in.
In fact, despite my current occupation as someone who supports women in giving birth to their babies, I never really planned on having children. I'm not sure why exactly; my parents were and are loving, supportive, and generally a great example in raising responsible children.
The night that I found out I was pregnant with our third child, I had an appointment scheduled. My mind was heavy with concerns over how we would afford another child, how we would find space, and how upset my husband was. (He thought that maybe I had arranged things to get pregnant, but really I didn't know then, and still have no idea, how we got pregnant with our first OR third baby. We were being careful, I thought.) On the way back, one of our Kingdom songs came on. As I listened to the words of the Psalmist and beautiful melody, I sobbed. It was as if the song was written just for me.
"You saw when I was made in secret,
My very bones not hidden from your sight,
You saw my form, it's parts were down in writing,
I praise the wonders of your ways,
Extol your might."
My baby, that embryo, as Psalm 139 puts it, was "screened off in the womb of (the) mother", and all of my baby's parts were already known, or "in writing". How could I be sad over the wonder that is human life? A life that, although tiny, is valued by the Creator. Loved. Appreciated for what it will become. As inconvenient as it was for us to have another baby at that time, the decision as to whether to have a baby was no longer ours.
The decision was made.
A life was created.
A life already known and seen and valued by the Creator of life.
I prayed to be thankful, and for a healthy baby, and for the means to care for this precious life, along with our two other children. And our prayers were answered. And today we have these three beautiful children.
The decision as to whether or not to become a mother was not mine to make once there was life growing inside of me. Still, we can accept that responsibility with grace or reluctance.
My children have changed my personality. They continue to shape who I am, and how I deal with challenges. They have helped me to become less selfish, more patient, more loving, and to have even greater trust in the Creator. People ask us if we will have any more children. I say that we're not planning on it, but, in the end, we aren't always able to plan our lives perfectly. Who really knows what the future will hold? Only the Creator.
I am deeply saddened when I contemplate all of the lives so callously thrown out, as if they were refuse. This is a disgrace to the human race. It is disrespectful to the Creator of life, and it denies so many beautiful babies the opportunity to live, and of mothers the chance to grow as individuals. How can so many humans regard other humans as unworthy of life just because they are tiny and helpless? I cannot fathom it.
But maybe, now that I have written this down, I can sleep tonight.
I look at birth from the perspective that our bodies are wonderfully made, and if we really believe that and work with the birth process and nourish our bodies properly, they will function optimally, most of the time!