Monday, May 9, 2011
Would I really be pro-life if...
A relative of mine recently got married and found out they were pregnant. As a couple, they are not very well-off financially or in a place the secular culture might deem as being "ready" to start a family. Not being particularly religious, they were receiving pressure to abort the pregnancy and were seriously considering it as an option.
When I heard about the situation, it hit rather close to home. It made me realize that in my social circle, there isn't a lot of practical room for a situation like aborting an "unplanned pregnancy" to play out or at least where the couple would share about it as if it were a completely normal and valid option.
All of the catechesis that I've received or that I've taught or that my fellow young adult volunteers at my church teach is mostly theoretical. We are quite well-versed in the rhetoric, but through this situation, I've realized that very few of us have a deeply personal connection or at the very least, share openly about a deeply personal connection to these life issues in our lives (ABC's tend not to be very vulnerable, but that's a different post entirely).
Being in the middle of our own pregnancy, I've had to face these issues more than I've ever had in the past on a personal level. It has been a great experience being a part of the West Coast Walk For Life and also praying outside of an abortion clinic, but when our doctor is telling my wife and I about the need for genetic testing so in the case of catastrophic genetic deformity, we would be able to consider our "options," it hits me in a much deeper way.
Thankfully, my conscience has been well-formed enough so that we will receive whoever God gives us, no matter what. But it was an interesting thought experiment for me to think about what it might feel like to consider abortion in the event of a major disability.
I found that my immediate, albeit hypothetical, reaction was that all of the dreams of having a normal child, like running around in a lush field of green grass, having rowdy family dinners, cheering at their sporting events, etc., were the first thing to be offended and since that's what I really wanted - those experiences - the child, not being able to provide that, so I would think, didn't fit.
The second reaction was thinking about all of the work and sacrifice that I hadn't signed up for. There were expectations of a normal first few years of sleepless nights and diaper changes, but eventually the child would gain more and more independence and ultimately, we would have an empty-nest. I didn't sign up to have to care for this child the rest of my life, never regaining the independence that I was supposing to only be temporarily giving up (see #2).
I found both reactions to be selfish.
On the flip side of the earlier situation, I lay awake that night asking myself, "If [the couple] were going to go through with the abortion, do I value life so much that I would volunteer to adopt their child? I mean, I talk the pro-life talk, but do I believe it so much that I would sacrifice my life in this way so that a priceless life that I always teach/preach about would be saved? Of course I would have to talk it over with [my wife]...I wonder what she would think. It would be almost like having twins. That would be CRRRAZY. Jon and Kate Plus Eight here we come? And it's interesting that the only way I'm having this conversation with myself (Thought Inception!) is because I'm married. This definitely wouldn't work if I was still single. Funny how marriage changes things..." I think I fell asleep after that.
Thankfully, the couple has decided to keep their child! That has now led me down the line of thinking how we can help support them and future play dates.