I know when I became a Catholic, I pictured abortion mostly happening outside of marriage. Because I was someone engaged in pre-martial sex and using birth control--that's what I easily pictured other people doing. Once I came to know Truth, it seemed so easy to pray for others. Sex truly sucks outside of marriage. It's easy for me to have my spiritual and psychological arguments for chastity all lined up in a row.
This new poke about abortion being okay INSIDE a stable, long-term marriage. This is what hits me now when I'm with strangers in the grocery store, or at Swim Team Meets, or even some unspoken hostility with Senior Citizens at my Catholic Daughter Socials. I walk around with Baby Abigail strapped to me in her Bijorn and suddenly I'm privy to all sorts of personal disclosures about why women choose not to have another child.
For some reason, a mother's decision to abort her baby after a she already has two or three children always hits me deeper in my gut.
It is not easy to have kids. I have five. I fail down every day, multiple times a day.
I have friends on my constant prayer list who have children with Autism. I have friends with Down Syndrome kids. Some Catholic woman on my Facebook page have kids that are super, super disabled babies in the womb and will likely die moments after birth.
These crosses aren't just something that happen "out there" to other people. I know I personally face these risks, and even serious complications to my own health, with each and every pregnancy.
And yet to truly choose to murder your baby--not just this vague we're taking birth control to avoid having a baby--but to say to your OB, I'm going to have an abortion.
That's got to hurt worse.
Because you already have your kids.
You already have your man.
This isn't some stranger you have to worry about adopting from the Ukraine (when you have to discern carefully is this God's will, or my will)
God handed you a baby.
Made out of the same DNA combo that resulted in your older, fabulous children.
Where did we get this idea that marriage was so fragile and our teenage children were so needy that adding one more baby to the mix would make it all fall apart?
But then, I'm living the reality of it all falling apart. Newborn babies are hard. Colic babies are even harder. My husband and my kids have had tangibly "less Mom" for the past year as I nourished this new Baby Abigail inside my womb and at my breast. I've become a quote "worse" person. I've picked more stupid fights with my husband. I've dropped the home-school ball. I've let my kids watch too much TV and skip out of their chores because I didn't want to do battle after I finally got a sobbing newborn to sleep.
In the end, isn't my baby's life worth it?
My Abigail Clare is six months old. She's already changed the world. Her older sibling (by only 18 months) Tess had a horrible start with a month long stint in the NICU. Tess was so grumpy and bitter with strangers. If I ever thought someone needed years of intense attachment parenting to make up for a hard start in life--it would be my Tess. She's gotten so much less of a pampered babyhood--but one beautiful younger sister. My Tess is a different girl. She's affectionate. She's loving. She's happier. Because she's got this tiny sister right behind her.
God broke every "parenting rule" by giving us two special needs kids next door to each other--and to a mother who is NOT the most emotionally stable girl on the block--yet it somehow His plan always works out better.
Isn't our God trustworthy and faithful in the extreme?
I feel this responsibility on my head as I go through the Wal-mart check out line. In the end, it's not about writing sweet comments in the NY Times comment box. It's about digging deep and finding joy in my vocation. There will be time to witness to other older women in menopause, if I get there. For now, my job is to be a loving "echo" of our Lord Jesus Christ at age 37 with my imperfect, stupid, and silly heart.
Mother Mary, pray for us. Give all American women the trust you had at the moment of the Annunciation.