Why do feminists see abortion as a right and not as just one more way we are robbed of what rightfully belongs to us?
I’ll probably hear some noise about that, but it’s what’s rolling around in my head today. It’s no secret to those who know me that I harbor some deep feelings regarding abortion. But maybe the people who know me don’t realize it has little to do with my faith-based upbringing and so much more to do with my feelings of inadequacy. I really struggle with feeling like I am “never enough”
Until I had a heart to life encounter with the God I serve, I had always assumed He loved me because He HAD to, He is a father, and like my own parents, He had little choice in the matter. He was in essence FORCED to love me because that’s what parents do. And I got it. I mean, who would willingly, knowingly CHOOSE to love me? I am awkward, clumsy, broken, flawed, noisy, thoughtless, simple. I haven’t got the brains God gave bugs bunny. I was a target in school for bullies,
But God met me where I was and convinced me of His CHOICE. To love me no matter. To love me anyway.. and in crazy awesome sauce fact.. BECAUSE of my faults. In my weakness, HE shines.
And so I came to see that I was of value. Absolute intrinsic value, not because of anything I had in me, but just because I am.
I was expecting my fifth son when my world, already shaky and crumbling seemed to slip out from under me and come crashing around my ears. My husband had been unfaithful for years, and I KNEW he didn’t love me, no really. I think he wanted to. I mean I think that was his original intention, but it wasn’t something he could actually pull off. I’d given him four other beautiful healthy babies who were perfect and should have done something to endear him to me.. but the endless months of pregnancy, the swollen legs, pulled skin, sleepless nights, hours and hours of pain filled natural labour, morning sickness, tandem breast-feeding, potty training… the whole kit and caboodle did little if anything to draw his affection or admiration. I wasn’t enough. Now 28 and pregnant with beautiful baby number five my heart began to quake, quite literally. An abnormal heartbeat began, chest pain and shortness of breath followed and suddenly I found myself in the cardiac wing of our local hospital, 12 weeks along and listening to our chief of medicine say “perinatal cardiomyopathy” and the quick and succinct explanation of what that was. He declared my pregnancy “not viable” and ordered meds and tests that were not “compatible with fetal development” and I almost went along.
here’s what went on in my head.
1. My husband NEVER wanted any of the babies. I mean he was all ok with the making of them, but his reaction to their coming was always negative, always put blame on me, as if I had done something wrong on my own to create this child and his disinterest and distance with me during their pregnancies was a strong message about how he felt about them and me. Also, it was typically during a pregnancy that he chose to cheat. I never had a pregnancy wherein he remained faithful.
2. This was my life. My heart was failing and I was NOT enjoying it. It was painful and I was afraid.
3. I had four other babies at home. They needed me. God knows they needed me.
I was lying in my hospital bed, the monitor leads coming from everywhere out of my hospital gown. It was late, I was alone, and I was crying.
I’m not sure why, but a conversation I’d had with a woman from my father’s church came back to my mind just then. She eventually had seven children herself and I won’t go into the details of her life, it is enough to say that she is everything I hope to one day be and her children are a screaming pointing finger to excellence in parenting and faithfulness and complete and utter awesome sauce and she didn’t even get to live to see the half of it. She was a lifeline in those early years. I owe her much… but JUDAH owes her more.
She and I had an encounter in a book store. I was six weeks along at the time. the news was fairly fresh in me. I’d had pneumonia the weeks before (the cause of the eventual cardiac trouble ) and was in that book store weary weak and down. We ran into each other by chance and I shared my ‘joyful’ news and she understood my tears. And then she began to preach. (in season and out right Marguerite?) She spoke of Leah in the Bible, of how she was not chosen. Of how her husband wanted another. How she kept giving him these beautiful babies and he never gave her what belonged to her. Respect! Love! Honour! And then finally she carried her fifth child, and when he entered the world she didn’t name that baby for his earthly father or his family, but instead she lifted her head toward heaven, looked her creator in the face and declared “THIS TIME I WILL PRAISE THE LORD” and named her baby Judah. (which means ‘praise the Lord’) What that friend of mine shared after that, about her own life, her own daughter ‘Judith’ and how she had turned her heart toward the ONE who loved her completely ; suddenly came back to me there in that bed, and I began to ask “whose child is this?”
Was this baby just a product of biology? was this some cosmic mistake? an accident of chemistry? medical issue? or was I gifted with something of the divine? What if I was a part of a creative process that was bigger than me? What if I wasn’t the one doing the choosing? What if this baby meant something to someone other than me?
It took the night. I wrestled, I gave up, I gave in… I lost me and gained everything.
When our chief of medicine came in the next morning with his staff, I calmly announced that I would not be going along with the plan, that I needed a doctor that could not only work around my pregnancy but work for it and then asked for support to make the choice FOR my child should my life no longer be ‘viable’ .
Seven months later on my bed, Judah Timothy slipped into the world. And I have ever believed that he is my emancipation, my victory, my freedom, my praise,my promise. He was MINE! a gift from God and no mans. Not put here for the glory of some man, and not the design of any man. I deserved that sweet little boy, he and I were made for each other. And I defy anyone to ever suggest in the future that it is anyone’s ‘right’ to rob me of what is mine.
My divine animal right to procreate, my right to bear children, to continue, for entire generations to come through me and live on because I was available to creativity. It is my right as a woman. I fought for that right. I sacrificed for that right, it cost me. Dearly.
So when Thaniel’s pregnancy presented itself I didn’t have to wrestle. I didn’t have to ‘choose’. I already knew his intrinsic worth. His peer status with me. He and I are loved the same. We are created the same, we have the same rights and freedoms, the same available destinies, we have the same creator who loves us BECAUSE of our flaws and imperfections and glories in all our humanity. And Thaniel was my ‘right’. I CHOOSE him! He’s right. All right.
God help the man who tries to take that right from me.