Wednesday, January 30, 2013

We've Heard It All Before But Here's My Two Cents' Worth Anyway

          "...I'm pro-God and pro-free will, his greatest gift to mankind, after Christ. So while [abortion] is not something I would choose, its not my place to judge those that do or to force my beliefs down their throats." (--Facebook user's comment in response to Abby Johnson's recent Facebook status)

          This is a popular "pro-choice" argument I hear all the time. It seems that regardless of what logical arguments people might make against abortion, this one always circles back around. It's the argument that's supposed to trump all arguments. It says, "My position is the correct one because I can believe that something which is wrong for me is okay for others who don't share my beliefs." It's the politically correct argument that makes others seem wrong for debating it.
          In all honesty, though, it's the cop-out argument. It's what you say when you're out of arguments, like agreeing to disagree. And more than being just an abandonment of the issue, this argument is substantially wrong. It says, "I firmly believe this thing is wrong---for me. It's not wrong for people who don't share my beliefs because morality is relative."
          If you're like me and you dislike/areterribleat debating, this argument is especially dangerous because you're all too ready to give in and agree when they pull this one out. After all, it's a free country. Why can't we believe that others should have the option to do something even if we consider it to be wrong? It's not up to us. Stop shoving your beliefs down their throats. Their bodies, their choices. Get out of their vaginae. Etc.
          But the bottom line is, we can't believe that abortion should be an option because the issue of abortion isn't about choice. Choice is picking a sweater, or deciding where to eat lunch, or who your dentist will be. Choice is deciding to have sex. The issue of whether or not the resulting baby will live to be born should not be a matter of choice, and not because we hate women and don't want them to have choices. It's much simpler than that. We're not fighting women when we don't stand up for women's rights to choose abortion. We're fighting the fact that abortion is a choice because we oppose abortion--not women. Not choice.
          Obviously we oppose abortion because we're religious nuts, right? The Church says it's wrong, so we grab our torches and pitchforks and head for the clinic as a big, angry mob. Well, no. The misconception here is that we oppose abortion simply because the Church tells us to, and the Church opposes abortion because it offends the Church. This is incorrect. The Catholic Church opposes abortion because abortion violates natural law, which is universal, in that abortion is the deliberate killing of a human and therefore should be illegal in all cases.
          (This is a scientific analysis of abortion; not my own personal opinion. One can't effectively argue using science that a baby in the womb is any less a baby than a baby outside the womb. It is merely smaller, not less. In recent years it seems like people have stopped trying to argue this position anyway. Now, I could go on and on about the science of the matter, but to stick the the topic at hand, I will not.)
          So, whether or not you are "pro-God" and "pro-free will" (whatever that  means), this law applies to you. Since the natural law is something deeply rooted in the psyche of humankind, it is universal, and since it is universal, it applies to everyone without exception. Therefore, to say that something which you deem immoral may not be immoral for someone else, is inherently wrong. It either is wrong or it isn't. Truth is truth and it applies to everyone or no one. To say we are forcing our beliefs down the throats of the pro-aborts is a diversion from the issue, and to say you are righteous because you look the other way when people make wrong choices under the guise that you are pro-"choice" is incorrect, pointless, and even destructive.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Moms, Indeed

Been away a while! I just wanted to say this:,27415/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=standard-post:headline:default

This is chuckle worthy. A "smug new mom" starting a blog to keep the whole wondering world updated on her parenting and her baby's development? Sounds about right.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Musing On Motherhood

          I mention casually my "next baby/babies" and suddenly am struck with the surrealism of the idea. I currently have a child, less than eight months old. He is still very much a baby, still physically and mentally attached to me, still literally drawing his life from me. This baby and I are one person. The idea of my body growing, nurturing, delivering, feeding, holding, and mothering another, separate child, seems almost unreal at this stage of motherhood. That I could ever feel for other children the way I feel about this one, tiny person. That there could possibly be enough of me, ever again, for even one more.
          The idea is just such a fantastic one.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


          I came across this blog post some way that I don't remember,

          which describes, with the use of amusing gifs, what a young Catholic person experiences during a youth conference that includes Mass and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
          Based on my own experience at the exact same type of youth conference described, I can say it's spot on. Mass and Adoration were held in the gym--a huge room filled with emotionally charged teenagers and resounding with praise and worship music, and the combination resulted in behavior I considered melodramatic, at best. People were crying, embracing one another, falling to their knees. As Adoration progressed and Christ in the Monstrance was processed through the aisles, these more innocent displays of excitement turned into hysterical laughing, hysterical crying, people fainting and collapsing, people speaking in tongues (which greatly surprised me), and other emotional upheavals.
          I looked around me in amazement at the huge number (it was more than half of the congregation) of fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds who apparently had been so struck by the Spirit that they behaved as if possessed. I thought, "Is the Holy Spirit truly flowing through every one of these kids, and if so, is something wrong with me that I feel nothing?"
          I continued to think about this for a while. It didn't bother me that I was seemingly unmoved in a room full of young people slain in the Spirit--on the contrary, I decided I preferred being among the few sane and stable people there. No, what occupied me was the statistical unlikelihood of such a thing happening to a room full of young people. I couldn't shake the theory that most of them had simply faked it, and to this day I still believe that to an extent. Am I cruel to think that? I had a nagging impression that these people were so driven by their own emotional instabilities and desire to feel something for their own satisfaction, combined with the swelling music and the influence of their peers, that they--for lack of a better word--aped these dramatic spiritual reactions. Or at least exaggerated them.
          Another theory I heard later is that these teens may have been so willing to remove barriers in order for the Holy Spirit to enter that they had opened themselves too much, had become too vulnerable, and thus were possessed quite easily by the lurking evil spirits. They were easy prey because of their emotional immaturity and willingness to relinquish control of their faculties in order to achieve a spiritual experience. However, this seems a bit excessive. While it's hard to believe that, for the first time since the Apostles, that many people in one room were truly given the gift of speaking in tongues, it's also unlikely that all of them were possessed by demons together at the same time.
          I finally (years later, after pretty much having forgotten about it) came across something that helped me make more sense of it. I was on an online forum with a pronounced atheist who mentioned practicing glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, outside of religious or spiritual gatherings. I read into this a little bit and found some words about it in the online Catholic Encyclopedia.
Corinthian Abuses (I Corinthians 14 passim).—Medieval and modern writers wrongly take it for granted that the charism existed permanently atCorinth — as it did nowhere else—and that St. Paul, in commending the gift to the Corinthians, therewith gave his guaranty that the characteristics of Corinthian glossolaly were those of the gift itself. Traditional writers in overlooking this point place St. Luke at variance with St. Paul, and attribute to the charism properties so contrary as to make it inexplicable and prohibitively mysterious. There is enough in St. Paul to show us that the Corinthian peculiarities were ignoble accretions and abuses. They made of "tongues" a source of schism in the Church and ofscandal without (14:23). The charism had deteriorated into a mixture of meaningless inarticulate gabble (9, 10) with an element of uncertain sounds (7, 8), which sometimes might be construed as little short of blasphemous (12:3). The Divine praises were recognized now and then, but the general effect was one of confusion and disedification for the very unbelievers for whom the normal gift was intended (14:22, 23, 26). TheCorinthians, misled not by insincerity but by simplicity and ignorance (20), were actuated by an undisciplined religious spirit (pneuma), or rather by frenzied emotions and not by the understanding (nous) of the Spirit of God (15). What today purports to be the "gift of tongues" at certainProtestant revivals is a fair reproduction of Corinthian glossolaly, and shows the need there was in the primitive Church of the Apostle's counsel to do all things "decently, and according to order" (40).

          This corresponds with my assumption that this behavior was not the norm. Perhaps the reactions these young people experienced weren't completely artificial, but they were almost definitely the results of their own inner emotional workings and not legitimate seizure by the Holy Ghost.
          It is important for all Christians to remember, especially the young and impressionable ones, that everything we think, feel, and do, should be for God's glory, not our own.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Oh, Children.

          Today I was going through very old text messages in my cell phone because several months ago I stopped succumbing to my obsessive compulsive nature to delete everything after about a month, and have just been letting them accumulate. They go back quite a ways, especially the messages between me and Tom, naturally. I reminisced a little, reading through them.
          Anyway, this isn't about the number of old text messages on my cell phone. This is about a story I texted to Tom back in February that I thought was funny, so I thought I'd tell you all about it, too.
          In February of this year I was working at Nine West still. One day a nice little family came in--dad, mom, and five-year-old girl. The mom began shopping while the dad entertained the daughter so she didn't wreak havoc or find the basket with the little nylons and try to put them over her head and face, which many five-year-olds did. Well, the little girl decided she wanted to shop for shoes as well, so dad humored her and followed her around while she looked for something she fancied. Before long she became a little frustrated that nothing was her size and grumbled about the terrible selection. Her dad, his attention mostly elsewhere, kept saying "Mm-hmm," but paid little attention to her complaints. She was able after several minutes to get his attention.
          "Help me find a pair of beautiful kid's shoes!" she ordered sternly.
          "I don't think they have kids' shoes here, sweetie," he said, somewhat meekly. The girl rolled her eyes in exasperation and shouted at him,
          "Look everywhere you ding-dong!"

          It surprised and amused me. That's all.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I'm Glad My Mother Is Pro-life.

          The above link leads to a message board thread where mothers (yes, mothers) discussed personhood amendments, mostly with disgust. Apparently it's ridiculous to even imagine that a human embryo is a real person. The responses surprised me because I've actually never encountered people who can declare that so easily, but I suppose I was just naive. 
          I love how one woman described the large number of supporters of the amendments as "scary." Yes, we are the big, scary, oppressive pro-lifers who hate you and care only about your fetus, and naturally we want your life to be a living hell. You nailed it.
          Some of my favorite comments from readers:
          "...granting personhood to a fetus is loony."
          "This legislature is full blown BSC and I honestly would SERIOUSLY consider moving out of this country if it is ever enacted."
          "...personhood amendments are ridiculous."
          "I think they are ridiculous even if it was just abortion, but given the rest of the factors I don't see how anyone could stand for personhood amendments."           
          What you can't see and hear doesn't exist, right? 
          If the baby weren't hidden away inside the woman for nine months, but with the woman's own eyes she could watch it grow and develop, and then with her own eyes watch it be executed during an abortion, she would never say such things. 
          Pray for these women, and for all people who consider a child in the womb anything less than a living, dignified human being.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Apollo Michael's Birth Story

I thought I'd share Apollo's birth story. And, in keeping with my tardy nature, it being now six months since it happened, this seems like the time to do it.
I was 35 weeks pregnant when Apollo decided he wanted out, quite unexpectedly. I remember partially waking up around 4:15AM on March 13 to a light discharge of fluid, but I assumed it was mucous, shrugged it off and went back to sleep. Around 6:30AM I woke up fully and got up. I was still feeling slight trickles of fluid, only now I was beginning to have mild contractions. That got my attention. I told Tom (who was home from work that day, thank goodness) and sent a message to my boss giving her the heads up that something was going on and I might need to call off work. At this point I seriously doubted it was real labor and figured I might be put on bedrest, at most. But then I went to use the bathroom where there was a sudden gush of clear fluid and a little bit of blood. I thought "Okay, maybe this is really happening..."  
I had a prenatal appointment scheduled for that morning, so we decided to just go in and see what my doctor said, as opposed to rushing to the hospital. I was glad for the excuse not to go right away, because if this was true labor I wanted to spend as much of it as possible at home. The contractions were very mild but steadily progressing, and I began timing them on the way to the appointment (they were between 4-6 minutes apart). We arrived and I explained the events of the morning. Dr. B. took a swab of the fluid I described and sent it to the lab and as we'd suspected, it was amniotic fluid. He also checked my cervix and I was mostly effaced, but only dilated 1 cm. I wanted to stall and labor somewhere other than the hospital, but since my water had broken he sent us right away. I was extremely nervous the whole way. 
We arrived at the hospital and sauntered inside and up to Labor & Delivery. Now, this being my first pregnancy, I was not particularly big, and I was wearing a loose-fitting shirt that hid the bulk of my belly The woman at reception was a bit confused when I told her I was checking in. "Oh. Are you visiting someone?" I replied "Nope. I'm in labor." And she jumped up in a panic and ran around trying to find her little ID card that would open the doors for us. I assured her she could take her time, the baby wouldn't be out for a while.
We got all checked and settled in to our big, open room around 1:00, and the monitors were strapped into place. I was put on Pitocin (ugh) and a cautionary antibiotic, since I never got a chance to do the Group B Strep test at the clinic. I didn't have much freedom once everything was hooked up, which is not how I had hoped my labor would go, but since I also hadn't expected preterm labor I didn't argue. I could still move around on the bed, and stand up and walk a few feet if I wanted to. I had prepared myself for a totally unmedicated, natural birth, and despite the few setbacks, I was still determined to have this baby as close to naturally as possible. So I declined an epidural.
For the first hour or two everything progressed slowly. Tom and I decided we wouldn't tell anyone yet that the baby was coming, so as not to cause undue hysteria. We just sat and chatted, laughed at how unprepared we were, he went to the store for some snacks and drinks, etc. Then around 2:00 that Pitocin really started kicking in and the contractions became much stronger, though I could still easily talk through them. The nurse on duty, Renee, came in at one point to turn the drip up to 2, but that caused a four-minute contraction that seemed to upset the baby so she turned it back down to 1 and left it alone for a while. They began turning it up a few hours later, but I didn't seem to need too much of it. The contractions had been progressing steadily from the beginning. Dr. A. checked my cervix a little while later, and I was dilated 6 cm.
After that, time just blurred and seemed to fly by (at least to me. Tom had nothing to do but sit there and watch me in labor, so the time probably dragged for him). By about 4:00 the contractions were intense enough that it took a lot of focus to relax through them. Tom held my hand and encouraged me. At first I think I was managing the pain pretty well. Tom and I hadn't been to our childbirth class yet (it was scheduled for that weekend!) so all I had under my belt were the relaxation techniques I had practiced from the Bradley book my mother-in-law gave me. But after a few hours of success I guess I started giving way to the pain a little bit. I still controlled my breathing but it was getting harder and harder to relax my body. I would tense up and writhe around with each strong contraction. Finally Tom and the nurse (by this time it was a new nurse, Morgan) pointed this out to me and I started trying again to let myself relinquish control and relax so the contractions could do their job. Shortly after that the doctor checked me again and I was at 7 cm. I was very discouraged--only 1 cm more than the 6 that felt like days ago.  
After that the pain kept increasing and all I could focus on anymore was getting through each contraction. People were coming in and out of the room but I barely noticed. I remember one of the nurses named Michelle showed me a LaMaze breathing technique, which was very helpful in maintaining control. She also brought me some mouth moisturizer since the breathing made my lips so dry. I also remember the doctor asking if I wanted to be checked again, and I said no because I was terrified of learning again that I had barely progressed. But eventually I could hardly speak even to Tom, though it was hugely comforting just being able to grasp his hand. I knew because the pain was so intense that this had to be the worst of it, and it would be over soon, but that didn't stop me from fantasizing about pain medication a few times. Thankfully I knew, even in the thick of it, that I would regret an epidural more than the pain, so it didn't go further than a fantasy.
I was sweaty and very exhausted. I kept dozing off between contractions, though the breaks were becoming shorter and shorter. I was still able to relax through them, but it took great focus to breathe, and even then my breathing would turn into moaning. My face was starting to feel very hot with every contraction and I had Tom soak a washcloth in cold water so I could hold it against my cheek. I was convinced that pushing was still far away and these agonizing contractions would last several more hours. It must have been around 10:00PM that Morgan and Dr. A. told me to let them know if I started feeling the urge to push. I almost didn't take them seriously. But then, not long after that, finally, finally, I felt downward pressure after a contraction. It wasn't enough to push, but it was the beginning of the end. (I have a very vague memory of telling Morgan about the pressure, and Dr. A. checking me again and saying I was at 9 cm, but that period is so fuzzy that maybe I am imagining it.) The pressure lasted through a few more contractions, and they were the most painful yet, but I was excited at the thought of pushing. Suddenly, just as one of those contractions was ending, I felt an intense urge to bear down and push. I told Tom, Tom called Morgan, and she came in to check my cervix. I was contracting as she slipped her fingers in and boy, did that hurt. I stifled a groan. She felt the opening, looked up at me and said, calmly but eagerly, "Okay, Jean, I need you to take two deep breaths. Good. Now take a third breath, hold it, and while you're holding it, push!"
I was all too happy to push. I pushed hard. I let myself cry out as I pushed. It was wonderful to release that tension. I felt a strange bursting sensation inside me and I knew the baby's head had pushed through the cervix. Morgan stood up and walked out briskly, saying into her phone as she exited, "We're ready to deliver in room 6." It was almost 11:00PM.
Now the room was swarming with people and I was suddenly alert and excited. At that moment I felt no pain. I wasn't comfortable--there was a baby sitting inside me somewhere between my uterus and the exit--but the truly painful part was over. Everything was excitement; nurses were prepping the table and equipment nearby for the baby, Morgan was breaking down the bed and getting my feet in the stirrups, and Dr. A. was gowning up to catch the baby. I felt high and giddy, and the next ten minutes was one long adrenaline rush. The pushing took barely any time at all. Morgan and Tom helped me hold my legs up and lean forward as I pushed. During one push my leg slipped and I kicked the doctor in the face. I didn't even realize it happened, but apparently my toenail stabbed her chin so she had to get up and sanitize the wound. I felt bad and apologized as best I could in my state and everyone just laughed. 
The baby seemed to be making considerable progress with each push. I'd been pushing for maybe five minutes when Dr. A. said "I see the head." And about a minute later I felt a moment of searing pain and she told me I was crowing. I pushed once as hard as I could, desperate to get him out, and felt his head emerge. The rest was easy. One more push and his body slid out. He cried immediately and they placed him, all wriggly and covered in vernix, on my chest. It was 11:09PM. He was 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
I was very glad during the moments right after that I hadn't gotten an epidural. I could feel my legs, I could sit up on my own, I could walk to the bathroom. About fifteen minutes after Apollo came out, once he'd been taken to be weighed and measured and whatnot, and Morgan was finished cleaning me up and pressing on my belly and all that fun stuff, I began calling my family to tell them the news. It had been a very unexpected sort of day, and I was glad it was over, glad that huge, looming task of labor was out of the way, glad our baby boy had arrived and was healthy and perfect.