Remaining open to life

Given that I am experiencing such a rough time during this pregnancy, it has given me cause to reflect on the meaning of openness to life, which I, as a Catholic Christian, am compelled to practice in my marriage.

I have to confess that recently I have been anything but open to life in my mental attitude. Right now, the idea of ever having to experience such debilitating sickness and crippling fatigue is enough to send me mentally spiralling over the edge. I am just about continuing to function, even managing to attend some of the introductory events during Fresher’s Week at University (mainly all departmental welcomes and introductions), but I am to be found vomiting in the Ladies’ lavatories immediately afterwards, followed by slipping back home for a few hours of much-needed rest.

Imogen, our ten month old, still smells absolutely abhorrent, I associate her with a terrible smell to the extent that I can’t even look at a photo of her on my mobile phone without wanting to retch and thus the thought of another baby, combined with the rigours of a then 16 month old, a 7-year-old and the demands of the start of the Summer Term at University absolutely fills me with dread.

Now I know that all this is temporary, that eventually the sickness will ease, that I will undoubtedly love my newborn and be grateful for the blessing, at the moment all this seems very far from my mind. It is incredibly difficult to look at the big picture, when you are caught up in the daily drama of continuous vomiting, crippling tiredness accompanied with a side order of depression.

This would all appear to make family life particularly difficult at the moment, particularly given the uncertainties that Robin is currently facing in terms of discerning what his future might be within the Catholic Church and the loss of his previous identity. As he said, he has had to lay down the gift of his ministry, something that he has had for the past fourteen years, in the hope that he may one day take it up again. Since he was a little boy Robin has aspired towards priesthood and recounts how he used to “play at serving Mass” much to the bemusement of his siblings. His mother tells how as a baby  toddler and young child she had an irrational fear that he might die, her intuitive feeling was that he was somehow so holy that she feared that God might want him back! Indeed he did, but not in the way that she foresaw. So this loss of identity and of ministry is proving challenging to him and what he is most in need of is a someone who can be of support, not a useless wretch who can only manage to spend the majority of her days either vomiting or sleeping.

With that in mind though, our marriage has never been stronger and indeed we feel closer and more spiritually linked than perhaps at any time previously. In the light of this I have been reflecting on the issue of priestly celibacy; perhaps somewhat hypocritically I cannot help but believe that the Catholic doctrine is actually the correct line here (more in a later post) and it has seemed to me that perhaps if Robin didn’t have the encumbrance of a wife and family to worry about things would now be so much more straightforward for him, however he feels that were it not for my presence he may not have come to the decision that he did; simply the act of being married to a Catholic, exploring the issue of NFP and the Catholic teaching on sexuality as well as attending Mass with me for the past two and half years played a significant part in his journey.

With all of this, I’ve been feeling more than a tad uneasy about my current stance which consists of “no more babies ever, ever again, my body can’t endure another pregnancy, please no, I’m never letting you come downwind of me ever again, unless you are enclosed in a hermetically sealed bubble”! Obviously not what a Catholic (or any) husband wants to hear. So, I have been doing a spot of re-reading of Christopher West in order to remind myself exactly what it means to be “open to life” and why this is so important.

Something that I want to point out is that unlike common perceptions, NFP is NOT playing Russian Roulette or fast and loose with one’s fertility. It’s not the same as simply crossing fingers and hoping that one doesn’t conceive. It’s not the equivalent of putting one’s hand in the fire and then wondering/complaining when one receives severe burns. Perfect use records a success rate of 99.5% for couples wishing to avoid pregnancy with a typical use rate of around 97%. One only needs to compare this with methods of contraception to note that this is pretty efficacious way of avoiding pregnancy. Of course, there is only one way to totally avoid pregnancy, which is total abstinence. All couples know that there is a risk of pregnancy whenever sexual relations take place and indeed anecdotally, many of our friends will testify to having an unplanned child due to failures of conventional contraception. Therefore I do get somewhat exasperated by the fact that certain people seem to think that I only have myself to “blame” for this pregnancy, because I failed to act “sensibly”.

Actually, what we did do, which is perfectly acceptable and indeed encouraged within the Catholic faith, was to think very long and very hard about whether or not it would be appropriate to have another child at this current moment in time. Humanae Vitae discusses the idea that couples may have reasons or motives that are just and sufficiently serious, i.e. not  frivolous or materialistic, for avoiding conception. (iustae rationes and iustae causea, Humanae Vitae, 10, 16). The Church wisely doesn’t set out explicit rules, Paul VI alludes to reasons “based on the physical or psychological condition of the spouse or external factors”. What the Church does not say, contrary to popular misconception, is that it is inherently wrong to avoid children. Indeed in our circumstances, it seemed a wise decision, given the current pressures we are under.

This does on face value seem like splitting hairs. A commentator on a previous entry expressed the sentiment, surely if the end result is the same, no baby, then what is the difference? Surely you had the same mentality as someone using contraception? Indeed it seemed she had a good point, NFP or contraception is a means to an end. However, what this omits is the question that dogs almost all of us, namely does the end justify the means? The ends (no matter how good) neither justify the means or homogenize them. Using a trite example, think of the person who wants to buy a new house or car, so they work hard and save until they can achieve this. Someone else wants exactly the same thing, but instead they steal or sell drugs to achieve this. Same end, different means.

It is admittedly possible for a couple to misuse NFP by refusing to view fertility as a gift and adopt an outlook similar to the contraceptive mentality. An example might be an affluent couple with a house, 2 cars, several family holidays a year, able to eat out at least weekly, who have no known fertility problems and yet chose to postpone children with no reason other than they wish to prolong their lifestyle. This might be stingy or fearful or fertility but it is different from using contraception.

What contraception does is to separate the two meanings of conjugal love which should be both unitive and procreative. It renders the sexual act sterile. Every time a couple using NFP have sex bodily renewing their marriage covenant, they are open to life even if they know that the chances are slim that they will conceive in an infertile period. Patrick Coffin puts it very aptly when he says “using a comparison, such couples treat God as a poker partner with whom they’re willing to share high value cards, whereas contracepting couples treat God as a partner they want to defeat”. Marital spirituality involves spouses opening their bodies and the “one body” they become in the sexual act, to the Holy Spirit. Contraception entails shutting oneself off to the Holy Spirit, as the Nicene Creed expresses “the Lord, the Giver of Life” and so every time a couple uses contraception, they are excluding God from the act.

What separates NFP from contraception is that sex on a day known to be infertile is that God Himself designed the female with a natural rhythm of fertility and infertility, and this knowledge merely determines the timing of an act of intercourse. It doesn’t involve the desecration of such acts. Though most people don’t look on it this way, actually given that ovulation (even double ovulation) occurs one day a month, abstention usually lasts 5-10 days a month, the divine design actually favours the enjoyment of unity and sexual satisfaction over the procreative meaning by a hefty margin.

It’s difficult to prove the subtle effect of contraception on the unitive meaning of sex, but it doesn’t make it any the less real. If you pick up a lump of exposed radium with your bare hands, a la Homer Simpson, you’d still be affected by the radiation even though you may feel no sensible reaction. An invisible effect is not the same as a non-existent one. I think a good way of thinking about it is that contraception effectively turns love to lust. This might not seem so, after all sex is a way of expressing love, but when you think about it contraception was invented in order that we might not have to grapple with the choice of abstinence. It was invented to overcome man’s lack of self-control and indulgence of lust. As West points out, God gave us freedom as the capacity to love. Contraception negates this freedom, it says “I can’t abstain”. Hence, contracepted sex not only attacks the procreative meaning of sex, it also as John Paull II says “ceases to be an act of love”. If you can’t say no to sex, what does your “yes” mean?

By using NFP what we were saying is “Father, we have prayerfully discerned our life situation and we believe we ought not to conceive at this time. But we want to honour you as the true Lord of Life. In partnership with you, we enter into this embrace trusting that, if it be your will to bless it with a child, we will joyfully accept him or her”. On fertile days we did other things. We watched NCIS and Dr Who   😉

I have dallied with the thought that this Catholic attitude towards contraception is misogynistic, after all, it’s very easy for a man to wish his wife to have as many children as circumstances allow, particularly when he doesn’t have to physically endure the rigours of pregnancy and the terrors of childbirth (which to date have entailed abnormal amounts of blood loss and post-birth infections, nothing worse than lying incapacitated on an operating table, baby screaming implacably, surgeons wearing what appear to be plastic tree felling visors spattered with blood, stating “I can’t seem to stop this bleed, I think we nicked a vein”).  The reality is different though. Given that men are called to chastity in the same way as women, abstinence requires a real act of self-mastery which becomes increasingly difficult when your wife is physically incapacitated and incapable of intimacy for a long period of time, both during and after pregnancy. In addition to which, our personal situation is requiring that Robin is doing the majority of childcare and housework, as well as attempting to sort out some sort of employment and finalise any outstanding parish work. This pregnancy is not proving to be easy on either of us, we are both suffering yet in different ways. Though it might be easy to put a postmodern feminist gloss on everything, actually this is too glib an interpretation and simply one that is born out of frustration. As I said, it’s often hard to see beyond the immediate physical reality, and I know that Robin has often wished that he could suffer in my place.

Someone sagely pointed out that “I don’t eat meat, Caroline doesn’t use condoms. I would never ever eat meat, even if I was anaemic because I feel that strongly about it, eating meat is immoral and Caroline will never ever use contraception because she believes that it is immoral”. That pretty much sums it up. Though I am admittedly struggling with the effects of this pregnancy, with catastrophically low iron levels, though I’ve needed hospital treatment, and though it’s difficult at times to feel joyful about a baby which might well mean that I have to defer my long-awaited for degree, that is causing havoc physically, I have to accept that I am about to lose my newly regained figure (again) a source of vanity, I think really the fault is with me and not with the Church. This is a case of me coming to terms with “thy will be done” and not my will be done. It’s really easy to be pro-life, open to life if you want to be like Anna Duggar and have 19 children. This is where, for me, the rubber hits the road, where I have to put my money where my mouth is and accept the reality of an unplanned pregnancy and what it entails. Though I am no pro-life witness, I wish I was, this is, for me, melodramatic as it sounds, an act of heroic sacrifice. I am struggling every day with the physical reality of pregnancy and the concept that in a matter of months, life is not going to be how I envisaged or planned it. It’s going to be a whole lot richer.

If I were wiser or a better Catholic, I’d simply be accepting this difficult phase as a blessing or gift, uniting my suffering to that of Christ. I can’t do that, not only because it’s not in the same league, but also because I’m dreadful with illness and petulant when things don’t go the way I want them. I feel terribly guilty for not yet being able to be joyful about this baby, particularly when I know the lengths that some people go in their quest for children and it does seem terribly unfair. One of my most cherished passages in Scripture is Romans 8, 28:  “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

Also, the example of Mary, is as ever salient here. “Let it be done unto me according to thy word”. Here was a woman who had to tell her fiance that an angel had told her she had conceived God’s child. She potentially faced death by stoning, yet she rejoiced in the news that she had been chosen by God, never once complaining, but accepting the news joyfully.

So ultimately, my troubles are yet small beer.

Remembering 9/11

There’s been a very snidey atmosphere pervading on the internet today on the anniversary of 9/11. A lot of the self-styled “intelligentsia” have been commenting that the deaths of  a confirmed 2,993 victims, the youngest of whom was 2, the oldest 85, have been blown out of all proportion because the majority of them were “white and rich” and were it not for the cultural influence of America, then these deaths, this atrocity would be starting to fade from the world’s collective consciousness and that perhaps the incident should fade and we should all move on.

Whilst I most certainly agree with the sentiment that global governments have used 9/11 to create a worldwide climate of fear, which does not prove conducive to world peace, I don’t think that 9/11 should or will fade from public consciousness. Whilst we should not dwell on the acts of a few terrorists and use these attacks as a constant source of division, given the nature of the atrocity, it seems fair that it should be remembered respectfully. The lives of the victims were of no more or less value than the lives of Muslim shoppers in the markets of Baghdad for example. All human life is of equal dignity and worth. Innocents may have been killed as a result of how the global governments reacted to the events of 9/11, but that does not make the events in themselves any the less horrific.

9/11 is one of those events that is going to remain a cultural reference point for the next few generations. Everyone is going to have some memory of where they were, what they were doing at the time that the events unfolded. My story is that I was working on the trading floor, for a European Investment Bank, attempting to write a piece of research when the tagline flashed up on my Reuters screen that a light aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Centre. CNN was permanently running on one of the many TV screens. So I peered at it and saw a light plume of smoke trailing from one tower. I rang up my ex, who is an airline pilot, thinking that he might be interested, whilst also thinking quite how bizarre it was that a light aircraft could make such a blunder. My ex switched on the news and confirmed ‘that’s no accident, look at the weather conditions’. I relayed this opinion to my colleagues and as we were gathered around peering at the TV screen, bang, the second plane hit. We then continued to watch the events unfold in stultified silence. Many of our colleagues and clients were based in the second tower. By a fortuitous coincidence my boss from the New York office was over on a business trip,  and I will never forget his reaction nor indeed all of ours, as we realised that we were watching people we knew die on live TV. Traders were ringing the offices but getting no response, only a shrill shrieking beep or perhaps more eerily, voicemail. I don’t think anyone who saw the events will ever forget the shocking sight of the man leaping from the top of the tower. No work was done, it was pointless, no-one could predict how the markets would react, this was a one-off, once-in-lifetime disaster and any attempt at guessing what was going on was pure speculation, although I do remember there being a brief rally on the Swiss Franc and the price of gold predictably rose.

The newswires were aflame and as the Pennsylvania tragedy unfolded and the US airspace was gradually shut down, reports were coming in minute by minute of the flights that were still unaccounted for. We then saw that Canary Wharf was evacuated and were told to make preparations to evacuate ourselves. It was like something out of a Hollywood Blockbuster, it felt like Armageddon was on its way. I remember ringing my sister and saying very jovially “oh it’s all very scary here” and her reaction was “just get out of there now”! London, instantly felt vulnerable and threatened. This had nothing to do with the rhetoric of George Bush and everything to do with the fact that city workers, particularly those in the financial sector had just watched entire offices be wiped out, identified with their American colleagues and felt under attack. After all, the victims of 9/11 had done nothing more provocative than go to work. The terrorists had deliberately wanted to cause terror and mayhem, had wanted to wipe out huge amounts of innocent citizens and they didn’t care about the lives that would be taken, or those who would be left to pick up the pieces. Their aims were to prove a political point at whatever cost. It resonated globally because those in the West identified with the victims, empathised with them, the nature of our 24/7 media meant that graphic photos and heart-rending stories of tragedy would infiltrate our media for weeks and months on end. George W Bush didn’t actually need to warmonger, the sense of outrage was palpable, this was an attack of the Western way of life, of freedoms and liberties, however, it did not justify the lamentable response which still continues today.

The 9/11 attack will always resonate because of the knock-on effects it had, and not just in terms of making the world a unsafer place. For months I was terrified when travelling on the tube, years before the attack of 7/7 took place. It seemed like an obvious target and indeed those fears were eventually realised. The airline industry changed beyond all recognition. As former crew, I could imagine all too graphically the on board scenario, the terrorists using box cutters to slit the throats of the crew, in order to gain access to the flight deck. What went through the minds of the passengers does not bear thinking about. It was not just the sheer body count that was important, but the nature of the attack itself. Using civilians as a weapon, a missile to murder other civilians. They were not simply collateral damage. Firefighters doing their jobs also died, all in all, the scenario was one of pointless bloodshed and carnage.

People may feel that the significance of the deaths of the 2993 may have been greatly elevated due to their racial and social status. Perhaps that is true, but that doesn’t make their lives of any less worth than any other innocent needless deaths and thus it is right and proper that they and the events of that terrible day may be marked and will live on in Western consciousness. What did not help matters was the footage broadcast later that night of militants around the world triumphantly celebrating their victory, dancing in the streets and rejoicing. Just as I wouldn’t want the deaths of my relatives to be manipulated to fuel a political agenda or warfare on innocent civilians, I wouldn’t want them to be celebrated either. The events of 9/11 should continue to be marked, both in terms of respect for the innocent victims and also in terms of what it meant for the world going forward. The West may despise the actions of its governments, the despicable wars waged in the name of our safety, but that does not mean that we should hide our sense of grief, loss and outrage at these senseless acts of  despicable violence, nor should we be ashamed. The victims and the 3,521 children who lost a parent in one single incident, deserve better.

Just a mum with a blog – no great whoop!

Goodness me, this blog has received over 3000 hits in the last 48 hours. We have been overwhelmed by online messages as well as real-life messages and letters of support and so I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers which are really sustaining us. The response has been totally unexpected and incredible. Many people, both past parishioners and catholics in the parish, have knocked on our door either to offer congratulations and/or express gratitude for Robin’s ministry, sadness at his departure and also to offer us various spare rooms. On behalf of both us I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks, for all the various gifts; it reinforces our sadness to be leaving such a wonderful loving Christian community and reinforces our faith in Christian fellowship. We all share one common faith in Christ and are joined by the Spirit in Baptism.

This blog regularly picked up a couple of hundred readers who were mainly friends, I had no inkling that it would be linked to by so many, or really that anyone would be interested, so my huge thanks to all of you who took the time, both to link to this blog, read it and comment. Each and every comment and email has meant more than you could imagine, particularly at a time, when in other online communities, I was being called an extremist, likened to an alcoholic who needed religion to survive and used catholicism as a crutch. I have been called blind, deluded, mentally ill and accused of likening myself to rape victims. Whilst I was undeniably hurt by some of these comments from people I had assumed to be friends, I realised that they weren’t in fact malicious, but were born out of concern and incredulity that someone, in other ways so normal, could also manifest, what appeared to them, to be incomprehensible views. All I can say is that being a Christian has never been an easy path for anyone. Had I known the gravitas of some of the readers, I would probably have toned down some of my previous entries, I have a suspicion that my fondness for general sauciness, bawdiness and double-entendres may well be my downfall one day.

I will leave the serious theological discussion and profound insights to other bloggers. I think the aim of this blog was simply to share my simple thoughts with others and also to engage in some Catholic apologetics but not at any detailed level. One commenter posted about free will and I was about to launch into a discourse about Thomas Acquinas and felt that probably wouldn’t have been the appropriate response, due to my lack of any formal theological training. What I intend to do now is share our journey, thoughts, a little of our lives and of course I welcome all comments, questions, thoughts, prayers, which I will do my best to answer.

At the end of the day, what I’m intending to show is that yes I’m a Catholic, I cannot divorce that from who I am, I’m not about to put it away in a neat little box because it makes atheist/agnostic friends deeply uncomfortable, but being a Catholic does not mean that I’m a brainwashed, indoctrinated, emotionless robot, incapable of rational or logical thought and devoid of all emotion. Quite the opposite is true. Perhaps I’m attempting to destroy a few misconceptions about us Catholic folk. All I am really, is a wife and mother, friend, someone who has a colourful career and personal history, who is a Catholic, has a blog and perhaps wears her heart on her sleeve more than is wise. Certainly not some great holy person – if only!

Enough of the introspection. A brief update. The scan on Tuesday was positive. We have one healthy baby, praise God, with a due date of 23 April, St George’s Day and also slap bang in the middle in the Triduum! I may be too sensitive on this issue, but I was again dismayed when we saw the Dr at the EPU, who, after enquiring whether or not it was a planned pregnancy, asked if we “accepted” the pregnancy. Robin felt it was a good choice of language, after all, in the spirit of the Baptismal promises, we could say, “yes I accept my baby”, but I also felt sadness at the other implications of the word. Although I am having difficulties in coming to terms with the realities of the pregnancy, I don’t reject the baby, although I might feel some trepidation.

Apart from a brief moment resembling something out of the Exorcist when I threw up in the sacristy whilst helping Robin clear the Church of his personal effects (don’t worry parishioners, there is no trace now), the sickness seemed to be easing until today when it has sadly come back with a vengeance, not helped by the fact that the entire family is running a raging fever, our eldest having picked up a bug on return to school. The baby wants to nurse constantly for comfort, whilst I have to sit there with a paper bag. As I said previously, that is the most difficult part, finding my baby’s smell objectionable, not being able to hold her close for long periods and constantly needing to abandon her to lie down. She is suffering from separation anxiety and so my useless mother neurosis are being reinforced, very poignantly she apparently said “mummy” for the first time this evening, when I was otherwise indisposed.

So, for those who want to continue reading, welcome aboard, for those that don’t, thank you for dropping by and your support. I am currently formulating the next couple of posts, which are going to be along the lines of what it really means to be open to life and also, life from the perspective of “Mrs Vicar”. Generally I blog about whatever takes my fancy, from Catholicism, to politics, to literature, current affairs and general inanities. I can’t promise that I won’t be a touch naughty at times, but I will endeavour to avoid offence and tastelessness.

In the meantime, for those who have not read it, here is the text of Robin’s resignation homily.

Choose Life

I am unexpectedly pregnant after something went slightly awry with the NFP this month. To be honest the timing could not be more inauspicious. Yesterday my husband, who was up until midnight last night, a Rector in the C of E, resigned his benefice in order that he might become a Roman Catholic, a move he has been contemplating for quite some time. Whilst this was undoubtedly the only thing he could do, having spiritually and mentally come home some time ago, what this decision means for us as a family is that we will shortly lose our home and source of income, although he is applying for lay jobs elsewhere. The difficulty is that with career experience consisting of purely ministry and three theological degrees, options seem to be somewhat limited, him being either over-qualified or lacking in experience and due to the current economic climate, there being a glut of applications for every suitable position. Still, as Mr Micawber might say, I have every faith that something might turn up!

What additionally complicates the issue is that I am due to start a full-time undergraduate degree in English Literature, with a view to teaching at the end of the month. Pregnancy did not figure at all in our plans, however, as Catholics, we always need to be open to the possibility of life and not taking on board the contraceptive mentality. Whilst we had not discounted more children in the future, we had taken the decision that it would not be sensible to be adding to our family at this time.

Pregnancy entails for me, morning sickness of the direst nature. Why it’s called morning sickness is beyond me, it’s more like all day constant nausea, vomiting and migranes, although I will spare the grisly detail. This post has taken over a week to compose, in a piecemeal fashion,  because looking at screens and reading books only exacerbates the condition. I have absolutely no idea as to how I am going to be able to complete any preparatory reading and am more than a little concerned.  In addition my work as an at-home researcher for a text answering service has been hindered, meaning another source of income is reduced.There have been times where I have been lying on my bed absolutely desperate to make the sickness stop, prepared to do almost anything, just to gain some respite. Offering it all up has never been my forte, even though I undoubtedly know its the only course of action. I am thankful for this pregnancy in many ways, children are always a blessing and when I read of the agony of infertility suffered by so many couples, I know that I am extremely fortunate to be blessed with hyper-fecundity.

But, all in all, its difficult and I am more than a little daunted at the prospect of 2 young babies, 16 months apart and an uncertain future for our family.

So this week, I went to the doctor to confirm the pregnancy. I was absolutely exhausted following a day of sickness and extreme fatigue, my baby is currently teething and not sleeping through the night, our nights consisting of her crying and my taking the path of least resistence, i.e bringing her into bed with us whereby she spends the rest of the night fitfully breastfeeding. The doctor took one look at my ashen face and instantly offered me access to abortion services. Clearly, we do have a “good case” if such a thing exists for terminating this pregnancy. In addition to which he harangued me about the use of NFP, telling me “it doesn’t work”, “I’m a Catholic and we have to live in the real world” ending up concluding in a hash of new age philosophy “well, any contraception can fail, I guess really its meant to be”!

I was horrified. Although the scenario as I’ve painted it, is not ideal, where is the hope? Things are never hopeless and in fact all that would have sufficed was a spot of sympathy. I wasn’t actually looking for sympathy, it was simply that after an incredibly stressful few months, I had reached my emotional limit. For me it was a stark illustration that in the UK we really do offer abortion on demand, which is what the detractors of the Abortion Act originally feared. The spirit of the abortion act was intended to help women in truly desperate circumstances. Though at times, in the throes of hormones and sickness I have felt utterly wretched, my situation is not a desperate one. To give birth to this baby is not going to cause me considerable mental or physical damage, even though at my most melodramatic moments, it may seem that way. I am married, I have a husband to emotionally support me, who, to give him his enormous dues here, is more than sharing the load at the moment in terms of childcare, he is the one currently doing the majority of changing and feeding the baby, in order to give me some respite. The worst aspect of the sickness is that my own precious baby’s smell is repugnant to me, which is heart-breaking. I find myself holding a baby in one arm whilst heaving into the sink.

My parents live 3 hours away; upon informing my mother, her response was “oh NO, that IS bad news, I just don’t see how you’re going to be able to cope”, which has been repeated quite a few times. I know however she means this with the best of intentions, she is obviously just very concerned.

The thing is, that amongst all this, there IS hope. Although life isn’t going to be easy, by anyone’s standards, the result is going to be a beautiful baby who is going to bring an enormous amount of joy and happiness to all. A new life with all of its possibilities. I am not going to crack up under the mental pressure, I am not going to be physically damaged by the birth, although admittedly conceiving 8 months post c-section goes against medical advice, but again its not that uncommon. I am an educated, intelligent women, my children are certainly not going to be physically or emotionally neglected, there is no reason to suppose that everything is not going to be alright.

This is what gets me, the consumerism and instant gratification of our easily disposable culture. Many people might argue that there would be a sound case for an abortion, it is my body, my rights and I should have an abortion and not feel a shred of guilt. I am shocked that a doctor can glibly offer an abortion as a solution. How was he to know that my physical and/or mental health would be adversely affected? He just offered it as being a way out, an answer, without giving it much thought. My experience is that abortion causes many more problems than it solves.

Many people would undoubtedly feel that I am being reckless, but surely this reckless attitude to life, as being disposable, dispensable with, is what is at the heart of many of society’s problems. My baby has the same right to life as everyone else, despite the physical difficulties it might be causing me. Besides, these are only temporary. Sickness and exhaustion are debilitating and add to the woes of women in a crisis pregnancy, making it difficult for her to be able to think rationally, particularly in the throes of all the extra hormones. I know, I have felt utterly wretched and desperate at times.

What has kept me going, is the fervent congratulations from people, reminding me that this is actually an occasion of happiness, a new life with all its possibilities, not some great disaster or tragedy. Clearly my faith has also been the contributing factor, but I think the point I am trying to make here, is that being pro-life requires no religious, but rather a moral conviction as to what is right. I am strong, I will cope, I have no excuse for killing my unborn child, other than it’s somewhat inconvenient timing. It is horrifying that society passively accepts and would validate my decision, should I have taken up the doctor’s offer, thereby destroying 2 lives.

At least now, I can look women facing crisis pregnancies in the face, I can say, look I’ve been there, I know it’s incredibly difficult, but there is hope, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Right now the words of Mother Teresa seem very apt:

“But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love – that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. ”

I have a scan tomorrow to discover whether or not its a multiple pregnancy as there is a more than  a distinct possibility that this could be the case.

Things are going to be just fine.