Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part Four ~ Waiting For Marriage – Really?

I chose in my last essay, to write about the potential negative issue that come up for many, many people, who have been brought up in a religion that teaches by fire and brimstone. This does not mean that I believe for one minute that we should not be talking about relationships, virginity and purity of heart and soul (new one?) when we are; raising our kids, teaching young people and as adults having conversations.

Christians (Catholics anyway, perhaps because of church rules…) are often afraid to talk about sexual intimacy – yet it is all over the television, movies, novels, and – right in front of our faces, be it friends (or self < not me>) with revolving bedroom doors. . . . So why not talk about it? Right. That is what I am doing.

The article I read written by Catholic clergy (assuming this) for the clergy (for a fact) did bring up strong valid points. I did begin writing this the other day and found actual quotes I had included in part of what I am writing here.

What did bother me about this article was the author stated but suffice it to say that sex is a valuable thing that should not be squandered or used trivially; any more than one should use champagne for cleaning floors.” ~ and this, this is a problem with the Roman Catholic Church. You cannot refer to sex as a thing and somehow, for me at least something gets lost in translation when compared to champagne and moping floors.

Sex is not a “valuable thing“. Making love to your spouse is an aspect of marriage to be treasured. When one begins to speak in such a way, it shows honor to a committed marital relationship and then you have a positive example to compare to a more negative connotation of living in sin, multiple sexual partners, not valuing your body, your heart, mind and soul enough to wait to share with a future spouse.

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Despite my own experiences as a young woman, married and divorced, I do hold the idea of respecting my own sexuality. The fact is that this is something I really only want to share with one special person. I don’t want to be leered at, mauled on a date or expected to “put out” because someone buys me dinner. I do believe in having an emotionally and physically healthy sexual relationship with a spouse.

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~ PURITY OF HEART ~

There is really is much to be gained in waiting until marriage to express your love physically. Haven’t we all heard about bonding hormones and how they are released during physical intimacy? I’d rather know I love a man completely for who he is inside and out before I let hormones play tricks on me. I value me. I value another person also. As a mature woman, raped as a young girl, who is divorced with children what do I have to offer (no virginity)?

Through my Faith, Hope & Love with God, I have learned to love myself and have a close relationship with God. The Holy Spirit resides within, I can offer Purity of Heart & Soul, which in truth is oh so very much more valuable than what I lost one night so many years ago. Realizing this helped heal my heart and soul.

We need to be able to teach this in some way, along with the value of virginity to young people.

How are we raising our kids? Well, in honesty I do have my first grandchild on the way and my son is not married to the young lady. This is a really complicated situation that requires both privacy and care for both of them. He knows I did not raise him this way, he knows better. I have trust in God in their particular situation. I see how things played out, now as a mom it’s my job to do the best I can to emotionally support the new young family.

Raising our kids to be moral young people is what we need to be doing, or continue doing. Especially those of us who identify as Christians. Our body is the temple of God. Right?! We need to set good, strong examples for the young people and others in our lives. We need to be able to show others by example that having a sexually responsible, moral (marriage) relationship is a good experience, and that it offers an intimacy that cannot be found outside of marriage, dating through a revolving door. God values us, we need to value ourselves, help others value themselves (and I don’t mean only as a sexual being – build people up, help them have healthy & strong self esteem).

So, how about it? How involved are you really with raising morally -sexual aware kids? Ones that do value waiting until marriage? Are you the dad that bumps elbows and says “way to go bud?” The older sister who says “you need a push up bra and more makeup?”. Are we teaching our kids to both dress, look and act respectful of self and others?

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Are we allowing them to have the opinion that their bodies are not a temple of God and they can (and should) be enjoying physical relationships years before they are mentally or emotionally (and in many cases physically) mature enough to settle down and really value what sex is really supposed to be all about, as a gift from God – making love?

Warning/Perhaps skip this paragraph... Is it time to rethink what we’re doing, remember to put our kids first (parents with revolving bedroom doors, we all know them), offering birth control upon first menstruation (I have heard of this) or an adult toy for a thirteen year old (heard of this too). The rating on the video game matters (prostitutes on Grand Theft Auto), movies, music (tons of premarital sex).

Talk to your kids. Talk to the young people in your life. Teach both boys and girls how to dress modestly (it doesn’t mean without style!). Teach them to respect their own bodies and to respect others. Teach them as the church does, sexual relationships outside of marriage is walking a slippery slop, considered sinful and why is that? Because it can cause (emotional!!!) harm to another. We should be having and continuing to have these conversations with kids, and – other singles (not only Christians). Help people have healthy, loving relationships.

  Remember too . . .
Purity of heart and mind belongs IN marriage

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Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part Three ~ Negative Consequences paid for Misplaced Value

 

The negative emotional consequences for young women who plan on saving themselves for marriage, and have that taken from them – in my case and others mentioned (or) that very beautiful gift – paraded about all but on a sign – stealing part of her own being away from her, can be devastating.

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Purity Ball ~ A formal Father Daughter dance in which the girls promise they will remain virgins until married.

I was raised to be a young lady. I wore dresses straight through most of middle school, was taught that men would open doors, pull out chairs, and drop me off by the door – especially in inclement weather. Because I was a girl. I wasn’t allowed to go to the barns or race track (dad was an owner/trainer/driver of harness horses) because young ladies did not belong there. If we went out to dinner I liked to pay the bill for daddy, if the cash register was out of sight or in the bar – dad was literally right behind me. When I was old enough for “the talk” about “men-stu-a-tion” (does anyone else remember those film strips? Aging myself I know), there was a little talk at home about this being part of the bodies process to make a girl ready to have a baby, but that was for marriage. That was for someone special. No real details from mom. At some point I learned she had her first son when she was fifteen and her wish for me to remain a virgin and pure until I met the love of my life and married. Virginity was a gift from God, God wanted me to wait until I got married and that gift was for my husband. Where I went, who I was with was mostly monitored closely.

I had no intention of having sex before I was married. I wanted to wait to share that mystery with my future husband. I was taught to dress modestly, act like a young lady and respect my body. I shared in my essay on Abortion Perspective of a Pro-Life Mom, that at the age of seventeen (just be high school graduation!) I was raped by the older cousin of my then boyfriend. I also shared that I did not share this with any adults.

My best friend and I were also in a car accident shortly after this happened, bruises that were seen were attributed to that. Because this was so close to graduation I have a photo or two that shows a black eye, it does not show the bruised inner thighs (no shorts for weeks) from my rape. I prized my virginity and – I think that was a good thing “but” after being raped . . . I was devastated. My virginity was such a large part of my identity that I was shattered and broken. I felt shattered and broken. I spiraled down – terribly. Eventually – marrying a man who would abuse me emotionally, spiritually and physically over twenty years.

Talking to one of my best friends, who incidentally is also the gal who also had a mother who told her she wished she had aborted her, also lost her virginity to rape. A co-worker who drove her home after a company party. She too said no, No, NO.

Statistics show varying numbers. Having conversations with woman and young women my sons have dated, sexual violence and rape is happening to a larger number of the population than we will ever know.

Why? Like domestic violence, we are ashamed. Somehow, we think it is our fault. We were not “good enough”.

I remember reading an article last year, when I was still on Facebook I even shared it. It was the story of a young woman who had partaken in a vow of purity with her father. Promising to remain a virgin until marriage.

Setting her up for failure? Stats on sexual abuse and rape mixed with might have set her up to crash. Be sure to use the right words and teach the correct lessons. Don‘t expect a child to take a purity vow to their father. Raise healthy kids.

She shared how this defined her. She was used as a role model. Everyone knew she was a virgin. Her wedding night, after making love with her husband for the first time, losing her virginity – included her spending the following two hours curled in a ball crying inconsolably in the bathroom – instead of snuggled closely to the love of her life. She felt shame. She felt like everyone knew she was a virgin, now she no longer was.

In her mind everyone was going to stare at her when they next saw her because she was no longer a virgin. The truth was, people would now simply look at her as a married woman. What was inside her mind was something else. She suffered terribly for two years before opening up to her husband, who then went into therapy with her.

At the end of the article we learned she was doing well, her marriage that was close to being torn apart over her secret fears and imaginary inadequacies, was closer than they imagine possible and they were enjoying a very healthy physical and emotional relationship.

I have spoken to numerous other women over the years. There have been a number who suffered date rape, molestation, by male family members (one impregnated by her father), adult family friends. I also have knowledge of someone who’s parent prostituted her for a Heroin fix.

Considering the devastation loosing ones’ virginity or having your body violated by a man is, something really has to be considered in these days when we are to have compassion, understanding and love for everyone. We don’t all stand up and wave a flag and say “help me, I was raped, I am broken inside”. Many, many do not.

In my own experience – well, it took decades for me to realize the damage that was done not only to my body -but to my heart, my soul, my spirit that night. The fallout was severe. It is for so many of us. Beware of making judgements on the behavior of young ladies, or young men (as they are raped too).

s-l1000True love waits.  I believe it does.  However, that love may or may not be a virgin.  Remember to honor and respect each other.  Value Purity of Heart.  Jesus did.

Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part Two ~ Talking to Eighth Graders about dating

Over the past three years I have been teaching Eighth and Ninth Grade Faith Formation, last year I took off, this year I am back at it teaching one class in each of those two grades. Great kids, great age. What I realized that I was teaching Catechism, but the kids didn’t know Jesus. They didn’t really pray outside of rote prayer, and they did not really think about having a personal relationship with God. You could say I went kind of rogue. The Catechism book I was given to work with was less than adequate. After the second session or so I all but threw it away. Why? Because I was not about to talk to kids about the bible readings in Leviticus “drunken debauchery and orgies”. Talk about keeping ones innocence… Oh dear Lord – whoever put that book together needs to have their head examined. Once again, I digress.

*Note:  This year there is a really good new book to teach from.

Regarding the first book I worked with, I did tell my director I wasn’t dealing with that book (why), and – what is the main point we are to learn this year? Apostles Creed. Fine, no worries. I have this. We worked on the Apostles Creed and it’s meaning line by line. I also bought each child a wooden rosary, because I found the scriptural reference for them. We worked on that each week, learning about the conception, birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You could say, I made Mary’s Rosary more about her son, and God the Father than most consider. It worked, they learned.

We also talked each week about various aspects of Mass, prayers, we discussed personal prayer time with God every week – which was really encouraging. We also spoke of other matters in their every day life and how Christians live.

When formal dances came up and discussion on who their dates where, things became interesting. One girl, 13 was dating a very popular boy – age 13. They had been going steady for a full year and they were also allowed to be home alone together. No chaperones. What are their parents thinking? Oh – wait. . . We know they aren’t right? Other kids were saying “nope, no way I don’t wait a boyfriend or girlfriend” and there were a few (both classes) that felt left out because they didn’t have an actual “data” for their formal dinner dance.

I tossed out a question to them, the same I used with my own sons and their friends while they were growing up. “Do you know what the purpose of dating is?” There were more looks of wide eyed wonder than giggles, blushing or downcast glances.

Because everyone does it!

For fun!

To be Popular!!!

Nope! That’s not it. (me)

Well . . . what’s the answer then? (confused looks around the classroom).

Well, we probably shouldn’t want to do anything simply because everyone else is doing it – right? Everyone jumps off a cliff, are you going right behind them? :heads shaking, no:

And… Aren’t there a lot of fun things you can do with your friends, girls with girls, guys with guys – or a group? :heads shaking, yes:

Okay, and while I get the idea that “popular is good”, do we really need to date at this age to be “popular”, don’t you want to be liked for who you are? :thoughtful heads shaking yes”.

~ Okay, okay – but what is dating for then?

Dating or courtship is a time that you spend getting to know a man or woman to discern if they are the type of person you want to spend the rest of your life with – in marriage. When you are old enough to consider marriage, then you spend time learning about what you are looking for in a marriage partner, who you want to spend the rest of your life with. For you kids, when your older – what you should be looking for is another Catholic or Christian who will attend church with you every week. You look for a good person who will celebrate your life together with God, raise your family together – in God.

The kids were actually relieved to hear that dating was something adult. They really didn’t have to worry about a date for an eighth grade dinner dance. We talked some more and reaffirmed their need to enjoy time on their own, growing up, growing in their relationship with God and others and they could wait to worry about dating (and kissing ,because yeah that came up with giggles in the back) until they were older.

I encouraged both classes to speak to their parents about these things, almost every one of them said their parents didn’t have time or wouldn’t bother. I told them to give it a try anyway I was sure their parents would love to speak to them about life events like this.

The truth is, a lot of parents don’t talk. They are either uncomfortable, embarrassed or just too busy to consider the consequences of not spending time helping their children in developing a well rounded moral view of their mind, body and souls.

Added challenges are the loose values in society today, many of which have been loose (but unspoken of) all along. If we want to raise good kids, that means we spend an awful lot of time focused on them. Monitoring what they’re watching on TV (and TV does get worse all the time, really it does). People laugh when they hear I did not allow the oldest two to watch Rugrats before youngest was much older because I didn’t want him to pick up back habits (that Angelica was a rude one). Books, friends, video games. It takes a lot of time and effort.

This also means taking the time to talk to our kids about love, sex and marriage. Of the two classes of eighth graders that I had, only one was from a broken family. What these privileged (to have long Christian marriages) are overlooking is that the peers of their children are not being brought up the same way, they are from broken homes, mom or dad may have a revolving bedroom door ( I was a rarity in not having one, single after my divorce ).

Who is stopping to talk to these kids about virginity or remaining pure for marriage, their special love? ? ?

*Note: Said dinner dance did have strict rules on heel height and modesty in dress, a rarity in public schools today.

 

Reflections of Sexual Morality ~ Part One ~ Her name was Maria

In recent days I have come across a variety of writings in regards to sexual abuse of females (abused males should be included in this). A few months back, while reading the “about today” section of the Divine Office, I read part of a very tragic story of a young girl, only eleven who was brutally murdered for “saying no”. There were other writings in this article too, combined with the other writings I have recently come across that have led me to the topic of “sexual morality”. It is an important topic that really is overlooked in so many ways now. This will be the first of … in essays. Lively conversation is appreciated, crude or rude will be deleted.

The story of the little girl (because eleven is still a little girl to me), caused me concern because she is now a saint. Saint Maria Goretti. There is much to be found of her tragic life and death on the internet. Her story was originally used to propagate saving your virginity at all cost, including your life. We know today that is a false view and we do what me must to survive. Our lives are far more important to God (and ourselves!) than our virginity.

In the research I have done over the past few days, it is clear Maria was from an extremely poor farming family. Her father died, she being the oldest girl at eleven was left home to cook, clean and care for siblings (I have read she was also babysitting for a neighbor’s infant the day she so tragically died). I don’t really want to go into all of the details that I have read, as I have suggested spending some time surfing, you will find a lot of information, much contrary.

The most consistent information I found is though she was only eleven, the church for at least a while, referred to her as a young woman. She is said to have shunned the advances of the “landlords” 20 year old son. I have also read things to indicate he had learning issues, etc. Considering a girl of eleven in those days had not yet begun her first menstrual cycle, was too young to be married and he was almost twice her age, it does seem to indicate he had issues. . .

Maria was stabbed over 14 times (number varies with article), in her throat, lungs, heart, abdomen, severely enough that her organs were protruding. The amount of conversation the child, who was found unconscious is said have held in some readings is simply unrealistic. Her surgery was performed with no anesthesia, and at one point she is said to have awoken for a short time. I would assume the loss of so much blood and pain would have her unconscious even without medication. She is said to have forgiven her murderer, after being prompted by a Priest, just before she died.

So much of her tragic life and death seems to have been embellished upon. Maria did not go to school, rarely went to mass, and had items placed in her hands as she died. She was not buried. Her remains lay within a statue that some confuse to be her actual remains, in a glass coffin under an altar. That so bothers me. I understand it to be Catholic tradition but … let the child go. I know. I am a “bad” catholic for saying this I suppose. She was but a child of such tragic circumstance.

At the time she was canonized, as I stated before, propagated saving your virginity at all cost, including your life. The church does not teach this now. My concern is knowing, so many countries hold Saints in a higher esteem than here in the United States. I know it concerns me that young girls in some far off mission are being taught improperly on how valuable their virginity, their purity is to God (and man).

The Catholic church has defined and changed the meaning of Saints from the original intention in the bible.  Saints are God’s Holy people, living humans in the bible.  Follows of Jesus, children of God. 

While we absolutely need good role models, the list of 10,000 plus saints and the background and true life stories of many give one pause.  Often while reading through the saint area of the Divine Office it is noted that not much is even known about this or that saint – or even correct spelling of their name.Focus should perhaps not be on “saints” but on our Tritarian God and all of His children.

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Note: I spent some time debating whether to write about Maria’s story. It is because of her story that I am writing this series. I also believe, in some small way this is a way to pay homage to a child who lived a tragic life, death and … after life. My heart tells me this child deserves to be buried somewhere pretty under a tree, with wild flowers growing nearby. A place she never seemed to have a chance to play, sit with a book or pray.

The remaining portion of the article that I read, which I wish I could quote but because I use the free version and unfortunately did not copy/paste the article… I will have to admit I can’t give exact quotes… The author of said article acknowledge that we may not all pay homage to plaster saints, etc., but what about the value of virginity, purity why is there none in today’s world” <<< This comment holds merit however, I do believe perhaps the lifestyle of the author and unfortunately the readers the article is intended for are living at a handicap, and perhaps not able to fully understand the experience, life and God in the world most of us live. For this reason, and knowing there are other every day folks who are missing very good points, please look for the next article in this series.

Too young to know . . .

“Mayberry’s basket ball team”. 

“Mayberry’s basketball team”. 

He kept repeating this as if it were a code. 

“Mayberry’s basketball team”. 

I made note of this, of the fact my student seemed to be trying to communicate something with others – but I had no idea what.  I thought – I’ll wait this out.  I knew by the way he was speaking it was just a matter of time . . .

As the clocked ticked to 6:00pm one night last week,  my class settled into their seats and we d handed out books.  Some light hearted banter on where we were in our book.  A difference of opinion  – because two of the five had not made it to the last class.   We hadn’t been together since the holidays so we caught up on what everyone did with their free time.  How boring a week off is to middle school kids in the middle of winter.  Stuck home of course with parents at work. 

This week we read about Lust and I discussed Love and the difference between the two.

“hahaha”  “Mayberry’s basket ball team”.   ~ Guess who pipped up again!?!

So I went there.  What about Mayberry’s basketball team?

Lust. 

It is hard to sort between the truth and the rumor – which I pointed out.  It seems a young girl “sexted”… took a (possibly) naked torso, photo selfie of herself and sent it to (one?) boy.  Not clear.  Regardless – the entire basketball team ended up with her sexted selfie on their phones.

Oh sweet Jesus, help me here. 

Damage control.

Turning their shock, giggles and confusion – to God was what I did.  It’s what we should all be doing.

Too young to know.  Babies.  Young, inexperience.  Hurting.  Dying.

As I sat there for a moment before speaking. An article I read last week online came to mind.  A twelve year old girl, on Facebook “live” spoke of sexual abuse, beatings, and an almost rape nintchdbpict000293890784(I am going to assume assault that ended before penetration because that is the what “almost” rape brings to mind).  She said good-bye and kicked the bucket she was standing on out from under her.  Her body dangled on live camera for twenty minutes.  I have not seen, nor do I wish to see the video.  Her name is? was?   Katelyn.  It should burn into the soul of anyone knowing her story.  Tragic death at her own hands at – twelve years old.  Not much more than a baby!  Make up worn as a twenty year old might, certainly not a twelve year old child.

Last year in the news was a story of young girl who also committed suicide.  There was a video posted online of her father standing behind her after cutting off all of her beautiful long hair.  Not released at the time as it was so soon, was the full images-washingtonpost-comstory the police have.  This young girl also sent a photo or photo’s to a boy and her father had warned her. Cutting her hair was his punishment for her focus on her beauty (?).  While stopped at traffic light in her grandmothers car she jumped from the bridge shortly after her hair cut, hit a car driving below and died the next day.  By  the grace of God the person in the car her body hit… survived.  Izabel.  Age?  13.

The local girl?  Middle school age. 11385561_490093151156376_1319894834_n Between the ages of 11 – 14.

This particular class was my eighth grade group.  I knew I needed to make them understand this wasn’t funny, a “dirty” joke.  A serious matter that had to be handled delicately even by them as that may prevent the loss of a life.  We are responsible for each other in this life, we are responsible as disciples of Jesus, children of God.

I explained that they were correct.  Sexy photo’s were indeed used to draw attention but that being done in this way did not bring love, it did bring lust “but” our job here is to love this girl. That surprised them a bit.  I explained we are responsible as disciples of Jesus, children of God.

Silence.

I further explained;

We do not know the true story.  You have shared rumors (which I figuratively stepped on as they were brought up).  We cannot judge, first of all it is not our place.  Secondly, if this is true – how do you think the young girl feels?  Someone who feels good about themselves doesn’t do this to draw attention.  I explained that I felt if they were old enough to experience this situation and be talking about it, then they needed to walk with Jesus and follow what He would have done.  I asked them to think about (but did not have to share) something they may have done that they are not proud of and think how it would feel if the entire school (or) town knew about it.  They did think about it and were able in their own ways to understand.

I asked them what the second greatest commandment that Jesus gave us is. . .

“What’s that?”

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We don’t know what has happened in this young girls life, that would bring her to the point that she would, if she did, send “sexy” images of herself to anyone.  We must pray for her.  If you are in school tomorrow and people start gossiping or laughing what should you do?  Tell them you feel sorry for the girl  (at this point they did feel sorry for her), and feel sorry for the basketball team or whoever… too.  You are not going to gossip about it, it is not funny.  It’s sad.  Walk with Jesus.  Be kind.

We talked about this for a few more minutes, until I felt they all heard what was being communicated.  We talked about judging people and how that is God’s job and if we know someone has done something wrong or sinned we should pray for them, never belittle them.  We cannot spread God’s love when we participate in further hurting His children. 

“What about the story of Jesus and the woman?  The crowd of men who wanted to stone her?”  What did Jesus do?  He stood by her side.  He said “Let you who is without sin cast the first stone”, none did.  The men turned and walked away.  This I explained is how each and everyone of us (looking at each face) are to walk with Jesus.  Protect this girl by not gossiping, not saying hurtful things.  If you do see her in school again, don’t laugh or be mean.  Be kind.  God is within us, it is our job as Christians, as good human beings to be kind.

Note:  This matter was brought to the principals office, students were in suspension in school.  I did share this information with my director.

There are so many humans in our world who need to be treated with love and kindness.  There are many young people and families who need help, kindness, patience, love.  Safe places and safe people to turn to.  Unfortunately, as I have written in other articles there is a gross shortage of therapists and counselors to work with families and young people before they get to this point in their life, where they act out sexually (often from unknown abuse), or in other ways.  Drinking, drugs, school.  Therapists and counselors are a tool but every day any one of us can step up and speak up.  Set a good example, don’t bully, be kind. 

What would Jesus do?  We must be sure we are setting an example, raising a bar in a helpful – never hurtful way.

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Abortion? ~ Reflections of a Pro-Life Mom

Because our life experiences form our choices – here are some of mine:

My own mother had her first child at the age of 15, by the time she was 17 she deserted him (no nice way to put it) and by the age of 19 she was pregnant again.  After her divorce from her first marriage was settled,  she legally married my dad.  Three and a half years later I came along.  She did not obtain prenatal care for me prior to her seventh month of pregnancy.  She told everyone I was a “tumor”.   When I was born, her second born son (the brother that I was raised with) was in the care of my dads parents. It seems they raised him for the first several years of his life – so that my mother could travel with my dad who – traveled for work.  He had race horses. 

I was born in New Hampshire and a week later was living in a motel in New Jersey.  There was no pediatrician  for me.  The summer I turned four, my mother and I visited her mother and family in Maine.  Upon my grams and aunts insistence – my mother took me to a doctor to find out why my toddler waddle remained.  I was diagnosed with having been born without hip sockets.  I had several surgeries during my childhood.  Being the later 1960’s when I was diagnosed, meant staying in the hospital for months on end. That is how it was done back then.   When I was eleven I was back in the hospital, being told I would be in a wheelchair by 20 and “no, I’m sorry – carrying babies is not really in your future”.  I had the last of my childhood surgeries that spring.  I thought the doctors were all crazy (so did my Nana – so thankful for her, granddad  – and God!!!).

It was this year also, the summer that I turned twelve that I very clearly overheard a telephone conversation of my mothers.  I was sitting across the living-room from her.  She and an aunt were talking about another woman they knew, pregnant at 40 and how she should “abort that baby – she is too old to be a mother”  (really?)  Yes.  My mother also stated rather clearly  – that she would have aborted me if she had the option.  

Now in my early 50’s, mother to three very healthy young men, walking and plan on it until the day I die. I have awesome hips (that I need to take better care of!) that were built for me in an Operating Room, over three surgeries and many hours when I was in my mid-thirties.

If my mother had a choice – I would have died before I was born.  I believe my oldest brother too would have suffered the same fate as she was only fourteen when he was conceived.  Her second born?  I think that pregnancy was a convenience for her and brought her a husband that she had big hopes of.  That is my educated guess only.

Sharing life experiences with a close friend, I learned they too had been told by their mother that she wish she had aborted them.  This friend was in their early teens at the time.

Can you imagine how devastating this would be to children – not even in their mid-teens.  “I should have aborted you“.  Thankful are we that God had other plans and we both came to live in this world.

When I was a young innocent girl of seventeen – unlike my friends I was in no hurry to “loose my virginity”.  I wanted to remain pure until marriage.  A night out with older friends, finding myself alone with a man of twenty-five (who was actually the cousin of my boyfriend, who had not been allowed out that night) chose to take my innocence, raping me.  He would not take No for an answer.  There are absolutely no words for how devastated and ashamed I was.  I did not report it.  I felt shame.  I spiraled down.  Thank God I did not become pregnant that horrible night.  I knew after hearing what my mother had said when I was twelve,  I knew I could not end a life.

When I was married and became pregnant with my own children they had standard tests at 15 weeks to determine the fetal health and if abortion would be recommended (down syndrome, etc.).  I refused any tests that did not benefit the health of my children. Abortion was not an option.  Despite my own physical challenges I did carry my first for 42 weeks, second for 40 weeks and youngest was a c-section at 38 weeks because of my medical condition (not having hip sockets does not fair well with pregnancy).  All three were scanned at six weeks to ensure there was no dysplasia.  All are healthy.  Thank you God.

One of my cousins was told she should go out of state and have an abortion when she was six months pregnant.  She was told her child was “retarded”.  She chose life.  Her daughter who did have some learning challenges, did develop just fine.  I have a friend who’s sister was pregnant (married and planned) close to ten times, She miscarried many times.  Eventually, she gave birth to two healthy girls.  With her (third fullterm) preganancy, she too was told medical testing indicated an abortion as the child would have a heart defect and learning disability.  Guess what?  Healthy baby.

I will never forget a mom I “met” online who was pregnant with her fourth baby.  They were so excited – a girl!  Truly they were so joyful she, her sons and her husband.  After medical testing she was told a diagnosis which meant their daughter would not live for one day if carried to term.  Doctors were certain of this and strongly pushed for her to abort – to avoid the psychological trauma.  With fellow board members (back in the “good old AOL message board days)  she allowed us to traveled her journey with her.  Cordelia Rose was born and died in one day.  One this day, she was photographed, held, dressed, loved – loved oh so much by her family – that lost her long before she had a chance to have a pony tail or wear ankle socks.  They celebrated her life, then they mourned her death.

These little stories are all about being born into loving families, despite worries, concerns and in the life of Cordelia Rose – knowing they would have no more than a day with her in their arms.

Psalm 139 One I often have, and often will quote, tells us How well our loving God – loves all of us.  How well He knows everything and every  part of us 13You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.e

Here comes the part of my essay you probably have not seen coming.  After some recent conversations, and reading about the Roman Catholic Church year of forgiving women for abortions I have spent some time in prayer, asking God to help me find the answer and how I should express truths.

We often hear the hypothetical stories of “what if” “would you say it’s okay then?”  If you have been reading my blog, you are aware that I have a tendency to be very open, loving and accepting.

Last week a young lady I know came to me to share her sister is pregnant.  She talked abortion.  She was not dealing well with her sisters news.  She shared more of her own background, which included being abused as a very young child and becoming pregnant by a family member.  She had an abortion.

Now, she had concerns for her sisters choice of (long term) boyfriends and thought an abortion would be the right choice for her.  After listening and sitting quietly with her for a few minutes I asked her if her sister wanted an abortion.  She said her sister didn’t know yet what her sister thought.   The older sister felt “little” sister was too young (mid-twenties) to be a mom.  I sat there in mental prayer with my Father asking for help.  I spoke up and said “I have to tell you I disagree with you, she is not a baby – she is not a teenager, she is a young woman.

I completely understand and respect you so much for what you have been through – but we are talking about a life here.  A baby.  A human and her circumstance is so very  different than yours was.  I took a few more minutes to offer comfort on her own pain and loss of innocence.    I asked; would you support her emotionally when she has the baby?  She said – “Yes, I would”.   We talked some more – How will your mom react?  Do you think she will emotionally support her?   “Yes – she said she would”, they have a great mom and she herself had her first child much younger.  We chatted a little longer, before we parted ways I asked her to remember there is no need for her sister to rush, let her absorb her news and talk to mom and whomever else – her boyfriend.  Respect her feelings and give her time to formulate her own thoughts.

Over the weekend that ol’ Facebook post on one of the Catholic Christian Woman pages came through with an article written by a woman, A catholic who we remorseful for not speaking up when a young woman came to her pregnant, contemplating abortion.  It was sad to read the article, especially just having the conversation that I had.

I waited until this morning to email the gal who shared with me last week, to check on her sister.  She said that her sister asked her to come talk to their mom with her, she went and shared  her mom handled the news well considering circumstances and supported life.

First, she said my mother is concerned that my sister  :sic: “will be sorry for going through with it”.  I said – ohhh – has she decided on an abortion?  “No, not yet but she is leaning that way”.  I countered with – Oh, well there is a place I know of that would be great for her to go to.  I told her the name of the place then I said – wait I will send you the link.  I sent her the link with a note to reiterate that I thought it would be great for her sister to have someone – outside of the situation, to talk to and work through her own decision with.

This place is pro-life but supports with counseling should one choose to end life.  I also told her that I prayed for her sister and her sisters child in Mass this weekend and this morning before I corresponded with her.  What came next filled my heart – she was grateful for the support, the information and the prayers and she asked that I keep them in prayer.

When I met this gal a few weeks ago she could not stand to hear the name “God”, after getting to know me better and learning that God is loving being she has softened and found some hope in this situation. I have done, I think all that I can in this particular situation. I will email tomorrow, in hopes of hearing her sister is receptive to contact this place (my church supports it).  I don’t know the young lady myself.

I chose the verse from my favorite Psalm very carefully tonight;13You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb.   While I am undeniably pro-life,  I know in my heart and soul, that it is our Lord, God who forms us – and He is all knowing.  I am sure He is aware of each and every individual baby that He creates. I know He will cradle each in His arms as only He can.  I know He is there for these Mothers, as He is for everyone else – but for the asking.  As Christians, it is our responsibility to God to love women going through this crisis.  With kindness, respect and all the love we can muster.

I am Pro-life.  Adamantly so.  This includes respecting the mental health of a raped woman (or in this case very young teenager).  Or the life of a woman carrying a tubal pregnancy which will result in death regardless.

Tonight I keep this young mother in prayer, knowing our loving God will be with she and her child – every step of every day.

2/29/16 Update:  The young lady mentioned above, has chosen life for her child.

7/2/16 Family update:  Shortly after writing this we learned that an unexpected miracle was taking place within our own family circle.  Despite knowing there are medical baby-swimmyconsiderations – baby “swimmie” (son calls baby “guppie”) is due to join the families mid December.  This ultrasound photo is from June 1st.  August 1st we’ll learn (if baby is being cooperative – mine were not always) if swimmie is a boy or a girl.  Baby is developing well, everything is where it is suppose to be.   Here you’ll see the left arm raised up by the head, right arm kind of waving around, right leg and foot and only partial of the left leg in this picture.  Abortion was never brought up or discussed between the parents or me.

The last week of November my first grandchild, a boy was born.  There have been some complications and issues but we have faith that he will be fine.  God is good and we place our trust in Him.  Baby is thriving, growing rapidly and attentive. ♥