The Conversation about Abortion

With all of the abortion talk going around, I have been feeling so sad. There is so much pain on either side. It’s hard for me to take a side because I feel like I understand the arguments and feelings on either side. I have felt unwanted and that feeling is devastating, and I have seen how that particular painful feeling wreaks havoc in the lives of other people who have felt that way. I can understand why someone who has experienced that would want abortion to be an option, to avoid that deep all consuming pain.

I have also experienced pregnancy that scared me out of my mind. When I was pregnant with my first, we were not prepared financially or emotionally for her. We were terrified and emotional and taken aback by the amount of crazy hormones I was experiencing and we lost her. Later, after losses and fertility struggles, when I was pregnant with my first rainbow baby, I was devastated to find out I was pregnant. I was so sure I was going to lose her that I sobbed when I saw the test and cried that I didn’t want to go through that again. I didn’t really believe she wasn’t just another loss until I stepped into our apartment and realized we could keep all of the baby stuff. What’s more is I was very very sick the whole time I was pregnant, so I also felt that pain. I know what a surprise pregnancy feels like and how scary it is. I know what a painful pregnancy feels like and how scary that is. I understand the desire to make a pregnancy go away. I think a lot of pro-life women have experienced this, but the guilt of feeling that way while believing the way they do is unimaginable-at least it was for me.

That being said, I understand that if you believe that the baby in the womb is a baby, abortion is the most monstrous act that could possibly happen. A womb is traditionally supposed to be the safest place in the universe for the baby(not that it always is-there can be issues with it-but you get my point) to take a baby who is snuggled away that safe and end it’s life is horrifying. Absolutely horrifying. (( side note- again, I have never known a pro-choice person who believes they are actually killing a child, and it doesn’t help the argument to say that to them. Accusing anyone of being a murderer is a real quick way to end charitable conversation.))

I have also experienced pregnancy and pregnancy loss and these changed the abortion narrative completely for me. My first miscarriage Emma, had a distinct beautiful personality. She was wonderful. I was terrified to have her, but I loved having her with me. I doubted this strong understanding of who she was for a long time, but both of my now-loving daughters have exactly the personality I perceived from them when I was pregnant. Willow is just as determined and clear about what she wants as I told people she was, she loves music, she loves dancing, these were all things I saw about her before she was born. Sage is calm and serene most of the time. She is a happy peaceful little one, and it shows. She was so peaceful when I was pregnant with her that I was afraid that maybe I just didn’t have a good connection with her at all. Knowing these girls, and experiencing pregnancy, has me completely convinced that they are little humans and completely seperate from me.

All of that being said, there are so many mitigating factors to the abortion argument that distance me from the pro-life movement and make it hard for me to connect to it at all.

First of all, even as a Catholic, I have seen firsthand how little help is available for families and how hard and emotionally taxing it is to get that help. I have been in situations so stressful I hated the idea of having a child. A lot of Catholics say there is so much help out there, but a lot of it has a catch to it, and the catches tend to be really big. Our culture is not set up for families right now. I had help in a lot of ways and still was completely exhausted and miserable at times. Mothers need a better village if we are going to be pro-life, not because a life without money is not worth living but because a life of financial strain can be absolutely terrifying.

Second, The people who believe in abortion ARE NOT MURDERERS!!! This makes me crazy. For years, many many years, the human race did not know when a baby had a soul, some didn’t believe they had it until they were born. There is an article St. Thomas Aquinas wrote that basically insinuates that a child doesn’t have a soul until it is born. There just was not a lot of scientific evidence for when life as a human started. Science is starting to find some amazing things about babies in the womb that are arguments that the pro-life side uses to say that the other side is ridiculous, but there are HUNDREDS of years of debate about when exactly life begins, and it takes time for new science to prove itself. It also takes time for old knowledge and traditions to die out-so there are still a lot of people who do not believe it is a child in the womb. Just because the pro-life side believes they are right does not mean that the pro-choice side is savage monsters.

Third, most pro-lifers should not even be called pro-life. They should be called anti-abortion. I have heard vicious talk about war from pro-lifers, and talk about the death penalty that scared me, and that should not happen. If every life is sacred, then a 30 year old man should be too, a bad man should be too, anyone should be. If it is so evil to end any life in any circumstances, then you should believe in preserving it under any circumstances.

Fourth, pro-life people condemning unwed mothers and talking bad about them, judging them, making nasty comments to people about how many kids they have, or ignoring them because they are exhausted and have PPD, is a real thing. Maybe not everyone, but there are a lot of pro-life people who really hurt people when it comes to children, and it is ridiculous to me, because that kind of treatment is exactly the kind of treatment that could make someone want to end a pregnancy. Motherhood needs to become something of value in our country again, and that will make people excited to have babies instead of depleted and exhausted. This doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t be able to work outside the home, on the contrary, the way we work needs to change, for men and women. Some workplaces are already getting that the persons health and happiness needs to come first, and their work second, because the work is better if you take care of the person. More need to do this.

I guess the most important point of what I am trying to say, is both sides need to calm down and really understand the other sides point of view. Yes, it is important to protect women’s rights. Yes, it is important to protect children. But we are not getting anywhere with calling each other names and hurling our own facts at each other. What the world needs is honest discussion about what each person believes and a constant effort from both sides to take care of each other.

Surprise surprise, “what the world needs now is love, love, love.”

“Grab her pu***”

Ok, I am not a political person. If you know me at all you know this. I avoid the news like some people avoid horror movies, I have never voted for a candidate who was republican or democrat, I tend to either become silent or leave a conversation if it becomes political even remotely. My husband is the only person who knows many of my political leanings or ideas because I think it sours people and relationships to get into the kind of debate politics tends to spark. However, something came up in my personal life today that I just have to comment on. It is completely irrelevant in some ways because the conversation centered around Trump and whether he is good or bad he is in charge. In some ways, however, it is more than relevant, and will be at any time in any culture.

A person in my life and I were arguing today, honestly I’m not even sure what the argument was about. I thought it was whether or not I had reason to believe Trump was a bad person, but later she said she agreed he was bad but kept defending her side, so I have no idea. The important part of the conversation, however, was that I told her about what Trump said about it being ok for a man to “grab her pu***.” Her immediate response was to tell me that she saw a post on Facebook of women in plunging necklines and she couldn’t help but think “What did they expect?”

Ok. For those of you who already understand why this is an issue, I’ll let you just sit with that for a second.

Imagine the screams that wanted to emerge from me. Suffice it to say, that any true emotion(that disagrees with hers) is not accepted by this person, however, so I was required to keep my calm.

Here we go.

IT IS NEVER OK FOR A MAN TO SEXUALLY ASSAULT A WOMAN.

You may say, “well, duh of course not, but what did they think was going to happen?”

No.

“Don’t you think they are inviting it?”

No.

Just. No.

It is infuriating to me that this kind of ignorance is touted as a real teaching in Christianity. Modesty, which by the way does not mean “Cover every inch of your body, you are disgusting and a temptation,” is taught as if it does. Women are encouraged not to be alone with men, because then we are encouraging them. If a woman wears something too tight, too low, too loose, then we are tempting them. I grew up traditional Catholic with weekly if not daily lectures on modesty, do you know how often I heard men talked to about respecting the wfemale body? Exactly never. I don’t count anti-porn addiction because the way that is taught is really as just another thing for men to blame their bad behavior on.(Not saying porn is ok, in fact that is a huge post for another time.)

I never heard anyone talk about how to respect a woman’s body and boundaries.

[I should note, before I go on, that while I never heard this talk to men growing up, I did have a fantastic college professor who discussed how men should view women, and he helped me to understand what I am talking about in this post.]

Now, first of all, this is a teaching that is not really even necessary for most women, because women have not been taught that anything we do is excused by the clothes that men wear.

Second of all, the example far too frequently used “if you put a great dessert on the table, do you expect people to eat it?” is laughable and demeaning. A woman’s body is not food for a man to take as he wishes. I don’t care if I put cookies out on the table and you eat them. Cookies are not a part of a human being, they do not have consciousness, they do not (as far as we know) have an opinion as to whether or not they are eaten. I could go into the Christian argument that woman’s body is made in the image of God and is therefore sacred, but I’d rather simply say, a woman is a PERSON, not an object.

Those who talk about how women “objectify” themselves by dressing in a certain way, need to reflect on what they are saying. A woman who is a PERSON makes herself an OBJECT because she wears something that does not fit into your guidelines of what is appropriate.

Is that true? Can we accuse a woman of doing that? Women in Africa go topless everyday, are they objects now or still people? When a baby is born naked, are they only an object because they are not wearing clothes? No. And it would be ridiculous to say so. But, you say, these states of dress are appropriate in their culture, or their situation. Back to the Facebook comment, what is and had been for some time the culture of Hollywood? Revealing, provocative styles designed to make a statement are the cultural fashion if you will. A plunging neckline is frequently the mildest of these things, but even a piece that pushes boundaries farther still fits into the culture of that situation.

Those who argue that women are objectifying themselves, are basically saying that a man can treat this kind of woman however he wants because she has made herself an object. No matter what a woman is wearing she still has the basic reasoning and consciousness of self that is the typical way of recognizing personhood. She is and always will be a person, and can NOT be treated like an object.

The argument itself is actually degrading in a deeply sinister way if you think about it. No one argues that a man is compromising his personhood if he wears no shirt, but if a woman wears a deep v, she is no longer a person?

Take a second to think about that.

Why do women only possess personhood if you deem their outfit appropriate?

Honestly, I feel that there’s nothing I can add to that.

Why am I only a person, therefore deserving respect, if I wear what you say I should?

Note: This isn’t meant to be a philosophical essay, or I could have gone into the definition of personhood and argued more academically my points. My point is to say my thoughts on the issue today, and these are them, do with them what you will.

What’s Wrong With Me?

I’m feeling so sad and I don’t even know why. Everything I try to do to make it better makes it worse. I feel like I can barely breathe. Like I can breathe into my stomach but there’s this spot in my chest that just locks up. Am I just afraid I’m going to puke again? Or is this really some deep sadness or exhaustion that just won’t let me move on. What am I even sad about? Is it the sadness of pain and fear I couldn’t feel while I was sick? How do you feel that well enough that it stops hurting inside you. I really thought I was going to die there for a minute, and Willow too. But everything was so awful for both of us that I couldn’t even feel it or it would literally make me vomit. It hurt so much though. I was in so much pain, so humiliated, so disgusting, so tired and weak, hungry and miserable. The world was spinning around me and I shook freezing cold. Willow was so sick too, she almost had to go to ER for fluids and what’s worse is I wouldn’t have been able to go with her. That thought hurts my heart so much. I was so afraid I was going to go into early labor and this baby would die because I was sick, or that because we hadn’t gotten the flu shot Willow and I were going to die. I need to be on Facebook less, I’m getting all these anxieties I never would have thought to have. It was really hard. It only makes it scarier for me that there is worse out there. There are women for whom this is almost daily in their pregnancy. I’m afraid to be them and I’m afraid for them. It is terrifying to be in that much pain. I don’t really know how to express the crippling feeling I have now. All I know is it hurt and it was scary and I’m still scared and it still hurts or rather the memory hurts.

I think part of why I have such a hard time with the little things is that I am so terrified of the big things and everytime the little things happen I am haunted by how bad things could get. I always feel melodramatic for it, but I really did think she was going to die, and me too, and not in a I’m kinda nervous way, in a “ok this is the moment where I just accept it kind of way.”

There was a missile alarm in Hawaii today. They said it was a mistake, nothing was ever wrong, but we have stories of mothers and children hiding in their basements, praying for help. Hurricanes and monsoons and floods and fires are only getting worse every year. Some say there is no climate change, but we have people dying and homeless who are suffering at the ends of something. I am so scared, not just selfishly that these things will happen to me, although that too, but at the fact that they happen at all. How can we live in a world where in one moment everything is ok and peachy and the next minute we are dead, or dying, or wish we were? What kind of a world is this?

Or worse, at the risk of blasphemy, what kind of God is this? Let’s forget for a moment the terrifying thought that some of it may be our own fault, horrifying evils performed by humanity or by their neglect. What kind of God allows the death of a baby inside a mother? Is there anything more horrifying than a mother crying in agony about a baby she never got to touch? What kind of God forbids anything when He knows His people are lost and desperate and the last thing they need is guilt? What kind of God allows the things that are our fault? If you knew, and I mean, really knew that throwing away a can would kill all the baby seals, would you do it? Or is it the sense that what I do doesn’t matter?what difference do I make unless I find a way to do everything, and I can’t do everything so what’s the point of even a little?

I tried to put my babygirl to sleep tonight and she just screamed louder and louder. I felt so helpless. How can there be days when I know exactly what to do and others where she wants nothing more than for me to go as far away as I can get? Am I just selfish wanting to hold her when I thought she was slipping away so recently? How do we live in this world where things could be taken away so quickly? How do I live in a world where this beautiful life inside me could suddenly be gone and I could go through the worst human pain imaginable and never see her face? (Please God protect my baby, I’m just asking) Women have held their lifeless children in their arms. I never held my first and I never will. Women suffer untold horrors to bring life to the world, and horrible things happen to people just minding their own business. But why? It hurts. The whole earth bleeds with our own mistakes and and injuries. Why?

I don’t understand how some people can hear the trite “God brings good out of everything” or “God has a plan,” and think that somehow makes it ok. What plan could ever excuse Rachel crying in the wilderness, or the moment I screamed in my husbands arms about the death taking place inside of me? What plan excuses the children in pain all over the world from starvation or abuse? What plan excuses powerful men who would rather see vast amounts of people die than share a country with them? I pray often that God doesn’t strike me down because I just don’t understand, and I’m afraid I’ll go to hell for saying it. But there are times when the cruelty of the world is suffocating me and I have to say something.

My grief is that of the whole world. (She said arrogantly) I feel the death of Samson for his worst mistake, I feel the sin of Judas and his desperation for forgiveness. I feel the fear of the children in gas chambers, and I feel the anger of a young Adolf denied his chance to speak. I feel the pain of those who have hurt me sometimes more than my own at being hurt, until my own ability to feel rises and comes into my own throat to shred me into tiny bits like carrots in a shredder. (It’s a crass comparison, but that’s the point) I will never be a good enough Catholic because I feel the faith of the Buddhists, and I feel the anger of the atheists, I feel the abandonment of those who would give anything for just one thing to believe in, but can’t.

I guess I know what my sadness is now, but what do you do when your sadness is everything evil that exists? When the fact that pain is an experience that happens is the most painful part of being? When you can’t get air into your chest because something bad will happen to someone in any given minute? How do you stop feeling everyone else’s pain and your own? Is it just forgetting and moving on until something else bad happens and you remember again until you are paralyzed, and then you have to learn to breathe again? Maybe the idea is that I just don’t have the answer and never will, or maybe this is why people go to therapists. Will my counselor teach me how to live with knowing we all die and grieve before we do?

Vengeance is Mine.

Uptick In Chicago Gun Violence Continues To Coincide With Hot Weather
Vengeance is Mine. 

The land runs red with the lives of so many.
Politicians clamoring for it to echo with their truth,
Screaming out for their own brand of justice,
The one that makes them Ceaser,
A head on their very own golden coin.

Riches mean more to them that the lives of the little people.
But doesn’t anyone hear them cry out,
“Vengeance, Vengeance, God my King,
Or at least Peace?”

But you can’t receive peace when the world cries out for war.
War on the peaceful, war on the lonely,
War on the forsaken ones until nothing is left.

And still they clamor for death over a false letter A,
And they won’t be happy until the streets are paved with blood.

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